Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker says the re-release of the Liberal government’s 2014 budget was reminiscent of the movie Groundhog Day, the same old story over again.
But the local MPP isn’t laughing.
In fact, Walker says he is miffed that the Liberals’ so-called Mega Infrastructure budget with $130 billion in spending goodies has again by-passed communities in Bruce and Grey.
“The Liberal government is continuing to focus on putting the construction crews to work in the high-growth urban centres while leaving the heartland out in the cold,” Walker says. “My concern is that even after the Liberals’ record-high spending spree, which they’re financing by borrowing against our grandchildren, they’re still no closer to getting a shovel in the ground to build the Markdale hospital, no closer to building the new school in Hanover or any closer to replacing our ageing nursing homes in Bruce and Grey.”
While Walker welcomed spending initiatives for social programs and long-term care and wellness announced in yesterday’s budget at Queen’s Park, he remained skeptical of the government’s ability to deliver on front-line services.
“I’m pleased to hear they want to address the gaps in the developmental sector services, which has 21,000 people on the wait-list, but the challenge for this administration is in ensuring that dollars do go to front-line services, as opposed to just hiring more bureaucrats,” Walker says. “We know this is a big government with a poor track-record of cutting waste and corruption.”
Walker says he has serious doubts the government would achieve a balanced budget by 2017.
“The problem with running higher deficits year after year is that they add to the debt load and take precious dollars out of public services,” he says. “They are borrowing against our children and grand-children. Debt payments, which are $11 billion per year, are Ontario government’s third-largest expenditure, after health and education with nothing to show for it. It’s unsustainable.”
Walker says he will not support the budget, which also includes tax increases on working people.
“At a time when our riding is facing a crisis in youth unemployment – a staggering 21 per cent and the highest rate in Ontario – I cannot support a new payroll tax that will inevitably result in even fewer youth working,” Walker says. “To me, it’s just asinine politics.”