By Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli
For the second year in a row, I’ve had to correct Bill Mauro, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, after the Budget was released.
After reading his recent Letter to the Editor, it’s clear he has not read the Budget, once again. The Northern Ministry’s budget this year is $767 million. Not only is that $70 million lower than last year, it’s even lower than the $804 million the Ministry had, back as far as 2014! So coming up with some “we had one-time money last year” excuse is just that — an excuse. The budget has been slashed again — the facts are the facts.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that the Minister would be so confused when discussing the budget. Last year, the same Minister stood in the Legislature and stated “Recreational hunting and fishing licences are not increasing. Unequivocally.” I stood up immediately and quoted from page 191 of the Budget, which reads “Examples of the fees (to be raised) include fees charged for driver and vehicle licencing, camping, fishing and hunting licences, and event permits.”
I would have hoped the Northern Minister would have actually read the budget, especially the sections that deal with the North.
With respect to the Ring of Fire, an infrastructure commitment was in the 2014 Budget, then cut-and-pasted into the 2015 Budget, and again copied and put into the 2016 Budget. Sadly, there was NO mention of the Ring of Fire in this year’s budget. Not one single word. It’s apparent that unless we keep pushing for this huge project, the Liberal government will continue to ignore the North.