Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell said residents in Northwestern Ontario need to pay close attention to the provincial budget and speak up for the programs and services important to them.
Finance minister Dwight Duncan will release tomorrow the government’s fiscal plan for the next 12 months, which is expected to include significant cuts in hopes to balance the budget.
Given the difficult financial situation the province is in, Campbell said MPPs from all sides need to put aside partisan differences and work together to find a strategy that will balance the need to make cuts with the need to ensure stable funding for essential programs and services.
“This is not a time for playing politics. This is a time for co-operation,” she stressed.
“The budget hasn’t been released and already some people are criticizing it, despite the fact we haven’t seen the contents,” Campbell noted.
“We have heard some very general statements on the potential contents of the budget but until we see the document as a whole, it is irresponsible and counterproductive to pass judgment.
“Now, more than ever, we need our elected officials to show leadership by avoiding jumping to conclusions, having patience, and working together in the best interest of Ontarians,” she reasoned.
With tough decisions facing both the government and opposition parties, Campbell said the public needs to be engaged in the process and encourages constituents from across the riding to provide their feedback once the document is released.
“We all know some cuts are coming and some programs are going to be scaled back,” she remarked.
“That said, we need to ensure that people in the northwest have their concerns heard and that we fight to maintain the programs and services which are important to us.
“This year’s budget is a document that will likely set the tone for the next five-seven years, and we need to ensure it is headed in the right direction,” Campbell stressed.
“That is why I am asking for your input.”
Campbell added that she’s hopeful all parties will be open to working together to help put the province on the right direction, including taking a close look to all proposals aimed at strengthening the budget.
“The question we need to ask is very simple. What’s more important: partisan politics or the financial future of our region and province?” she asked.
“I am willing to work with all parties for the betterment of Ontario and I hope all of my colleagues are on the same page,” she said.