Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli isn't happy with Premier Wynne's new budget, saying not only was northern Ontario ignored, new taxes on heating and gasoline will hit us harder.
"Our winters are longer, our winters are colder, and now it's going to be more expensive. No matter what you do, when you wake up tomorrow morning your life is going to be more expensive under the Liberals," Fedeli told BayToday.
Under the government's new cap-and-trade program, designed to lower Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions, the price of gasoline is expected to rise 4.3 cents a litre and monthly residential natural gas bills will increase $5.
And while we are being taxed more, Fedeli says a number of tax credits are being eliminated.
"The child activity tax credit, where you would have help with your kid's hockey and swim lessons, that's gone now. The home renovation tax credit...gone. That's $64 million between those two alone. These are the kinds of things they've done to hurt families. And the biggest single thing that's hurting families, high energy bills. There is nothing in there to reduce the cost of the burden of high energy."
Highlighted in the government's 2016-17 budget is the introduction of an Ontario Student Grant that would entirely pay for average college or university tuition for students from families with incomes of $50,000 or less.
But Fedeli says the devil is in the details.
"In actuality they did two things. One, they cancelled the tuition tax credit for families so that the savings to the government is more than $150 million. Secondly, it's actually 30 per cent of the students in Ontario will benefit from free tuition. The other 70 per cent do not fully qualify for the tuition grant, and 50 per cent don't qualify for any of it. It's a very limited program, but the Liberals are great at making announcements that sound good but don't deliver the full truth behind the announcement."
The same goes for the health care announcement says Fedeli.
Hospital funding is increasing by $345 million, $130 million will be spent on cancer-care services and an additional $75 million is being earmarked for community-based residential hospices and palliative care.
But Fedeli says on one hand the Liberals say there is $345 million more for hospitals but what they do not say is that they are clawing back $107 million, hospitals receive each year from the Ontario Lottery Corporation. So they give it to you in one hand and take it away with the other."
Northern Ontario didn't even get a mention in the budget speech.
"That was very disturbing," says Fedeli. "Very, very disappointing."
Take our new poll underneath this story, "Is Premier Wynne's new budget good or bad news for northern Ontario?"