TORONTO – Premier Kathleen Wynne is fuming over what she calls a deliberate effort by the Harper government to shortchange Ontario by $641 million in Tuesday’s federal budget.
Wynne says Finance Minister Jim Flaherty changed the rules that protected all other provinces in the past whenever their equalization payments were supposed to go down, unfairly penalizing Ontario.
She says Ontario contributes more than $100 billion to Confederation, which is $11 billion more than it gets back, and she wants “a fair formula” that returns more of the money to the province.
Wynne insists she’s “not going cap-in-hand” to Ottawa looking for handouts.
However, Flaherty rejects Ontario’s arguments and says the province’s Liberal government simply doesn’t understand how the equalization program works.
Ontario’s New Democrats say both Wynne and Flaherty are playing politics and doing what’s in the best interests of their parties, not their constituents.