Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday March 23, 2023
Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives will table a provincial budget Thursday that is expected to eclipse the $200-billion mark for first time in Ontario history.
Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, who will unveil his fiscal blueprint at 4 p.m. in the Ontario legislature, said it would be “a plan that will support families, support workers, support businesses today while laying a strong fiscal foundation for future generations.”
It is expected to include new investments in health care — thanks to the recent federal infusion of additional transfer payments — as well for training and education programs.
On Wednesday, Bethlenfalvy said the budget would include some $780 million in tax breaks for manufacturers over the next three years to encourage companies to invest in new buildings, machinery and equipment. (The Toronto Star)
Meanwhile, Doug Ford says an environmental study the federal government is reportedly planning on launching shouldn’t slow down work to develop housing on lands the province recently removed from the Greenbelt.
Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has previously voiced concerns about Ford removing about 7,400 acres from 15 different areas in the protected Greenbelt lands, while adding more parcels elsewhere, in order to build 50,000 homes.
The Toronto Star reports today that Guilbeault is set to announce he is launching a study to assess the biodiversity, ecological connectivity and other natural features in Rouge National Urban Park, which is next to part of the Greenbelt lands earmarked for housing.
Ford says he was not given a head’s up on the announcement by Guilbeault’s office, but he is “not too concerned about it” because the park is adjacent to land set to be developed, not part of it.
Ontario’s auditor general is conducting a value-for-money audit of the financial and environmental implications of the Greenbelt development plans, which are part of the government’s efforts to get 1.5 million homes built in 10 years.
The province’s integrity commissioner is also investigating a complaint from the incoming NDP leader into what she calls the “curious timing of recent purchases of Greenbelt land by powerful landowners with donor and political ties to the Ontario PC Party.” (CTV)
From sketch to finish, see the current way Graeme completes an editorial cartoon using an iPencil, the Procreate app, and a couple of cheats on an iPad Pro …