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Ontario's finance minister criticizes federal spending and carbon pricing plan

Last Updated Mar 19, 2019 at 10:37 pm EDT

Ontario’s finance minister says the 2019 federal budget shows the Liberal government will run “endless” deficits but do little to help Ontario residents.

Vic Fedeli slammed the federal spending package unveiled today in Ottawa, saying it is a disappointing document which does not address the needs of the province.

His comments are just the latest in a string of clashes between the provincial Progressive Conservatives and federal Liberals ahead of the fall election.

But, his main criticism was for what the budget did not include: the carbon tax.

Fedeli says the federal government is undermining its own job creation efforts by implementing a federal carbon price, which he argues will hurt employment levels.

“The federal government is threatening manufacturing and small business jobs in Ontario and hurting hard working families by imposing it’s job-killing carbon tax,” said Fedeli

NDP Finance and Treasury Board Critic Sandy Shaw was also not pleased with the federal budget, tell Queen’s Park reporter Richard Southern it wasn’t substantial enough. “This is a budget that offers nothing substantial in things like childcare, nothing substantial in affordable housing, deeply disappointment in the pharmacare file as well.”

The finance minister will table his first budget on April 11 and has indicated the document will outline a path to balance Ontario’s books.

The Tories have said Ontario inherited a deficit from the previous Liberal government that now sits at $13.5 billion.

Meanwhile, Toronto Mayor John Tory said he believes the budget represents important steps towards building up the strength of Canada’s economic engine and these steps will be good for Toronto residents.

The main points he took from the budget were the $167 million new dollars from the federal gas tax, which he expects will help them with their transit priorities, along with housing supply challenge.

“The housing supply challenge, something designed to improve the supply of housing, I would expect that we will be able to apply for and receive our fair share,” said Tory.

The program, some details of which are yet to be finalized, is part of a tranche of spending that includes establishing a national expert panel on housing supply and affordability, better data collection, and $300 million for a contest to encourage cities to come up with new ways of expanding housing stock.

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