John Tory, Charles Sousa split on what federal budget means for Toronto, Ontario
John Tory praises Conservative budget, while Charles Sousa criticizes it
Joe Oliver's federal budget elicited two stark reactions in Toronto on Tuesday.
While Ontario's finance minister Charles Sousa criticized the Conservative's federal budget at Queen's Park, Toronto mayor John Tory had nothing but praise for this year's budget downtown at City Hall.
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"In today's budget, the federal government committed to establishing a dedicated fund for investing in public transportation," said Tory. "I believe this is a major step forward for Canada and for Toronto."
Tory was speaking of a permanent national fund for transit that he said will soon provide $1-billion annually for transit projects.
"As I said in the last election campaign, transit and traffic congestion are the single biggest issues facing Toronto and Canada's other municipalities," Tory said.
"Transit is now a key priority for the federal government. This is good news for Toronto and for cities across Canada."
Tory said he thinks his Smart Track plan — which proposes new transit on existing rail lines in Toronto — would qualify for the transit fund. "At the earliest opportunity we will be putting Smart Track forward for funding consideration under this new fund," he said, calling it his "top transit priority."
Sousa, on the other hand, said Oliver's budget amounts to "crumbs" for Ontario.
He also criticized Oliver and the Conservatives for spending the proceeds of a sale of GM shares in 2013. The federal government sold 20 million shares of the auto company, which along with the Ontario government's sale of 10 million shares, netted a total of $1.1 billion.
Sousa questioned why the government didn't spend that money directly on capital projects.