TORONTO — Ontario’s 2016 budget was sent to translators before public consultations were finished – which the opposition parties say is proof the process of seeking input was really a “sham” and a “charade.”
The Feb. 25 budget came significantly earlier than any budget in recent memory, with the previous three introduced in April or May.
That meant that when the Liberal government’s public consultations wrapped up at the end of January, only a few weeks were left until the budget was tabled in the legislature.
The Ministry of Finance says that the initial translation of preliminary budget drafts began on Jan. 27 this year, with the final version sent to the printers on Feb. 20.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says sections based on figures from Statistics Canada and global economic conditions are already “embedded” and that nothing was finalized until after the consultations were complete.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the initial translation date shows the consultations were a “sham,” and that the Liberals “had no intention of listening to what anybody had to say.”