In response to the Liberal budget tabled Thursday, Catherine Fife, the NDP MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo, says it was simply an exercise in appealing to certain key groups, and dressing up old funding announcements as new ones.
"This budget essentially threw everything that they could to buy certain groups off and I think the people of this province are smarter than that," said Fife on Friday morning, just after NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced she wouldn't support the budget.
'I think there's a lack of trust and, quite honestly, a lack of competency to fulfill some of the goals of the budget' - Catherine Fife, NDP MPP for Kitchener-Waterloo
"If you go through the budget line by line you see a lot of re-announcements, nine years of announcements that have lapsed, and re-announcements," she added. "I think that we've seen the Liberals show a genuine lack of respect for people in this province and for the money that comes into Queen's Park."
Horwath's announcement means Ontarians are almost certainly heading the polls this spring, as the Liberals don't have the majority needed in the legislature to pass their budget without support from either the NDP or the Progressive Conservatives.
Fife says a number of regional residents are telling her they support her party's move.
"They're thanking me for not supporting it, they don't trust the Liberals, they don't have confidence that they can follow through on any kind of mandate and they're looking forward to sending representatives to Queen's Park who understand the real priorities of Ontarians," said Fife. "I think there's a lack of trust and, quite honestly, a lack of competency to fulfill some of the goals of the budget."
'I'm very disappointed. There were a lot of good things in the budget for the people of Waterloo Region.' - John Milloy, Kitchener-Centre Liberal MPP
In response to the NDP's decision, Kitchener-Centre Liberal MPP John Milloy said he could not understand why the NDP would not back the budget, especially when it offered many items which would address the shared values and concerns of the two parties.
"I’m very disappointed. There were a lot of good things in the budget for the people of Waterloo Region,” said Milloy. “Over the last ten years, we have transformed our health care system, we’ve transformed the education system, there are real dollars in this budget for some very significant transportation infrastructure programs, some of which will benefit this community directly, and I’m not sure how Catherine Fife can vote against that.”
One of the key planks of the Liberal budget is a $29 billion investment in public transit and transportation infrastructure, a fund that would provide all-day, two-way GO service between Kitchener and Toronto, and see that line electrified.
Currently there are four trains a day between Kitchener and Waterloo, and the Liberals have announced that will double to eight a day by 2016.
"We've made it very clear that the two-way, all-day GO service is a priority for us. We see it not only as a major transportation and infrastructure project, but it is also a job creator and we've connected to our economic strategy which will be comprehensive when our platform does come out," said Fife.