NDP Official Opposition Deputy Leader John Vanthof said Doug Ford’s first budget hits northern Ontario especially hard as it takes away what northern families need while offering little in return.
“Just like the rest of Ontario, our schools will be underfunded, our hospitals will get more crowded, and our universities will be decimated, thanks to Doug Ford's first budget,” said Vanthof, NDP MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane.
“But what’s more, just like the Wynne Liberals before him, Doug Ford is failing to create jobs in northern Ontario, he’s shortchanging us on much-needed infrastructure, and he’s offering no relief on sky-high gas prices.
“Doug Ford squandered the opportunity to create thousands of family-supporting jobs right across the north by failing to take concrete action on the Ring of Fire with no funding, and no commitment to meaningful consultations with impacted First Nations.
“And Ford's budget doesn't commit to when the four-laning of Highway 69 or Highway 11/17 will be completed, while the Northlander was missing from the budget, with no funding or timelines for restoring northern passenger rail.
"Those painful insults come as ministries that are supposed to support Northern and rural Ontario are slashed. Ford cut the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs cut by a whopping $225 million, roughly a quarter of its funding. He cut Energy, Northern Development and Mines by $566 million. He cut Natural Resources and Forestry by another $162 million. And he cut $142 million from Emergency Forest Firefighting, nearly 70 per cent of its funding. On top of all that, Ford is cutting funding for the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs in half.
“Northern and rural Ontarians deserve access to broadband internet, better access to health care, and more support to build good, stable jobs in the North," said Vanthof.
“The Liberals failed northern Ontario. For 15 years, they starved us of critical services and families saw their schools close, their hospitals become overcrowded, and their industries shut down. This budget makes clear that Doug Ford’s Conservatives are only going to make things so much worse for our northern communities."