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Protesters demand Queen’s Park stop public service cuts

Posted: February 1, 2016

(February 1, 2016)

By: Dario Balca, CTV Toronto

Cries about insufficient funding echoed across the lawn of Queen’s Park Monday as more than a hundred people gathered to make their voices heard ahead of pre-budget consultations.

The crowd was made up of healthcare workers, union leaders and student groups demanding that the Ontario government stop the cuts and reinvest much-needed money, especially when it comes to healthcare.

“We’ve dropped to the bottom of the country in terms of these services and regular Ontarians are having to pay, from child care to housing…all the public services that actually provide us decent standard of living,” said Natalie Mehra of the Ontario Health Coalition.

Labour advocates said cuts are affecting every aspect of the province’s economy.

“If you look around this province…healthcare is being gutted, education is being attacked, manufacturing is being attacked — every sector of the Ontario economy is under attack,” said Chris Buckley of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

The province is currently holding pre-budget hearings during which it hears suggestions from a variety of stakeholders on how it should spend or save money.

Beverly Mathers, a spokesperson for the Ontario Nurses Association, had a chance to address the standing committee on Monday.

“Our hospitals are struggling to keep up with the cost of inflation and population growth in the context of four years of frozen base operating funding,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation suggested the government continue with the partial sale of Hydro One to end what it calls the mismanagement of the company.

“We recommend that the sale…allow private sector expertise to control the management of the company, said federation representative Christine Van Geyn, adding that the revenue from the sale should be used to pay off some of the province’s debt.

The government’s total budget is $130 billion for 2016.

Pre-budget consultations will continue on Tuesday.

With a report from CTV Toronto’s John Musselman

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