Kenora – Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford is soaking in what he heard from the community during the province’s pre-budget meetings this week in Dryden, as he prepares to take back what he learned to provincial parliament.
The set of meetings included presentations and delegations from community members, organizations and businesses as the province works to finalize their spring budget. Dryden was host to one of eight meetings across the province.
“We’re investing more, we just want to be more strategic with it. We want to maximize the value of our tax dollars. We want to understand how we can do better with the money that is currently allocated.”
“Many of the folks on the standing finance committee are not from northwestern Ontario, so it was a chance for them to get up to speed on some of the issues and opportunities that are unique for our region. We were pleased to have them here.”
Any talk of proposed cuts have always lead back to the province’s outstanding debt. Currently, Ontario is facing a $14 billion deficit, and owes more than one third of $1 trillion dollars – which is the highest sub-national debt of any province or state in the free world.
“Our debt needs to be dealt with. We’ll do it in a responsible manner, and for northwestern Ontario, we will be focused on strategic and targeted investments that make sense moving forward. I think we’ve demonstrated that so far.”
If the provincial debt was to be spread among Ontario residents, each resident – no matter their age – would be roughly $23,000 in debt.
A number of health-care staff from across the region were also part of the pre-budget events. They were rallying against proposed health-care cuts, one of the many fields that have heard talk of wide-spread funding cuts, and we’re advocating against the possibility.
The pre-budget meetings included three representatives from the provincial NDP party, as well as representation from the City of Kenora, the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, Firefly, Resolute, Domtar, the Dryden Regional Health Centre, and much more.
For more information:
NDP wants north’s needs addressed
NWO health-care workers rally in Dryden