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MPP Vic Fedeli and Finance Minister Charles Sousa spar at Queen’s Park ahead of the budget release

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Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is coming after Finance Minister Charles Sousa in the lead up to the provincial budget being released on Thursday. Fedeli rose in the legislature at Queen’s Park yesterday and pressed Sousa about a letter he wrote to him about Northern Ontario with four budget recommendations. The four recommendations were to end the hydro crisis, make cap-and-trade revenue neutral, save rural schools and take action on the growing debt.

Fedeli says interest payments on that debt are crowding out the services people in Northern Ontario depend on. He told Sousa the government has cut staff at the hospitals in Atikokan, Espanola, Lake of the Woods, Temiskaming, the Sault, Thunder Bay, Timmins, and more. Fedeli added the almost 400 front line health care workers they’ve cut in North Bay, including 100 nurses, is having a severe impact on patient’s health care. Fedeli finished by asking if Sousa will commit to immediately paying down the province’s debt, lay out a long-term debt plan, and stop trying to balance your budget on the backs of patients in Northern hospitals.

In response, Sousa says the P-C’s have said they don’t want to see investments in hospitals and schools, and instead are looking to make massive cuts in the education and healthcare fields. Sousa says on the Liberal side of the house, they don’t believe in that approach. He says the Liberals have taken a balanced approach in investing to stimulate growth, and to invest in programs that Ontarians care for and rely upon. Sousa finished by saying the Liberals are committed to balancing the books for the province and would have more to say come Thursday.

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