Leading the voices that champion fairness in Ontario, the GPO has helped ensure Ontario social assistance rates will not be frozen in 2012.
Mike Schreiner’s open letter to Premier McGuinty (April 4) showed how Ontario can be fair while still fighting the deficit. Unfreezing social assistance rates was essential. Carrying through with the planned increase to the Ontario Child Benefit was also essential. That $155 million makes all the difference to Ontario’s most vulnerable families.
In contrast, we can’t afford to keep subsidizing energy consumption for Ontario’s wealthiest and we’re pleased that the NDP failed to extend Ontario’s subsidy binge on home heating. Unfortunately, Premier McGuinty continues to support the 10% subsidy for electricity, which effectively transfers wealth from low-income to high-income households.
This policy is unfair, bad for the economy and the environment, and undermines the province’s ability to support top-quality health care and education. Future generations won’t thank us when their health care system fails because they’re paying off our electricity debts.
They also won’t thank us for “streamlining” environmental protection. We want the environmental legislation changes removed from the budget bill (Bill 55). If Premier McGuinty wants changes to laws prescribed by the Environmental Bill of Rights, he must respect the public consultation process. Rolling the changes into the budget isn’t right and we demand the public be consulted. Simply put, it’s the law.
The Green Party believes in cooperation and consultation. We’re ready to present good ideas during elections or afterwards, whether we have Green MPPs or we’re just fortifying the voices of Ontarians concerned about the future of Ontario.
Of course, we’re eager to reach that important benchmark of electing a Green MPP. In the meantime, however, we’ll continue the important work of putting forward good, sound policy initiatives. If they are implemented by another party — all the better. For us, results are what matter most. However, remember you heard it here first!
GPO Finance Critic