At first glance, Ontario’s newly tabled provincial budget looks pretty good for taxpayers.
It’s the first balanced budget tabled in a decade, and everyone from seniors, to parents, to young people taking prescription drugs, will see more money in their pocket.
But for the leader of the Progressive Conservative opposition, what Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals have really presented to voters is a “charade” and a “sham.”
“This budget is not a balanced budget,” Patrick Brown told The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos this weekend.
“They have hid debt left, right and centre, and unfortunately, we’re still in a pretty ugly financial picture in the province of Ontario.”
Ontario’s provincial debt is, in fact, projected to grow from $312 billion this year, or around $22,000 for every Ontarian, to an estimated $336 billion in 2019-2020.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa has argued that the net debt in the province is improving, and the Liberals are borrowing $30 billion less than they had anticipated.
WATCH: Election strategy behind Ontario Budget 2017
“So every dollar we borrow — 100 per cent of that goes to build new bridges, new schools, new hospitals, and those capital programs will last for decades,” Sousa said last week. “And that is a payback that we’re trying to make for the people of Ontario.”
Brown says that’s not good enough, and if his party manages to form government when Ontarians next head to the polls, he’ll launch a “value-for-money audit of every single ministry.”
Currently, the opposition leader said, there is too much waste and bloated administration in the province. He said he doesn’t think he’d need to raise taxes or cut programs to achieve the savings Ontario needs.
“We have a bridge near Pickering where the truss was put in upside down. We don’t measure performance,” Brown added. “I would make sure we’d get value for money.”
Watch the full interview with Patrick Brown above.