NEWS

Liberals to table Ontario budget on May 1

04/15/2014 04:33 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT
Ontario’s governing Liberals will table their budget May 1, an event that could trigger a quick trip to the polls if both of the opposition parties fail to support its contents.

The Liberals have held a minority position in the Ontario legislature for the past 2½ years, but have managed to survive the past two budgets with the support of the New Democrats.

The Progressive Conservatives have voted against each of the past two budgets and do not appear to have any different plans this time around.

The budget’s timing is not a surprise, as the PCs previously announced that they had obtained documents pointing to a May 1 delivery date for the budget.

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak then accused the Liberals of having a "budget leaking team," which would strategically leak elements of the pending budget ahead of May 1.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced that the budget would be tabled on that date and alluded to the "speculation" as to when it would be delivered.

"I know that you’ve all been waiting with bated breath and I’m going to shock you today, by telling you that the date has been established as May 1," he said.

If the Liberals fail to get the support they need for the budget, an election could come as soon as the end of June — or even sooner if the government decided to drop the writ sooner.

Sousa said the timing of the vote on the budget will be dependent on various factors, including the debate that will take place in the Legislature.

The coming budget will be the second for Premier Kathleen Wynne, who took the reins of the Ontario Liberal Party just over a year ago.

In recent days, the Liberals have been dropping hints about what their budget will look like.

On Monday, Wynne pledged to spend $29 billion on transit and transportation infrastructure projects over the next decade. Just over half of that money would be spent in the Toronto and Hamilton areas, where the rest of that spending would target projects in other parts of Ontario.

At present, the Liberals hold 48 seats in the 107-seat legislature. The PCs have 37 seats and the New Democrats have 21 seats.

One seat remains vacant, following the departure of Linda Jeffrey, a Liberal cabinet minister who left the legislature to pursue a bid to become the next mayor of Brampton. Her exit from the government prompted a shuffle that saw Wynne bring two rookie ministers into her cabinet.

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