Insisting the chances of a snap election next week are “remote,” Premier Dalton McGuinty says he is working feverishly with the NDP on a deal to pass the minority Liberals’ budget.
“We are in the ballpark. We’re all going to have to give a little,” McGuinty told reporters Tuesday.
Praising NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for working with the government to avert a second election in just six months, the premier said he was “disappointed” Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has refused to participate in budget negotiations to keep the government afloat.
McGuinty noted Ontarians do not want “an unnecessary, expensive election” that could cost $100 million.
Still, he remained reluctant to embrace Horwath’s package of demands, which he said would add $1 billion to a deficit that sits at $15.2 billion.
The New Democrats want a wealth surtax on incomes over $500,000 a year to pay for a cut on the 8 per cent provincial portion on the 13 per cent harmonized sales tax, save 4,000 daycare spaces, and give a 1 per cent increase in disability benefits.
In the 107-member House, there are 52 Liberal MPPs — excluding Speaker Dave Levac — and 37 Tories and 17 New Democrats.
That means the Grits need at least two opposition members to vote with them next Tuesday when the budget bill is called.
— Torstar News Service