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Treat Hull attacks deficit at Belleville all-candidates’ meeting

Treat Hull, Green Party candidate for Prince Edward – Hastings, delivered the following opening remarks earlier this evening to the Belleville Chamber of Commerce All-Candidates’ Meeting at the Empire Theater:

“As Green Party Candidate for Prince Edward-Hastings I hope to offer the voters in the riding a real choice and a clear alternative that is financially conservative, socially progressive and environmentally responsible.

“All elections are important, but this election is especially important because the province is facing choices which will determine our well-being for decades to come. Some government decisions are easy to change four years later, but other decisions become almost irreversible. I want to speak to one such issue tonight, an issue which in my opinion dwarfs all others, namely the dangerous state of provincial finances.

“To be honest, the Ontario government is living beyond its means and if it continues to do so for 4 more years, the consequences for the province, for business and for voters could be extremely serious.

“In the last four years, the provincial deficit has nearly doubled to an all-time record level, to the point where every employed Ontarian now carries a piece of the provincial deficit equal to $36,000 and climbing.

“Although interest rates are as low they can go with an overnight bank rate of 1%, debt service charges now make up the provincial government’s third largest expense. Healthcare is first, followed by elementary and high school education. Debt service is third, larger than what we spend on colleges and universities.

“It is not a question of IF interest rates will go back to historical levels, but WHEN they will go back to historical levels or beyond, in which case, no matter what government is in office, staggering interest costs will force massive tax increases, large service cuts or both.

“As if this were not concern enough, with every passing day, the risk of recession grows, but Ontario already has its back to the wall financially because of an all-time record deficit..

If a new recession threatens, our swollen deficit means the new government will have very little room to manoever to stimulate the economy without boosting the deficit still further and increasing the risk of a European-style debt crisis.

“Unfortunately, all of the other major parties are committed to another six years of deficit spending. In the name of getting elected, the Liberals, the Conservatives and the NDP are all advancing platform promises tonight that will be paid for with more borrowed money and which will continue to add to our debt.  Despite their other differences, all three parties agree that they won’t even balance the budget until 2017, let alone start to pay down the deficit. Every province in Canada is committed to balancing it budget by 2015, every province except Ontario.

“Just like a household with too much debt, we need to honestly face the facts. Unless we begin to reduce our record debt levels, we will have little or no means to invest in the province’s future,  to stimulate the economy in any future recession, or even to look after those in need in the event of an economic downturn.

“We are collectively in debt over our heads. We face a choice. We can either act now, with care and consideration, to find the ways to balance the budget in the next four years and begin to pay down the deficit. Or we can continue on our current course, the course proposed by the other three major parties, and keep on adding to our collective debt until the roof falls in, as it inevitably will.

“We need to take action NOW to stop the deficit from growing out of control so we can protect our public services and reduce the risk of a European-style debt crisis.

“I hope to offer the voters of Prince Edward-Hasting a financially responsible alternative, an alternative which confronts the deficit issue head on.

Green campaign office above Miss Lily’s Cafe, Picton. Belleville office 59 Dundas East., (noon to 6 p.m.)  Phone for both: 613-476-8700.

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  1. Mark says:

    I agree. Treat Hull is the only candidate that is not dodging the issues or powder overing what he would really do if elected. He has been upfront with real answers to what he would support and not support. The provincial debt is the single most important issue we face and the Liberals and Coservatives neither want to discuss what they would do to control it. Treat warrants an X on Oct.6th.

  2. Doris Lane says:

    Treat is the ony candidate that is worried about the deficit
    .He knows that the province cannot just keep on borrowing money and running up a larger deficit.
    We need to elect Treat for Prince Edward Hastings so that we might have one sane voice in Toronto and with a minority government he will be able to have quite an impact.

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