QUEEN’S PARK — Mike Schreiner released the following statement in response to the Premier’s government 2023 budget.
“We can’t prepare for a better future unless we tackle the multiple urgent crises that are affecting us today: climate, housing, healthcare, mental health, and poverty.
But this head-in-the-sand budget shows a government in denial of the need to invest in the people of this province.
Not only is this failure to act bad for people – it’s bad fiscal policy.
Poverty costs Ontario $33 billion per year.
Climate inaction will cost us $26.2 billion this decade in infrastructure costs alone.
It is more than twice as expensive to service sprawl developments than homes built within existing urban areas.
By failing to respond to the issues affecting Ontarians today, we’re missing out on a massive opportunity to build a stronger, more affordable, climate-ready province for tomorrow.
Instead, our government is funnelling billions of dollars into super-sized sprawl that makes life less affordable. Promising $27.9 billion to build highways in the Greenbelt and funding energy rebates that mainly benefit the wealthy will not solve the affordability concerns of everyday people.
If this government wants to build a better Ontario, it should invest in the things that make life better for everyone. Things like:
- Meaningful investments in the new climate economy – in heat pumps, renewable energy, and building retrofits – that will help people save money by saving energy while preparing us to be competitive in the fast-growing climate economy;
- Building 1.5 million affordable, sustainable homes in communities where people want to live – close to where they work, shop, and play;
- Ending legislated poverty by doubling social assistance rates;
- Solving the health human resources crisis by investing in fair wages and decent working conditions for Ontario’s healthcare workers, instead of starving the public system to benefit shareholders;
- Funding community-based mental health so that everyone can receive the care they need in community and in school from a system that’s affordable, accessible, and comprehensive – with an 8 percent increase in base funding for community mental health providers as a bare minimum.
Let’s be clear. We can create jobs and grow our economy without making life more dangerous and less affordable.
But this budget shows a government hell-bent on austerity – at the expense of everyday people.”