GPO Finance Critic Stacey Danckert on the Ontario Budget

Stacey DanckertCandidate, Kitchener Centre, GPO Finance Critic

As the Finance Critic for the Green Party of Ontario, last night I appeared with the other opposition critics to discuss the 2018 Liberal budget on TVO’s The Agenda.

Before the budget was officially released, we had spent 4 hours in “Budget Lockup,” where we were allowed to read and evaluate the budget before everyone else, while being disconnected from the rest of the world.  We were then given a brief opportunity to share our thoughts about the budget with Steve Paikin.

There just wasn’t enough time for a more thorough discussion, so I wanted to share more of my thoughts with you here.

Deficit

Deficits are not in and of themselves a bad thing (most of us borrow for the things we need), but it is completely unnecessary right now, in our strong economic climate. We can support the people in our communities and strengthen our social programs and we can afford to do it now. For example, we could increase royalty fees for our natural resources, which we are currently practically giving away (like the water that we sell to Nestle for $1/million L!).

We could create road tolls and move away from nuclear, among so many other revenue tools that could be discussed.

Environment

I didn’t want to spend time talking about what people already know we know. But this budget doesn’t cut it.

We need more aggressive emissions targets (net zero by 2050), we need to stop allowing the biggest emitters exemptions from the cap and trade (right now 150 of the largest emitters pay nothing!).

We need to put more money into transitioning into a Green economy – it creates more jobs and moves us to where we need to be, rather than further away from it.

And the great lakes and biodiversity saw such a pittance in this budget, I think it really shows the Liberals’ hand on protecting our natural environment.

We need to stop throwing good money after bad on nuclear power. It helped us move away from coal when we needed to, but it has also proven itself to be far too costly. As a matter of fact, it largely accounts for about one quarter of the deficit we face over the next year! Now that renewables have become affordable, we should be moving towards 100% renewables, including inexpensive hydro from Quebec and Manitoba. We could also be working harder to do the upgrades that will cut the amount of energy that we need.

Social Programs

There are lots of things that get a piece of the pie here, but notably missing is any mention of a future for basic income. Will they even look at the data, let alone roll it out province – wide?

And until then, I appreciate that they are streamlining OW and ODSP programs a bit, but the people in our communities that are accessing these programs need more money now – there is no way to live healthfully off of the tiny amount we provide to support those most in need. For example $50 on dental care for children won’t even cover an exam!

All in all, when you look at it more carefully, the budget doesn’t seem like a plan at all but rather, pieces of a plan. If you plan well, social program spending actually saves you money (i.e., less hospital spending, less on police, less on poverty stop-gaps), whereas if you implement solutions haphazardly, they are likely to cost even more and achieve nothing. While the Liberals will speak to helping the many social programs that get a mention in the budget – programs that the GPO has been advocating for increased spending for years – they haven’t developed a consistent plan to actually do it. The lack of sincerity on rolling this out right before an election after 14 years of not doing it, just doesn’t sit well with me.

But how can we blame them? This is how politics has been done for more years than I know. This time, let’s demand more. Let’s demand that they show us how they will pay for it. Let’s demand that they are consistent in their policies. Let’s demand transparency and honesty. Let’s demand a healthy and happy future for our children and grandchildren.

Stacey Danckert, GPO Finance Critic
Candidate, Kitchener-Centre

John Vanthof (NDP), Steve Paikin (host, The Agenda), Stacey Danckert (GPO) and Vic Fedeli (PC)-

More video from the 2018 Ontario Budget episode of The Agenda can be found here:

Minister Sousa discussing the budget

Expert economic analysis

 

Leadership Tour: Mike Schreiner in KW Thursday! #GPO2018

Mike Schreiner’s Social Innovation Round-table

When: 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Thursday, 22 March 2018
Where: Kitchener Public Library
Location: 85 Queen Street North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Mike will host a round-table discussion with Waterloo Region leaders and influencers to discuss the path they want Ontario take.

This inclusive meeting is open to everyone! Light snacks and refreshments will be served.


A Social Evening with GPO Leader Mike Schreiner

When: 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Thursday 22 March 2018
Where: Abe Erb Waterloo
Location: 15 King Street South, Waterloo Map

Join Mike and the WR Greens for a locally brewed beverage, a locally prepared meal or snack, and meet your local Green Party candidates and candidate-nominees from the five Waterloo Region ridings.

 

Waterloo Region Greens support #DoneWaiting campaign

The Green Party is committed to being honest about the problems we face and always acting with integrity. We work across party lines and with advocacy groups to achieve common goals.

Screen Shot 2018-03-13 at 09.03.23
Screenshot of the #DoneWaiting campaign’s website, donewaiting.ca

In this spirit, Waterloo Region Greens fully supports the goals of the #DoneWaiting campaign. We commend the Canadian Labour Congress for pushing for an end to wage discrimination, sexual harassment and violence, and the chronic underfunding of child care.

Ontario Green Party leader Mike Schreiner has called for a reform of our justice system to better serve survivors of sexual violence.

“Our party is committed to amplifying the voices of women and pressing for progress on these critical issues in the upcoming provincial election,” said Schreiner.

The Ontario Green Party has committed to running a full and gender-balanced slate of candidates in the 2018 election.

Greens are also calling for additional funding for reproductive health and women’s shelters.

Our plan for a provincial child care strategy in Ontario builds on the 2015 federal Green platform for high-quality affordable child care for all Canadians.

Greens understand that we need strong legislation to shrink the inexcusable wage gap, and to deliver a living wage for all workers. At the same time, we will help small businesses shoulder these costs by doubling the Employer Health Tax exemption limit.

Greens support a basic income guarantee that will provide stability for workers who are moving between jobs or starting a family.

These policies are not only a response to current events; they have been part of our platform in election after election.

Greens have always been committed to doing politics differently, and we’re happy to re-affirm that we’re done waiting, too.

Waterloo Region Greens represents the provincial and federal Green Party riding associations for Waterloo, Kitchener Centre, Kitchener South-Hespeler, Kitchener-Conestoga, and Cambridge.

Mike Schreiner comes to Kitchener on Thursday, 22 March 2018

Mike Schreiner at the Jobs Justice Climate March in Toronto, 2015 The Waterloo Region Greens are pleased to welcome Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner to Kitchener for two events:

Social Innovation for Green stakeholders

When: 4:00pm to 6:00pm on Thursday, 22 March 2018
Where: Kitchener Public Library
Location: 85 Queen Street North, Kitchener, Ontario Map

Mike has come to deliver the party’s platform to Waterloo Region.

To get feedback from the community, Mike will host a round-table discussion on the topic: What changes do you need to do what you do?

Community leaders and influencers are invited to participate in discussion groups on different issues that should be addressed by the provincial government.

Mike and his policy team will take all notes and feedback from this session to learn about specific local solutions, whereas the platform will focus on provincial solutions.

This meeting is open to everyone! Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Social Night with Mike Schreiner

When: 7:00pm to 9:00pm, Thursday 22 March 2018
Where: Abe Erb Waterloo
Location: 15 King Street South, Waterloo Map

Join Mike and the WR Greens for a locally brewed beverage, a locally prepared meal or snack, and meet your local Green Party candidates and candidate-nominees from the five Waterloo Region ridings.

The location has not yet been determined, but is sure to be one of the many craft breweries in the area. Mike has long been a champion to free the beer!

Location is confirmed! Come meet Mike Schreiner and the Waterloo Region candidates and nominees at Abe Erb Restaurant and Brewery in Waterloo!

(Mike Schreiner and Michael Masurkevitc at TWB brewery)

Donations towards the Green Party of Ontario election campaigns will be gratefully accepted at both events.