Question: When is an Ontario Budget not a Budget?
Answer: When, for all intents and purposes, it acts as an election platform and unofficially launches an election campaign.
This afternoon the Honourable Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, delivered what is billed as Ontario’s 2022-2023 Budget; but in reality, it serves as the basis of the Ontario PC Party’s campaign platform. Titled “Ontario’s Plan to Build”, the 241-page document is broken down into five sections (excluding the fiscally-focused chapters):
- Rebuilding Ontario’s Economy
- Working for Workers
- Building Highways and Key Infrastructure
- Keeping Costs Down
- A Plan to Stay Open
This Budget also will not be passed into law…at least not at this time.
With the writ set to be issued next Wednesday (May 4), officially launching the election campaign, there simply is not sufficient time for the legislation implementing this Budget to go through the requisite hours of debate and Legislative Committee hearings for it to pass Third Reading and receive Royal Assent prior to the election.
To be clear, today’s Budget is an important document for the future of Ontario and should be carefully reviewed by those with an interest in the Ontario government or Ontario politics. The main debates about this Budget will take place on the campaign trail. And with current polls showing a strong likelihood that the PC Party will return to power on June 2, today’s Budget – or something modelled on this document (see more about this below) - is likely to be passed at some point.