Ontario Liberals inherit $5.6-billion deficit
Ontario's former Conservative government left the province with a $5.6-billion deficit, a retired provincial auditor said Wednesday.
Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed Erik Peters to examine the books following his Oct. 2 election win over Ernie Eves's Tories.
The report was revealed Wednesday after the markets closed.
The provincial shortfall exceeded earlier estimates, which had been around $2-3 billion.
Peters recommended the Liberal government consider new legislation dealing with fiscal responsibility, including greater transparency in budgets and updates.
When asked if the Tories would have been briefed on the province's financial situation before the March budget, Peters said in the normal course of events, the finance minister would have been informed.
Ontario's Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said the province will not have a balanced budget this year.
"Ontario has a clear and unvarnished understanding of our financial situation," said Sorbara.
The government has no intention of raising taxes to offset the loss, the finance minister said. The premier will outline his plan to tackle the deficit in an address on Thursday, said Sorbara.
He accused the Tories of "misrepresenting" the province's financial situation.
"I think the report suggests they messed up bad," said Sorbara.