"I can assure you that change is brewing in Ontario," Sousa said Tuesday when asked about changes to the Beer Store's virtual monopoly on sales in the province. Details will have to wait for the April 23 budget, he added.
Sousa said a "large component" of his fiscal plan will involve possible asset sales.
"It's all about creating more jobs and economic growth, and the entire budget of 2015 will be around that very issue," he said. "Part of that is to unleash and harness the values of our Crown corporations."
A government-appointed panel chaired by former TD Bank chief Ed Clark examined assets such as Hydro One, Ontario Power Generation and the Liquor Control Board.
Any money raised from a sale Crown corporations, including a portion of Hydro One, for example, would go towards the Liberals' 10-year, $130-billion plan to invest in infrastructure projects, said Sousa.
"We have a requirement to invest in infrastructure, in roads and bridges and public transit, and that means finding ways to fund it, and one of those ways is to unlock the value of some of our Crown corporations today," he said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said electricity ratepayers would be hurt with even a partial sale of Hydro One, which she noted the Liberals warned would be "a disaster for consumers" before they were elected in 2003.
"If it's sold off, if it's privatized, it's going to jack up prices on hydro and give us a total lack of control," warned Horwath.
Premier Kathleen Wynne has said if there is a sale of Hydro One the government will make sure the regulatory regimes "that protect Ontarians" stay in place.
Wynne has been signalling for months that change is coming to alcohol distribution and the Beer Store, a foreign-owned consortium.
Clark rejected privatizing the LCBO in an interim report, and recommended the Beer Store give taxpayers a "fair share" of its profits or have the government auction off its virtual monopoly if the consortium won't pay a so-called franchise fee. Sousa declined to say if the Beer Store had agreed to do so.
Craft brewers say their market share is held back by the Beer Store, which makes it difficult, and expensive, for them to sell their products in its 448 retail outlets.
Sousa insisted the government can eliminate a $10.9-billion deficit by 2017-18 despite persistent skepticism from financial analysts, credit rating agencies and opposition parties.
"We're going to do it in a balanced approach ... not by taking extreme measures or putting anyone in harm's way, but by enabling us to invest in their future," he said.
The $10.9 billion deficit was up from $10.5-billion last year and a $9.2 billion shortfall the year before, which Progressive Conservative finance critic Vic Fedeli warned was "going in the wrong way."
Ontario's fiscal plan will be unveiled just two days after the federal budget is introduced in Ottawa.
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