Ontario budget is 'election' budget, say Windsor leaders

Community leaders in Windsor gathered at CBC Windsor to talk budget.

Charles Sousa unveiled the Ontario budget Thursday afternoon and community leaders react

Community leaders debate budget.

Community leaders gathered at CBC Windsor Wednesday afternoon to take in Finance Minister Charles Sousa's budget announcement.

While there were few surprises due to the leaks in the past few weeks, many of leaders agreed it was what they called an "election budget," including Lydia Miljan, a political science professor at the University of Windsor.

Miljan was critical of the 2014 budget, citing it as "strange" and "frustrating."

"On one hand, they say everything is rosy and we're in a great financial situation," she said. "At the same time, they say we're going to increase our deficit, but don't worry, it's going to be balanced in a couple of years. Lots of promises, really thick on promises, but really thin on the details."

Miljan told CBC News she was also worried with some of the spending increases, namely on infrastructure and transportation.

No stringent measures, no employment standards act and nothing about equity.- Sudip Minhas, director, Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women

"They're trying to position themselves as strong and they'll be in power forever and they're the only people who have the ability to have the foresight and planning."

While the budget included plans for jobs and infrastructure, Sudip Minhas, executive director of Windsor Women Working With Immigrant Women, said she was disappointed there wasn't more language about equity.

"There were no details about our migrant workers especially for the agro industry," she said. "No stringent measures, no employment standards act and nothing about equity."

Minhas did applaud the nod to social services.

"That will help Windsor, especially with its high employment rate," she said.

Business leader gives nod to Ontario budget

Matt Marchand, President of the Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce, said he was excited the province acknowledged power costs, which is an issue the chamber has been trying to highlight.

"It's really refreshing," he said. "Lower power costs translates into more jobs and more competitiveness, not just for Windsor-Essex but Ontario wide.

Marchand also touted the budget for funding more jobs, citing it was the "number one issue" for the chamber and its members.

The NDP are not just going to accept the budget. In fact, they're gearing up for an election.- Lydia Miljan, political science professor, University of Windsor

Just last week, the chamber of commerce released its paper on strategies to double exports and jobs in Windsor-Essex.

"Most Ontario companies don't do a lot of exporting," he said. "Some of the numbers we've seen are in the 5, 6, 7 per cent range of exports. We're heartened by the government's commitment to help export more."

But, Miljan pointed out the bottom line is whether the NDP will support the budget.

"If they don't, it's really up to people in Ontario to decide if they're going to give confidence to the government."

Miljan predicted the NDP would not give their support this time around.

"The NDP are not just going to accept the budget," she said. "In fact, they're gearing up for an election."