Education, financial services, clean water and mining will form the basis of what the Liberals are calling an ambitious five-year plan to dig the province out of a record deficit, which will be outlined in Ontario’s throne speech today.
But the speech won’t provide any details about possible plans to maximize government assets such as the Liquor Control Board of Ontario or Hydro One, despite speculation the government is looking at a range of options that include bundling several assets into a kind of super corporation and selling off shares.
“Our speech from the throne will focus on growing our economy,” said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who Friday stressed no asset sales will be announced in today’s speech or in the budget.
“Growing our economy requires that Ontario be open to change, open to new opportunities.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty outlined some of those key priorities at a Liberal fundraiser last week, when he announced a plan called Open Ontario, described as not for “the faint of heart.”
The government hasn’t ruled out possible asset sales and is looking at options that range from privatization of Crown corporations to selling off transmission lines or leasing nuclear plants.
But Duncan insists he won’t rush into anything to pay off the province’s record $24.7-billion deficit.