Concerns Pre-Budget Hearings a ShamFebruary 2, 2016
QUEEN’S PARK – With pre-budget consultations wrapping up in Toronto today, the Official Opposition is charging that the Wynne government is anything but open and transparent.
Many Ontarians participated in the pre-budget hearings staged over the past two weeks across the province. Media is now reporting the 2016 Ontario Budget will be released in early March. In addition the Minister of Finance will make a previously unscheduled presentation to the Finance Committee at noon today – clearly devised to hide the fact the Minister won’t be considering any of the presentations heard during consultations.
“The budget is now planned to be released in early March. However it takes months to price-out each component of a budget and many weeks to write the final document, translate it, and print it, so we know that work is largely complete,” said MPP Vic Fedeli. “With the pre-budget consultations still underway, this confirms the government had absolutely no intention of considering any of the ideas from the Committee.”
Pre-budget hearings are intended to provide an opportunity for Ontarians to have their say. Unfortunately given the lack of real consultation, it appears that the government is plowing ahead with its own political agenda, rather than what is important to Ontario families and businesses.
“It’s sad these costly hearings were a sham – simply an opportunity for the governments to make it appear they would listen to people throughout Ontario,” Fedeli added.
The Finance Committee is responsible for issuing a final report detailing the public hearings, which will be presented to the House. It has now been made clear that the final report will be presented close to the release of Budget 2016, too late to include any suggestions from the report.
“So much for public consultation,” Haldimand-Norfolk MPP and Finance Committee member Toby Barrett charged. “The whole pre-budget consultations were a farce. Not only did it cost the taxpayer untold thousands of dollars to fly the finance committee members across the province, but individuals and groups spent thousands of dollars and invested valuable time into presentations that were meaningless.”