Ontario Liberals would draw from contingency funds to pay for promises - Quick Telecast Ontario Liberals would draw from contingency funds to pay for promises - Quick Telecast Ontario Liberals would draw from contingency funds to pay for promises - Quick Telecast

Ontario Liberals would draw from contingency funds to pay for promises

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TORONTO — A Liberal government in Ontario would count on a renegotiated federal child-care deal and “efficiencies” in procurement to pay for promises that include affordable housing, subsidized transit and an end to for-profit long-term care, the party revealed in a costed platform released Monday.

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The Liberals would also draw money from existing contingency funds, which they noted the auditor general has described as “overly cautious,” if they vault from their third-party status to government in June.

“We are the only party in this race right now that has both a coherent plan that targets what the people of this province need, and we’ve also attached responsible and fair and balanced numbers to our plan,” Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said at the platform’s launch in Toronto.

“It’s actually a real plan, unlike the Ford Conservatives’ budget that had no coherent plan whatsoever,” he said. “And the people of Ontario are still waiting for numbers from Andrea Horwath and the NDP about their commitments.”

The Liberals said they would balance the budget in 2026-27 if elected, although Del Duca said the party would make room for “unforeseen circumstances” and wouldn’t compromise on health or education investments.

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“If I have to choose between smaller class sizes and balancing the budget, I will choose smaller class sizes,” he said. “If I have to choose between paid sick leave and a living wage, or balancing the budget, I’m going to choose workers and their families every single day of the week.”

The party expects $2 billion of its projected funds for programs would be covered by a renegotiated child-care deal with the federal government.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the Liberals would reopen that deal, but Del Duca said he has “a great deal of optimism and confidence” that Ottawa would play ball, even though the agreement was signed earlier this year and only allows for renegotiation in Year 3.

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If it doesn’t work out that way, Del Duca said, his government would dip further into its contingency funds to pay for $10 before- and after-school care — one of the big promises made by the Liberals.

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The Tories’ budget — which was not passed before the legislature adjourned ahead of the election campaign and is serving as the party’s platform — contained $19.4 billion budgeted over three years for contingencies in “other program expenses.”

If elected, the Liberals would plan for a contingency fund of $4.8 billion in 2025-26.

Another $2 billion in their plan would come from what the party described as a new “procurement efficiencies strategy.”

The Progressive Conservatives painted the Liberal platform as unrealistic, calling it “nothing more than a back of the napkin Liberal ‘stretch goal’ littered with costing holes.”

“We all remember the 15 years of Del Duca-Wynne Liberals, who raised taxes, killed jobs, and jacked up hydro rates to the highest in the entire country,” Tory spokesperson Gillian Sloggett said in an emailed statement.

The New Democrats, meanwhile, suggested the Liberals would leave Ontarians in the lurch.

“Under Del Duca, the Liberals are again in a race with the Conservatives to balance the budget at the expense of investments desperately needed to help save people money — like making sure you’re covered for mental health, dental care and prescription drugs,” the party said.

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TORONTO — A Liberal government in Ontario would count on a renegotiated federal child-care deal and “efficiencies” in procurement to pay for promises that include affordable housing, subsidized transit and an end to for-profit long-term care, the party revealed in a costed platform released Monday.

Advertisement 2

Article content

The Liberals would also draw money from existing contingency funds, which they noted the auditor general has described as “overly cautious,” if they vault from their third-party status to government in June.

“We are the only party in this race right now that has both a coherent plan that targets what the people of this province need, and we’ve also attached responsible and fair and balanced numbers to our plan,” Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca said at the platform’s launch in Toronto.

“It’s actually a real plan, unlike the Ford Conservatives’ budget that had no coherent plan whatsoever,” he said. “And the people of Ontario are still waiting for numbers from Andrea Horwath and the NDP about their commitments.”

The Liberals said they would balance the budget in 2026-27 if elected, although Del Duca said the party would make room for “unforeseen circumstances” and wouldn’t compromise on health or education investments.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“If I have to choose between smaller class sizes and balancing the budget, I will choose smaller class sizes,” he said. “If I have to choose between paid sick leave and a living wage, or balancing the budget, I’m going to choose workers and their families every single day of the week.”

The party expects $2 billion of its projected funds for programs would be covered by a renegotiated child-care deal with the federal government.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the Liberals would reopen that deal, but Del Duca said he has “a great deal of optimism and confidence” that Ottawa would play ball, even though the agreement was signed earlier this year and only allows for renegotiation in Year 3.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

If it doesn’t work out that way, Del Duca said, his government would dip further into its contingency funds to pay for $10 before- and after-school care — one of the big promises made by the Liberals.

Advertisement 4

Article content

The Tories’ budget — which was not passed before the legislature adjourned ahead of the election campaign and is serving as the party’s platform — contained $19.4 billion budgeted over three years for contingencies in “other program expenses.”

If elected, the Liberals would plan for a contingency fund of $4.8 billion in 2025-26.

Another $2 billion in their plan would come from what the party described as a new “procurement efficiencies strategy.”

The Progressive Conservatives painted the Liberal platform as unrealistic, calling it “nothing more than a back of the napkin Liberal ‘stretch goal’ littered with costing holes.”

“We all remember the 15 years of Del Duca-Wynne Liberals, who raised taxes, killed jobs, and jacked up hydro rates to the highest in the entire country,” Tory spokesperson Gillian Sloggett said in an emailed statement.

The New Democrats, meanwhile, suggested the Liberals would leave Ontarians in the lurch.

“Under Del Duca, the Liberals are again in a race with the Conservatives to balance the budget at the expense of investments desperately needed to help save people money — like making sure you’re covered for mental health, dental care and prescription drugs,” the party said.

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Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

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