Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hudak wants a $300 million election, vows to vote against a budget that hasn't been written yet

Yesterday, Finance Minister Charles Sousa started his first round of pre-Budget consultations in Mississauga, listening to the concerns of everyday Ontario families as he works to prepare a budget focused on creating jobs, lowering youth unemployment, and fostering growth and opportunity as the way forward.

"My hope is that the members of the Opposition have heard how closely I've listened to their concerns and the concerns of people around the province," Wynne told reporters.

Sousa, meanwhile, said he will get in touch with Opposition parties as he prepares the budget.

"Premier Wynne wants to work with members of the Opposition and I'm certainly going to have consultations (with them) in regards to the budget," said Sousa. "I think it's critical for us to work together."

The minister believes a number of the initiatives that were revealed in the throne speech, which included a $300-million venture capital fund, achieving labour peace with teacher unions, a commitment to eliminate Ontario's $12-billion deficit by 2017/18 and tackling gridlock, should appeal to "both sides of the House." He believes it will be enough to stop an early election.

Sousa will be meeting with businesses and stakeholders across the province to hear their concerns heading into the budget process. He couldn't confirm when the budget will come down, but some pundits have suggested it should be sometime in April.

Tomorrow, Sousa will be in Mississauga to meet with Peel businesses and groups for pre-budget consultations.

But while Minister Sousa and Premier Wynne want to work together for Ontario families, Tim Hudak is playing politics, demanding an election 16 months after his agenda of slashing cuts to education and health care was rejected.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak is itching for an election even though voters only went to the polls 16 months ago.

His burning desire for a general election at a cost of $300 million appears at odds with the constant message of slashing government spending. The last provincial election was in October 2011.

Hudak is feeling the pressure from a party that knows he's a drag on their chances of winning the next election, so he's willing to play reckless games with Ontario's stability and economic growth. By pledging to vote against a budget that hasn't even been written yet, Hudak is demonstrating his unreliability as a leader.

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