News

Feds not impressed with Ontario budget

By Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

Finance Minister Joe Oliver speaks to the media in Ottawa April 2, 2013. Andre Forget/QMI Agency

Finance Minister Joe Oliver speaks to the media in Ottawa April 2, 2013. Andre Forget/QMI Agency

OTTAWA - The feds give Ontario's government a failing grade for the budget introduced Thursday by provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa.

"We encourage our provincial counterparts to follow our example and have a plan to return to balanced budgets, not add more debt," Finance Minister Joe Oliver said in a statement.

Ontario's minority Liberal government introduced a budget that has the provincial deficit growing to $12.5 billion from $11.3 billion last year, though the goal remains a balanced budget by 2017-18.

Sousa said he's following a "very balanced approach" on provincial finances.

His budget also proposes to create a new mandatory provincial pension plan in Ontario - another item that rubs his Conservative federal counterpart the wrong way.

"Canadians don't support higher taxes on paycheques," Oliver said.

The feds have long rejected the idea of a new provincial pension plans, saying they would take money out of the economy and reduce people's take-home pay.

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