NDP demands accountability in Ontario budget

The Globe and Mail

New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath looks on during the delivering the provincial budget at Queens Park in Toronto, May 2, 2013. (MARK BLINCH/REUTERS)

If Premier Kathleen Wynne wants the NDP to support her government’s first budget, she must add several “accountability measures” to ensure targets on auto insurance cuts and home care waiting times are met, New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath said Friday.

The Premier must also adopt new rules and oversight mechanisms to ensure money is not wasted on cancelling power plants or agencies such as eHealth, Ms. Horwath said.

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The Liberals bowed to several NDP demands in their budget Thursday, agreeing to slash auto insurance premiums by 15 per cent and pump more money into home care, but the NDP said there is no guarantee these are anything more than promises.

“Ontarians want change. They want some confidence government will make achievable commitments and keep those commitments,” Ms. Horwath said at Queen’s Park. “Ontarians want to see results in a way that is accountable.”

The NDP is launching a website – www.yoursayontario.ca – and a toll-free number to gather input on exactly what the party should demand from the Liberals, including what sort of accountability measures to ask for.

The consultation, Ms. Horwath said, would also ask for ideas on balancing the budget and funding transit.

With Ms. Wynne’s Liberals holding only a minority in the legislature, she must secure the support of at least one other party for the budget to pass. The Liberals are eager to avoid an election and have worked hard to earn NDP backing.

The Progressive Conservatives decided months ago not to support the budget. On Friday, PC Finance Critic Peter Shurman attacked the budget for its “socialist” spending.

“We’re having consultations for a week, for 10 days? Why? 1-800-Andrea? I think not,” he said. “It’s a socialist government, in my opinion. It’s a government with an alliance – if it’s not a coalition, it’s definitely an alliance – and to us it’s a Liberal-NDP government.”

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eHealth
EHTH-Q
45.21 -2.312 % 222,879