Ontario Liberals' deficit elimination plan off track, PCs say

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives say they've found proof the Liberals are not on pace to balance the budget in 2017-18.

Ontario's Progressive Conservatives are accusing Premier Kathleen Wynne of lying about the state of the province's finances.

The PCs say cabinet documents released to a committee show finance ministry officials warned the government it was not on track to balance the budget by 2017-18, but Wynne told the public the opposite.

Opposition Leader Tim Hudak says there's no way the Liberals can eliminate the $11.7 billion deficit on schedule.

Hudak says people must decide whether to believe the senior finance officials who crunched the numbers or the Liberals who he insists "have a habit of lying to taxpayers."

The Conservatives say the documents show the Liberals were $3.6 billion short of their deficit reduction targets for the current and next fiscal years, a figure they say has now grown to $4.5 billion.

The Liberals say Finance Minister Charles Sousa admitted in the fall economic statement that revenues were below expectations, but the province remains on pace to balance the budget by 2017-18.

The documents also show the Liberals were counting on revenue from a Toronto casino, a project that met stiff local opposition and never got off the ground, and an expected savings of $239 million from the divestment of Ontario Northland Transportation Corporation, which in fact would cost the government $790 million.

With files from The Canadian Press