Ontario budget translations began before public consultations were over
Pages deliver the Ontario 2016 budget to MPPs at Queen's Park in Toronto on Thursday, February 25, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, March 21, 2016 2:30PM EDT
TORONTO -- Ontario's 2016 budget was sent to translators before public consultations were finished -- which the opposition parties say is proof the process of seeking input was really a "sham" and a "charade."
The Feb. 25 budget came significantly earlier than any budget in recent memory, with the previous three introduced in April or May.
That meant that when the Liberal government's public consultations wrapped up at the end of January, only a few weeks were left until the budget was tabled in the legislature.
The Ministry of Finance says that the initial translation of preliminary budget drafts began on Jan. 27 this year, with the final version sent to the printers on Feb. 20.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa says sections based on figures from Statistics Canada and global economic conditions are already "embedded" and that nothing was finalized until after the consultations were complete.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says the initial translation date shows the consultations were a "sham," and that the Liberals "had no intention of listening to what anybody had to say."
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown says those consultations cost money to run, and they shouldn't be a "charade."
The legislature's all-party finance committee, which heard pre-budget submissions from people across the province, is still in the process of completing its report.