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Ontario budget threatens recovery, piles on debt

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THUNDER BAY, ON  ---   March 27, 2012   --- More Tax and Spend, No new Jobbs  BUDGET DISAPPOINTING FOR NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy said the cash-strapped Ontario budget announced today McGuintydoes nothing significant for the First Nations people nor does it address the core issues facing First Nations.

“In tough economic times, it is always the marginalized people that feel it the most, specifically Aboriginal people,” said Grand Chief Beardy. “Ontario is pinching its dollars in places we need to see more funds flow and that’s where the marginalized people are most affected. NAN covers two-thirds of Ontario yet we don’t see much in this budget that benefits this part of the province for First Nations.”

Liberals reject nine of Don Drummond’s controversial cost-cutting measures In addition to dismissing Drummond’s call to cut all-day kindergarten and get rid of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit — which takes 10 per cent off energy bills for four million residential customers across the province — the government also rejected the former TD economist’s recommendation that caps class sizes for elementary and secondary students should be raised

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) slammed the 2012 Ontario budget delivered today at Queen’s Park, after the McGuinty government forecast a massive deficit of $15.2 billion, and abandoned promised cuts to income taxes and education taxes for business.

“By taking over $2 billion from Ontario employers in the next three years in the form of higher income and education taxes, the McGuinty government is threatening jobs and threatening our economic recovery,” said CTF Ontario Director Gregory Thomas. “Tax cuts have helped keep Ontario employers in the game in a very tough economy. Breaking the promise on lower taxes sends the wrong signal at a critical time in the recovery.”

Thomas compared Ontario’s $15.2 billion deficit for the coming year to Quebec’s forecast budget shortfall of less than $1.5 billion, and budgets closer to balance in every other Canadian province.

“Once again, Ontario is running a bigger deficit than all the other provinces put together. They’re running a bigger deficit than they ran in 2010. The McGuinty government has failed to control spending. And they need Ontario’s government employee unions to accept a wage freeze even to hit the modest target they’ve set for themselves.

Thomas pointed out that, since the financial meltdown of 2008, Ontario has run $39.6 billion in total deficits, and expects to run deficits totalling $66.5 billion before finally balancing its budget in 2017.

Ontario’s total debt is now expected to hit $314.1 billion by 2014-15, after growing from $162.2 billion in 2007 to $257.5 billion this year.

The CTF applauded the McGuinty government’s plan to rein in its runaway payroll and pension costs, noting that pension expenses for its four biggest plans are slated to rise over half a billion dollars in each of 2012 and 2013 before proposed reforms begin to take effect.

“We wish the government well in its contract negotiations. It’s fair to say that they have created a monster,” said Thomas





PROVINCIAL BUDGET DISAPPOINTING FOR NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy said the cash-strapped Ontario budget announced today does nothing significant for the First Nations people nor does it address the core issues facing First Nations.
“In tough economic times, it is always the marginalized people that feel it the most, specifically Aboriginal people,” said Grand Chief Beardy. “Ontario is pinching its dollars in places we need to see more funds flow and that’s where the marginalized people are most affected. NAN covers two-thirds of Ontario yet we don’t see much in this budget that benefits this part of the province for First Nations.”

“We had hoped for investments in on-reserve infrastructure, in particular housing, prescription drug abuse programs and provincial dollars for education but nothing significant was announced.”

Though the province did announce it is “relaxing” some of the environmental acts and measures through the Ministry of Natural Resources across northern Ontario.

“Without manufacturing being a major cash infusion anymore the province is now relaxing some of the environmental protection protocols to make it easier for outside investors to partner with development companies across the north. We are the stewards of the land. These are our homelands and once again we must call the province on this.”
Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan tabled the budget today at Queens Park and doesn’t expect public support as Ontario commits to eliminating the $16-billion deficit.

As per the Drummond Report recommendations, NAN hoped the Ontario government would put pressure on the federal government to provide funding for First Nations on-reserve education that would help it reach parity with the per-student provincial funding for elementary and secondary education.
Ontario announced only that it is prepared to work with the federal government and the First Nations provided the federal government supplies the necessary funding.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario. www.nan.on.ca

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