Ontario Tories cut taxes and oversight protections for environment, vulnerable children, and francophones - 2018-11-15
Premier Doug Ford is cutting taxes for low-income earners, lifting some rent controls, and slashing oversight protections for the environment, vulnerable children, and Ontario's French-speaking minority. Ford's changes, which also include loosening restrictions on political fundraising, came in Thursday's fall economic statement from the Progressive Conservatives with a smaller-than-expected $500 million drop in the $15 billion deficit and no timeline for balancing the provincial budget.
Finance Minister Vic Fedeli called the slight shrinkage in red ink "a pretty good start," but warned further cuts loom in next spring's budget. "It's going the right way and it will take time and it will require an extraordinary effort," added Fedeli, blaming the previous Liberal government for "15 years of reckless spending and mismanagement." In the meantime, Ontarians will have more time to stock up on beer, wine and liquor as the government allows authorized retailers like the LCBO, The Beer Store, and some supermarkets to sell alcohol between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. seven days a week.
Instead, starting next May, the environmental watchdog function will be folded into the auditor general's operation while the other two will be melded with the ombudsman's office. Fedeli's economic update said that is "to reduce unnecessary cost while preserving critical functions," but the government couldn't yet say how many jobs will be cut.