|June 15th, 2012 by Student Vote||Leave Comments »|
Tabled in March by the minority-Liberal government, the Ontario budget requires opposition support to pass. NDP leader Andrea Horwath has pledged to support the budget, but the Liberals are unhappy with recent changes that have been made to “gut” the budget.
According to the National Post, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan fears these changes will “derail” the government’s plan to eliminate the provincial deficit through “billions” in lost revenue. If they are not reversed, Premier Dalton McGuinty is threatening that a July 19th election could be called to “take [the budget] to the people.” ”It’s absolutely imperative that we pass this budget,” says McGuinty.
Tim Hudak’s Opposition PC and Horwath’s third-party NDP used their 5-4 majority status on the finance committee to vote down clauses in the budget that would allow further privatization of government services. Unlike the NDP, Hudak has never supported this budget.
In March, more than 1,300 High School students took part in the first Ontario Student Budget Consultation (OSBC), a program of our new charity CIVIX. 67% of respondents agreed with economist Don Drummond’s recommendation that the Government should privatize the delivery of more public services, but should not sell off the OLG, LCBO, Hydro One or Ontario Power Generation, which provide large profits to the province, unless the long-term benefits are considerable.
The budget vote is scheduled for next Wednesday, June 20th. If the changes are not made in advance of the vote, McGuinty has threatened to ask Lieutenant Governor David Onley to dissolve the legislature as his party no longer has the confidence of the house. NDP House leader Gilles Bisson said his party has “no plans” to back down on their amendments.
An election would be a risk for all parties. The Liberals lost their majority in the October 6th election, and the PC underperformed compared to early polls. The third-place NDP would likely suffer from a snap election called on a polarizing issue like this budget.
Other OSBC results show that Ontario high-school students are concerned about the provincial deficit of $16 billion and the impact it will have on their future. Respondents acknowledge the need for a balanced budget, but want it to come from spending cuts – not tax increases. When pressed, students would increase corporate and “sin” taxes as a means of raising revenue for the province.
Click here for the complete results.
Do you think there will be a July election in Ontario?
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