The threat of a summer election was averted today as, thanks to the NDP abstaining, the Ontario budget passed.
It was a week of drama at Queen's Park that ended with today's vote on the Liberal's budget bill, amended after consultations with the NDP.
Thanks the the 17 New Democrats staying in their seats for the vote, the bill passed 52-35.
So there will be no summer election, and Premier Dalton McGuinty's government will live to fight another day, until at least the fall anyway.
In securing the NDP's tacit support, the Liberals agreed to amend the Taxpayer Protection Act, which effectively froze a planned corporate tax cut. What's more, the negotiated deal with the NDP will see Ontarians who earn $500,000 and up a year hit with a two-per-cent surcharge.
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli (PC) was the first area politician to issue a statement about the passing of the budget bill, in which he blasted both the NDP and the Liberals for allowing the budget to pass.
He took particular aim at the NDP for allowing the budget to pass even though it provides for the divestiture of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. The budget also allows the province to proceed with changes to Ontario's horse racing industry.
“For a second time, the NDP have allowed this Liberal budget to pass allowing the fire sale of Ontario Northland to proceed,” Fideli said in a statement. “They should be ashamed.”
Sudbury MPP and Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci criticized the NDP for abstaining, calling the move “an abdication of responsibility to voters who elected them.”
“Today, the NDP did not vote in favour of the budget. They didn’t vote against the budget. They sat in the legislature and did nothing,” Bartolucci said. “This is the third time they’ve done this with regard to the budget – the most important piece of legislation there could possibly be – and a document that sets the future direction of the province."
He also took aim at both the NDP and PCs for their opposition to the divestiture of the ONTC while, he said, doing nothing to stop it. Bartolucci said North Bay MPP Vic Fedeli tabled a motion he knew would fail because it didn’t meet criteria, while the NDP had three separate opportunities (by voting against the budget) to kill the divestment of the ONTC but did not.
Posted by Arron Pickard