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  • Government budget holds the line on inadequate COVID relief

QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement about the Fall Budget:

“This is a bare-bones budget that fails to prepare Ontario for the tough battle before us.

People need help now, not years down the road.

As Ontarians deal with record-high case numbers, the Premier is standing pat with a COVID-plan that isn’t getting relief where it is needed.

If the Premier is serious about fixing long-term care, then he didn’t show it today with an unfunded promise to raise the standards of care to 4 hours.

I was expecting to see $1.8 billion to hire the nurses and PSWs needed to give elders the dignity they deserve. Instead, the Premier’s long-range forecast leaves seniors waiting.

The budget and actions leading up to it make it clear that the Premier’s recovery plan runs right through Ontario’s environment. The Premier is ignoring Indigenous treaty rights and selling sensitive wetlands to party donors.  

Financial experts are urging governments to go green with their recovery, matching job creation with the low-carbon transition, but the Premier failed to listen.

If the Premier is so desperate to get shovels in the ground, then he should announce a plan to renovate our buildings that are leaking energy or install EV chargers along Ontario highways.

I feel bad for small businesses that were led to believe that a $300 million aid package was on its way with no strings attached. Today we learned that the Premier was playing politics this whole time and most businesses will be shut out from this financial relief.

Finally, I’m alarmed that so little is being done to tackle the mental health and housing crises that worsen during this pandemic.

The budget does not contain the funds that housing and mental health advocates need to care for vulnerable people in our communities.

People and businesses have stepped up to confront COVID-19. They deserve a provincial government that steps up as well.”

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