The Ford government’s second budget will be tabled on March 25 by Finance Minister Rod Phillips. Phillips said Ontario remains on track to balance the budget by 2023.
Ontario has seen growth in the economy and growth in tax revenues that were higher than anticipated. In its third-quarter finances, the province announced revenue for this fiscal year is on track to be $3.1 billion higher than the 2019 budget projection, $2.5 billion of which is going toward higher-than-anticipated program spending with the lion’s share of that — $1.6 billion — going to higher-than-anticipated electricity bill subsidies.
Federal Conservative Leadership Race – Kenney endorses O’Toole
The Conservative leadership race getting more competitive. This week Alberta Premier Jason Kenney endorsed Ontario MP Erin O’Toole is a big one. Undoubtedly, it is the most influential endorsement yet awarded to anyone in this campaign. It gives O’Toole something he needs: credibility as a serious contender.
To date, the endorsements have not been particularly impressive for O’Toole. As of Friday morning, he had the endorsement of just eight MPs, two former MPs and one Ontario MPP. By comparison, Peter MacKay had racked up 27 MP endorsements, including a number from Conservatives with a long history of electoral success. He also has the backing of two senators, 10 former MPs, four Ontario MPPs, the leader of the Nova Scotia PCs and a number of former provincial legislators.
A recent Léger poll suggested the same thing. Among Conservative voters (not necessarily members, so the numbers can only say so much) MacKay had the support of 38 per cent, more than four times O’Toole’s score of nine per cent. This advantage appears to extend to fundraising. MacKay’s campaign announced this week it had raised $1 million, while O’Toole only became a “verified candidate” (which requires submitting $300,000 in entry fees and refundable deposits to the party) on Wednesday.
Ontario Liberals elect Steven Del Duca as leader
Steven Del Duca easily won the Ontario Liberal Party leadership on the first ballot. Del Duca won with just under 59 per cent of the vote on the first ballot, and beat out MPP Michael Coteau, former candidate Kate Graham, MPP Mitzie Hunter, former candidate Alvin Tedjo and political newcomer Brenda Hollingsworth. The former cabinet minister was supported by a majority of delegates on the first ballot at the party’s convention Saturday, winning a resounding victory in which his organizational and fundraising skills dominated the field.
The new Liberal leader was cheered by thousands of party faithful after his resounding win, as he celebrated onstage with his wife and two children. “We will accomplish a great deal together…on to victory,” he said in his unifying victory speech to the Grits, an effort to rally the troops beyond the leadership contest. He’ll attend question period on Monday, but will have to watch from the visitors’ benches for now.
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