The recession and the environment will dominate the spring session of the Ontario legislature that starts tomorrow, as the Liberal government prepares to bring in a deficit budget and a Green Energy Act that it hopes will transform the province’s ailing economy and create 50,000 new jobs.
The impact of the economic crisis on jobs — more than 71,000 were lost in Ontario last month alone — and on government revenues means the Liberals have a major challenge in preparing a budget that will include a multibillion- dollar deficit and efforts to stimulate the economy.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has warned the province will not tolerate objections to the creation of green energy projects such as wind turbines and solar panel farms as he looks to put idled manufacturing plants back on line to create jobs.
“We cannot allow small groups and individual municipalities to stand in the way of our greater public interest in good jobs, cleaner electricity and assuming our responsibility in the face of climate change,” he said.
“What I’m pursuing here is an agenda that will take several budgets to implement. It’ll take a long time to turn this around.”
While the government struggles with massive job losses and dramatically decreased revenues, the Conservatives face a crucial byelection March 5 as leader John Tory seeks a seat in the legislature, and the New Democrats will hold a leadership convention March 7.
Tory will be campaigning full time in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock near Peterborough as the legislature resumes.