2016 Budget: Missed opportunities

Kevin Labonte(Queen’s Park): “The most disturbing things about the 2016 budget are the items missing from it,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. 
“The Liberal budget is silent on important issues. They’ve dropped the ball on getting big corporate fundraising out of politics. They’ve left us vulnerable to cost overruns by pouring even more money into the pit of nuclear power. They’re still letting companies use up our natural resources without paying their fair share. And they’re missing a huge opportunity to invest in our children’s classrooms by merging the public and Catholic school boards,” Schreiner adds.
Schreiner does credit the Liberals with picking up on some of the GPO’s priorities, and commits to push the government to deliver on them. Items from today’s budget like a pilot project for Guaranteed Annual Income, pricing carbon pollution and a fund for Green investments have been long-held GPO policies. But to bring them to reality, Ontario deserves more than vague promises.
“I want to thank GPO supporters who have helped us put policies such as carbon pricing, basic livable income and affordable tuition on the government’s agenda,” says finance critic Kevin Labonte. “Our job now is to make sure that the government takes their job seriously and put these green ideas into place, in the best way they can.”
Schreiner and Labonte say that cap-and-trade, the Liberals’ strategy to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions, is an example of a good idea that needs improving. “It’s not fair or effective to hand out free pollution permits to big industry,” says Labonte. “Revenue from carbon pricing needs to go back to citizens to make energy efficiency affordable.“
“That’s why the GPO has always advocated a carbon fee-and-dividend policy – not cap-and-trade – as the fairest, most effective way to address the climate crisis,” says Schreiner.
The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.