QUEEN’S PARK – The Conservative government’s choice to re-table a months-old budget without any updates to deal with exploding inflation or the raging health care crisis will make those problems worse for people, says the Official Opposition.
“Two critical things have changed since this budget was written — we are now in a health care crisis, and inflation has exploded to well over eight per cent,” said NDP Finance critic Catherine Fife (Waterloo).
“There is nothing scarier than rushing a loved one to the ER only to find the doors locked and the lights out. And it’s horrifying to think of sick and injured people literally laying on the floor, because it’s the only place to wait. Our health system has not seen this kind of crisis in generations, but this budget funds health care below inflation — which will result in cuts.
“And since this budget was introduced, inflation has exploded. There is not one item in here to raise wages up, offer relief from high prices, or stand up to corporations that are using inflation as an excuse to gouge. By staying the course, this budget leaves families to keep paying high prices with no relief.”
Fife also said with inflation now running over eight per cent, not only do workers’ paycheques lose nearly a tenth of their buying power — so does government spending. Health care falls short at a 5.9 per cent change, which means belt tightening will need to happen, like staff cuts or program cuts. Instead of fixing the health care crisis, this budget will make it worse.
“People are paying too high a price for Conservative choices — in more ways than one,” said NDP Leader Peter Tabuns. “This budget was an opportunity to offer relief, and hope to people. Instead, it’s a harbinger of cuts, a more intense health care crisis, and even less affordability for families.”
Tabuns and Fife said other areas desperate for investment include social services, where Premier Doug Ford is privatizing program delivery; education, where kids are still suffering with large class sizes after deep cuts Ford made in 2019; and climate action, which has been decimated by Ford.
“More than 60 per cent of Ontarians didn’t support Ford’s budget the first time around.
Re-tabling the same budget — ignoring the health care crisis and inflation — is ignoring what people want and need,” said Tabuns.
“The Conservative choices in this budget will cost us all deeply. We will pay too high a price — with unnecessary suffering, with our household budgets, and with our families’ futures.”