QUEEN’S PARK — Doug Ford’s holiday cuts don’t make sense at any level. They fail to make a tangible difference in balancing the province’s books, while maximizing pain for target groups.
“Slashing after-school programs for vulnerable youth and community grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation won’t make a noticeable difference in the budget. But it will hurt people who make a difference in improving lives in our communities,” said Schreiner.
Many of the government’s cuts seem particularly callous and unnecessary, like the $2.25 million cut to the Indigenous Culture Fund, which was part of the province’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
“It says a lot about this government that funding for Indigenous programs is what they chose to cut. This small amount fails to fix Ontario’s budget deficit, yet the loss of funding is a big step backwards for the province’s reconciliation efforts,” said Mike Schreiner.
Midwives, school programs, the arts, and community groups are all feeling the sting of Ford’s cuts, while the province’s wealthiest 1% have benefited from tax cuts and continue to receive a 25% discount on their electricity bills.
“Ford is picking his winners and losers. These valuable programs could all have been funded if the government had not given a tax cut to the top 1% in the Fall Economic Statement. While already-marginalized groups suffer, the rich get richer,” said Schreiner.
“It’s a recipe for growing income inequality,” said Schreiner.
Yet the PC government refuses to drop the biggest budget-buster of all, the Liberals UnFair Hydro Plan, which is costing the province $4 billion annually.
“While Ford lashes out at the Liberals for manipulating the province’s finances, he keeps the budget-buster on the books. It’s hypocritical and fiscally irresponsible,” said Schreiner.
“The government can make a huge dent in the deficit and spare further harmful cuts to social programs simply by cancelling the UnFair Hydro Plan.”