Some good, some bad: Local politicians react to Ontario budget
A representative with the Bank of Canada displays the polymer $5 and $10 bank notes alongside the $20, $50, and $100 during a press conference at the Bank of Canada in Ottawa on April 30, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Shannon Bradbury, CTV Kitchener
Published Thursday, April 11, 2019 7:47PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 11, 2019 7:49PM EDT
The Ontario PC Government announced its first budget since winning a majority.
The purse strings have tightened but it’s also happy hour. The budget includes sweeping alcohol reforms.
There will be loosened alcohol rules expected to take effect by the summer, including earlier drinking hours and alcohol in corner stores.
“I think that’s an area we are going to want to take a closer look at and work with our community public safety partners like Waterloo Regional Police or bylaw officers,” says Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic.
He adds that, when exemptions were given for particular events in the past, they have been well received.
Money promised for transit services is one focus local municipalities will be navigating.
“It’s disappointing they’re not going to give us the gas tax increase that certainly would have helped when we invested in transit and infrastructure. We’re hopeful there will be something outside that area but those details are yet to be seen,” says Karen Redman, regional chair.
Both Vrbanovic and Redman agree saying they are very interested in two way all day services with GO Transit.
“There’s a number of positive things in the budget such as the Southwest Transportation Plan promised for the Fall 2019,” Vrbanovic says.
Redman, meanwhile, says she's would have liked to see some commitment on two-way, all-day GO.
They’re still sifting through numbers but the regional chair expressed concerns about health care spending and the consolidation of the Local Health Integration Networks.
The Province plans to cut 35 Public Health Units and create 10 regional bodies by 2021.
“I think one of the biggest things on first blush when we look at the provincial budget is the change of how health care is delivered. We have integrated as a region for water, housing, social services and planning and that’s a very significant change and one that I think will be very unfortunate,” Redman says.
The Region’s finance staff will be analyzing the budget in detail over the coming days and expects to give a report to regional council on April 17.