From Queen's Park: I Need To Hear From You About The 2014 Ontario Budget

From Queen’s Park – I need to hear from you about the 2014 Ontario Budget
By Sarah Campbell, MPP

As you read this, we will all be very close to hearing what’s in store for Ontarians in terms of the provincial budget.

This year’s budget will be tabled at the same time that Hydro One rates are set to climb again, and on the heels of recently inflated prices for much of what is essential to living in Northwestern Ontario. As I write this column, gasoline has just jumped by at least 12 cents a litre in parts of the region; the cost of home and vehicle insurance has increased by as much as 10 percent, and natural gas has risen by nearly 30 percent. Heating oil, propane and groceries have all followed suit – all while pay raises have been minimal or non-existent for the average NWO resident.

These are the things we need to keep in mind when we take a careful look at this new budget. As the MPP for this area, I am interested in looking at the whole package in terms of what is being tabled and whether the north is receiving fair consideration.

Expenses that might be acceptable to those living in the southern-most parts of the province are often unmanageable for those in the north where we don’t have the option of turning the furnace down when it’s 40 or more degrees below zero, or commuting to work on buses or trains.

There are a number of things we should consider when the budget is tabled: How does the province’s financial plan affect you personally and as a resident of Northwestern Ontario? Do you feel the government has listened to, and, more importantly, addressed the issues that so many have been quite vocal about for the past year? What do you feel is missing from the 2014 budget? Is the budget a financial responsible proposal during these difficult times?

To find out which issues I have been working on in the past few months, as well as to hear from you about the answers to some of these important questions, please take a look at my latest Riding Report, which should be in your mailbox very soon.

As always, I need to hear from you in order for me to represent you best. Budget time is even more critical as I will be relying on your direction to inform my decision of whether or not I should support this budget, or reject it and potentially bring us to an election. I truly need to hear what you have to say on the budget – or on any other issue they would like to discuss. Please feel free to stop in at any of my constituency offices or voice your concerns by telephone at 1-800-465-8501 or email scmpp@ndp.on.ca.