Ontario Meets With More Than 700 Stakeholders

    McGuinty Government Now Setting Priorities For The 2008 Budget

    QUEEN'S PARK, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has concluded
his annual Pre-Budget Consultations, in a province-wide series of open
discussions between the McGuinty government and the citizens of Ontario.
    "These consultations have given me an opportunity to directly listen to
Ontarians," said Duncan. "I now have the responsibility of setting the
government's priorities as I prepare the 2008 Budget."
    Over the 13 sessions, Duncan met with more than 700 individuals and
organizations. The Ministry of Finance has received more than 400 written and
online submissions.
    During the course of the consultations, certain themes emerged across the
province. There was a universal request for Ontario to press the federal
government to come to the aid of the ailing manufacturing sector as well as
address the significant inequities for Ontario employees by providing more
funding for Employment Insurance.
    Each session also presented unique insight on regional issues. For
instance, cities that rely on traditional manufacturing expressed their
concerns about the effects of a slowing U.S. economy. Others requested funding
to support infrastructure projects.
    "There are challenges ahead and we are committed to remaining disciplined
and prudent fiscal managers," said Duncan. "While meeting our platform
commitments, I am confident that with the input of Ontarians, we can continue
to build our economy and move Ontario forward."
    The Pre-Budget Consultations were kicked off last December in Thunder Bay
and continued with visits to Sudbury, Niagara Falls, Hamilton,
Kitchener-Waterloo, Stratford, Cornwall, Ottawa, Barrie, Windsor, Toronto and
Oak Ridges.

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                 For more information visit www.fin.gov.on.ca

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For further information:

For further information: Steve Erwin, Minister's Office, (416) 325-3645;
Scott Blodgett, Ministry of Finance, (416) 325-0324

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