Liberal MPPs bring provincial budget to Toronto's doorstep

    TORONTO, April 5 /CNW/ - All Toronto area Liberal MPPs and candidates -
23 in number - answered the question "what's in it for me?" when they
canvassed their ridings across the city this morning to promote the good news
for Ontarians as found in the provincial budget. Liberal MPPs took to the
streets to meet one-on-one with the people of Toronto to discuss how Dalton
McGuinty's balanced budget addresses child poverty, provides new economic
strength and delivers for this city and its residents expanded opportunities.
    "We are addressing child poverty through the new Ontario Child Benefit
which will provide up to $250 for children from low income families," said
George Smitherman, MPP for Toronto Centre. "This investment will provide a
brighter future for families in Toronto who are struggling to make ends meet."
    The OCB will invest $2.1 billion to help nearly 1.3 million children over
the next five years. The Ontario budget also includes an increase in the
minimum wage to $10.25 per hour by 2010.
    "After eight years of Conservative inaction, the McGuinty government has
already increased the minimum wage by 17 per cent and will again raise the
minimum to $10.25 by 2010," said Kathleen Wynne, MPP for Don Valley West. "I'm
very excited about initiatives that are sensitive to the needs of those who
are most vulnerable in our society."
    "The government is supporting affordable housing by providing
municipalities with $125 million for new housing and the rehabilitation of
existing units," said David Caplan, MPP for Don Valley East. "Toronto will
also benefit from its share of the close to $1 billion being invested in
public transit this year."
    This budget also introduces a better property assessment system based on
a four-year cycle. "This new property assessment system will put an end to
unpredictable property tax hikes," said Michael Bryant, MPP for St. Paul's.
"These changes are welcomed by every homeowner in the province."
    "Ontarians recognize that a balanced budget is important for the future
of the province," said Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence. "While the
government was in a position to offer 'candy' as we head into an election in
October, we believe in responsible government that delivers in the short-term
and provides a solid foundation for the future of the province and this great

    Other highlights of Ontario's balanced budget include:

    -   $80 million for off-reserve Aboriginal housing
    -   Over $170 million in savings through income splitting
    -   Addition of pediatric surgeries to the wait time strategy
    -   400,000 children to receive free immunizations
    -   8,000 more nurses providing quality care
    -   $781 million in grants for student needs
    -   $390 million for post-secondary institutions
    -   $4 billion in university operating grants, 40% more than 2003-2004
    -   $540 million cut in business education tax rates
    -   $125 million in immediate investments including funds for 1 million
        trees, $150 for home energy audits
    -   $200 million allocated for future investments targeted to climate

    For more information on how the McGuinty Liberals are delivering real,
positive change that is helping Ontario become strong, healthy and prosperous,

For further information:

For further information: Azmi Haq, (416) 838-2535,

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