July 2, 2014 1:10 pm

Throne speech will lay out Liberals’ long-term agenda for Ontario: finance minister

TORONTO – The governing Liberals say they’ll lay out a plan Thursday that won’t just set their agenda for the next four years, but the next decade and beyond.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the throne speech opening the new legislative session will focus on retirement security and the quality of life the government wants people to have.

The speech will be the first glimpse at the Liberals’ agenda after winning a majority of seats in the legislature, but it will sound familiar.

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Most of their priorities were laid out in the budget that triggered the June 12 election, which the Liberals plan to introduce again.

It includes setting up a provincial pension plan and doling out $29 billion over 10 years to build public transit and other transportation infrastructure.

But the Liberals have also promised to eliminate Ontario’s $12.5 billion deficit in three years, which will require them to put the brakes on government spending.

The Progressive Conservatives are still licking their wounds after a crushing election defeat, with Tim Hudak stepping down Wednesday as leader.

Hudak was nowhere to be seen this morning during the swearing-in ceremony for new and re-elected members of the provincial parliament, including Premier Kathleen Wynne.

Jim Wilson, a health minister under former premier Mike Harris, will serve as interim leader until a new one is elected by party members.

He’s not the only one getting a new job as the legislature returns for the first time since the election.

A new Speaker will be elected this afternoon.

Liberals Dave Levac – who held the position before the election was called – and Shafiq Qaadri are running, but Progressive Conservative Rick Nicholls and New Democrats Paul Miller and Cheri DiNovo also want the job.

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