Ontario Liberals pass budget bill, finally
Budget passes by 56-37 vote more than 2 months after Liberals first introduced it
Ontario's governing Liberals used their newfound majority status to get their long-awaited budget passed at Queens’s Park today.
It passed on Thursday by a vote of 56-37. The Liberals voted in favour of it, while both opposition parties voted against it.
The Liberals had recently reintroduced the same $130.4-billion budget that spurred an election at the start of May.
The June 12 election turned the minority Liberals into a majority government.
That abrupt change in fortune spurred one Liberal MPP to yell "thanks for the election," during the vote on Thursday.
The Liberals had called an election after the New Democrats made it clear they would not support the budget. It was not going to be able to pass at that point because the Progressive Conservatives had also said they would vote against it.
The electionthat followed saw the Progressive Conservatives lose seats, while the New Democrats came away with the same seat total they had previously.
The opposition remain critical of the budget with the Tories warning that it will lead to a credit-rating downgrade and the New Democrats saying that its promises mask public-sector job cuts that are going to come at some point.
On Thursday afternoon, Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke to the media about the budget finally being passed.
"We're off to a strong start and we will deliver what we have committed to," said Wynne, who reiterated her government's intent to balance its books by 2017-18.
The budget that was passed will see the province spend $12.5 billion more than it takes in.
Thursday marked the end of the current summer session at the legislature, which means MPPs will be heading back to their home ridings.
The members won't return to the legislature until after Thanksgiving.
The premier said all members will have work to do while they are away.
"Make no mistake, this is not an extended vacation that MPPs are going on," Wynne said.
With files from The Canadian Press and the CBC's Genevieve Tomney