By MPP Toby Barrett
To The Haldimand Press
Last week, Ontario’s Minister of Finance presented the Fall Economic Statement with a promise to put money back into the pockets of people in Ontario, and a promise that trust and accountability in government will return.
Despite the $15 billion deficit—now down to $14.5 billion—we inherited from the previous administration, we are approaching financial order the same way as families deal with their budgets: Pay your bills and make every dollar count. We will provide financial transparency and restore balance to our economy.
In Ontario, a strong economy requires an accountable government you can trust.
Accountability, transparency, and trust are integral. The conventional approach to ‘sweeping it under the rug’ is not the approach we employ. Our government has established an independent Financial Commission to closely monitor and review expenditures.
Recently released in the Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review was the 2018-19 deficit report, currently at $14.5 billion.
Since we have taken government, the province has saved approximately $3.2 billion in expenses without cutting public services. We have scrapped the cap-and-trade carbon tax, which has offered significant savings and kept $2.7 billion in the pockets of people and of small business.
Today, Ontario is $347 billion in debt. Statistically, that figure suggests that each individual in Ontario is more than $24,000 in debt and the interest continues to grow.
According to the Ministry of Finance (MOF), we will have to pay $12.5 billion this year to service this debt.
With regard to the province’s expenses, interest on the debt ranks fourth following healthcare, education, and social services. The dollars that go to paying our debt restrict crucial public services that are meant to benefit Ontarians.