Wynne to unveil road map
TORONTO—Premier Kathleen Wynne will reach out to the opposition parties in today’s throne speech, meeting some key elements on the Conservative and New Democrat agendas as the legislature gets back to business, The Canadian Press has learned.
Making the minority parliament work is one of three key priorities that will be laid out in the speech, which outlines the government’s agenda in the new session.
“It is what they want and what they deserve.”
The other two priorities—a strong job-creation economy and a fair society—will round out Wynne’s road map for the session, a source said.
The speech will include measures to show there’s some common ground among the three parties, the source noted.
“The government doesn’t believe we are irreparably divided,” Onley is expected to say when he reads the throne speech.
The governing Liberals will re-commit to slaying the province’s $12-billion deficit by 2017-18.
Once the budget is balanced, they will restrict overall government spending increases.
Spending growth will be capped at one percent below gross domestic product growth—economic growth—until Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio returns to pre-recession levels, the source said.
“That’s something the Conservatives can agree to,” the source added.
The speech also will promise to fight youth unemployment, allow welfare recipients to keep more of what they earn when they work, and increase home care—something both the NDP and the Tories wanted.
Allowing those on welfare to keep more of their income was a key recommendation of a report by Francis Lankin and Munir Sheikh aimed at improving Ontario’s social assistance programs.
Wynne said implementing the report is one of her top priorities and already has asked bureaucrats to start planning to put it into effect.
The throne speech is Wynne’s first major test as premier—a confidence motion that could trigger an election if both opposition parties vote against it.
She’s been branded as a left-leaning successor to McGuinty, but Wynne insists she will balance social justice with fiscal responsibility.
But it’s unclear whether the measures outlined in the speech will be enough to satisfy the Tories, who say they’re looking for “fundamental change” in the Liberals’ approach to spending, job creation, and reducing the province’s debt.
Unlike the Tories, the NDP compiled a list of measures they wanted Wynne to implement.
They included a 15 percent cut to auto insurance premiums, $30 million to eliminate home care waiting lists, and institute a five-day guarantee for seniors who need health services at home.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath also wants the Liberals to close $1.3 billion in corporate tax loopholes, spend $200 million to create jobs for youth, and call a public inquiry into the cancelled gas plants.