News

Liberals' progress report claims Ontarians better off

By Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen's Park in Toronto April 1, 2014. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen's Park in Toronto April 1, 2014. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun)

TORONTO - 

A “progress report” issued by the Liberals says middle and lower income Ontarians are better off after 11 years of their government.

“The purpose is really to highlight and bring together everything the government is doing to help people as they try to balance their household budget and save for their future,” Consumer Services Minister Tracy MacCharles said Monday. “We know families are facing pressure.”

The 2014 Pocketbook Initiatives Progress Report lists government initiatives such as a made-in-Ontario plan to improve retirement security, an increase in the minimum wage to $11, new consumer protection legislation for wireless consumers, an almost 6% decline in average auto insurance rates, and a 30% break on tuition fees for families where the annual income before taxes is $160,000 or less.

Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli said the Ontario Liberals’ report ignores a lot of their initiatives that left people with less money in their pocketbooks.

“What’s really missing is the high hydro rates, the health tax, the eco tax, the HST — those are the things that are missing off the list and those are the hurtful things that have had most impact on families in Ontario,” Fedeli said.

MacCharles said the government has helped offset the cost of electricity through the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit and other grants.

The progress report comes just 10 days before Premier Kathleen Wynne will release her second budget, and a countdown to a crucial confidence vote that could trigger a provincial election.

The NDP criticized an online article, quoting unnamed sources, that says Leader Andrea Horwath and her most senior advisers have already decided that they will not support the Liberal budget and instead will send the minority Wynne government to the polls.

NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson denied the party is poised to pull the plug.

Horwath has repeatedly said in public that she, unlike the Progressive Conservatives who refuse to back the Liberals in a confidence vote, would wait to see what’s in Wynne’s budget before making this decision.

“New Democrats are focused on getting results for people,” Bisson said in a statement. “The claim that a decision of some kind has been made about the future of Ontario’s minority government is a complete fabrication.”

Poll

Do you think you're better off now than you were 11 years ago?


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