Consultations with Ontario communities about prioritizing tax dollars have seen surprisingly high demands for help from food banks and homeless shelters, according to Ontario PC finance critic Vic Fedeli.
The MPP for Nipissing was in Windsor Tuesday for the provincial government's pre-budget consultations.
Fedeli stressed the need for the province to "stop the spending" in order to eliminate a deficit that is still projected to exceed $7 billion and to start putting a dent in the overall debt that is expected to reach $300 billion this year.
"Ontario is not the picture that the government paints. We're in a lot of trouble here," Fedeli said of the struggles among social-service groups. "I was very disturbed by the number of people who've come out from food banks, and homeless shelters and social-planning councils."
Despite Fedeli's criticisms, provincial Finance Minister Charles Sousa maintains the Liberal government will remove the deficit by 2017-2018. To get there, he plans to focus on economic growth and jobs over the next year.
Fedeli isn't optimistic groups speaking during pre-budget consultation will have their concerns addressed by the provincial government.
"We'll summarize this, put it in a study and then they'll ignore it," he said.