Liberal insiders envision budget that shifts funding away from child care and dependent children

Liberal sources say they are readying a budget that defies expectations — one that shifts funding away from child care and dependent children to core government services, including housing, child care, education and the…

Liberal insiders envision budget that shifts funding away from child care and dependent children

Liberal sources say they are readying a budget that defies expectations — one that shifts funding away from child care and dependent children to core government services, including housing, child care, education and the opioid crisis.

But at the same time, the Liberals are calculating that they need to borrow money and borrow time to try to rebuild confidence after eliminating Ontario’s deficit, the insiders say.

They note that the province’s political leaders must answer to voters as the Liberals struggle to put a comfortable financial position, specifically its deficit, behind them. Some Liberals are keen to stress that their first budget in eight years will put more money for the priorities of the electorate, their political base, saying that the opponents will seize on increases for health care and school building without focusing on the poorer areas of the province.

Their budget must therefore also include more money for housing and child care, which Liberal insiders say was one of the chief differentiating issues between them and Doug Ford, the Progressive Conservative leader who has said he would get rid of the provincial Liberal government in the June election.

“There is a balance between meeting the growing need and your core priorities and funding those things that relate to health care and education,” said one Liberal insider. “But that can’t mean doing nothing with the additional money.”

Liberal insiders say another key distinction to look for is the contrast between Ontario’s Liberal government and the Progressive Conservatives’ plan to phase out post-secondary tuition fees.

“Here is one area where Doug Ford wants to cut spending,” one Liberal insider said. “The other side of the spectrum is saying we’re going to spend the money we need to spend.”

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