Newspaper article The Canadian Press

McGuinty to Businesses: Do Your Part to Create Jobs and Grow Economy: McGuinty to Lay Groundwork for Austerity

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

McGuinty to Businesses: Do Your Part to Create Jobs and Grow Economy: McGuinty to Lay Groundwork for Austerity

Article excerpt

TORONTO - Premier Dalton McGuinty will lay the groundwork for his cash-strapped government's austerity plans in a major speech Tuesday, while the province braces for the actual cost-cutting blueprint from his advisor Don Drummond next month.

McGuinty's speech to the Canadian Club of Toronto will make a direct link between the need to stay on track to slay the province's $16-billion deficit and the need to grow the economy and create private-sector jobs, said a senior government source.

The premier won't go into specifics about what kinds of cuts may be looming on the horizon, but he will talk about new steps that will be taken to reduce the red ink and why it's critical to stay on target to eliminate the deficit altogether by 2017-18, the source said.

McGuinty will urge businesses to do their part by investing again in the province and creating jobs now that his Liberals have helped lower their costs by cutting the corporate tax rate to 11.5 per cent and streamlining the tax system with the HST.

Health Minister Deb Matthews will follow the premier's lead next week by talking about the goals and targets she has for reforming the health-care system, the source said. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan will also talk about reining in government spending, but again, there'll be no specifics.

Drummond, a former TD economist and federal finance official, has publicly mused about having fewer Caesarean sections and hysterectomies performed in Ontario, as well as removing arthroscopic knee surgery from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.

But the source said Matthews won't delve into specifics and will instead talk about making the health system more integrated between hospitals and community-based care.

Drummond isn't expected to release his report until mid-February, about a month before the provincial budget. But he's already warned that he'll make some difficult and unpopular recommendations for the province's public services.

Some ministries may be facing spending cuts as deep as 30 per cent as the province struggles to staunch the flow of red ink while capping increases in health and education at three per cent a year. …

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