TORONTO—Time is running out for Ontario’s minority Liberals to broker a budget deal with the New Democrats and avoid plunging the province into an election for the second time in seven months.
Tuesday’s vote is the first opportunity for the opposition parties to bring down the Liberals on the budget.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath issued a statement Sunday night urging Premier Dalton McGuinty to take the New Democrats’ concerns seriously.
Horwath waived her her key demand for removing the provincial portion of the HST from home heating bills but continues to push for other demands, including:
- a $250-million job creation tax credit
- allocating more money to child care
- and increase the Ontario Disability Support Program
- A new 2% surtax on incomes over $500,000
- leave Ontario Northland in public hands
The Tories had no choice but oppose the budget, said deputy leader Christine Elliott. The Liberals dismissed their suggestions for the budget, which didn’t address the issues they feel are paramount: creating jobs and stopping the province from spiraling further into debt.
If an agreement isn’t reached, the NDP could buy more time by supporting the budget or abstaining from the vote. They’d still have another chance to decide the government’s fate when a second confidence vote on the budget legislation is called.
But Horwath said she’s not interested in dragging out negotiations.