MPP waiting for proof of Liberals intention to change

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey

Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey isn’t sure the new premier has grasped the reality of the province’s problems.

And Bailey says it won’t be clear until Premier Kathleen Wynne’s first budget.

Lt.-Gov. David Onley read the speech from the throne today. In it, the new premier talked about tax breaks for small business, changes to welfare, help for the disabled, changes to mental health services and more say for communities in the citing of wind projects, power plants and casinos.

Bailey admits throne speeches are generally broad strokes outlining the vision of the government but he says the government was vague about the economy. Bailey was pleased to hear the government plans to hold spending one percent below the gross domestic product. “That’s dramatic if they can do it; it remains to be seen if they can do that,” says Bailey. But that one thing will not be enough.

“They have to do something; we don’t think they’ve laid out in this throne speech.”

And Bailey says the throne speech had little to say to the 600,000 people who woke up without jobs.

Bailey expects much of the detail of the government’s plans will come out in the budget expected in late March or early April.

But he says details of how much say communities will have in wind energy projects may come sooner. The Rural Ontario Municipal Association meets next week in Mississauga and many Ontario cabinet ministers will be there. “I would expect to see the details there because it those are the people they have to convince,” says Bailey adding the province has made similar statements before the legislature prorogued without giving details. “We’re not convinced they’re going to do anything…We’re not going to take them at their word because they haven’t done it yet.”

Bailey was also disappointed that the Premier – who named herself Agriculture Minister saying she was committed to helping rural Ontario – only used the word agriculture once while writing the speech. “It is such a big and important part of the Ontario economy; it is a lot larger than the auto sector…it contributes $15billion to Ontario’s economy… you’d think there would be more than one mention in the throne speech.”

Bailey says Ontarians will have to wait to find out the Liberal’s direction until the budget.

-Heather Wright