Ont. Liberals unveil platform, focus on education
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty smiles as he releases the Liberal party platform at an event in Toronto on Monday Sept. 5, 2011. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, September 5, 2011 5:47PM EDT
Ontario's governing Liberals unveiled their party platform on Monday, promising grants for tuition fees, tax credits to help immigrants and all-day commuter trains if the party is re-elected Oct. 6.
Leader Dalton McGuinty, speaking in Toronto, called the platform a "product of deep reflection and careful planning, the steady hand of experience and fresh voice of youth."
The party is promising a 30 per cent grant for undergraduate tuition fees that will apply to families with incomes under $160,000. The grant will apply for about 86 per cent of the 90,000 full-time post-secondary students in Ontario's post-secondary education system.
Grants of $1,600 for each university student and $730 for each college student will begin Jan. 1, McGuinty says.
The money will go to the colleges and universities which will be required to lower the tuition bill for each student. The plan will cost taxpayers $200 million during the first year, growing to $486 million annually by 2015-16.
The party also promised to create 60,000 university spaces at three new campuses.
The Liberals also plan to expand Go trains to all-day service from early morning to midnight. However, it will take a decade for this to happen, since new tracks need to be laid.
A new plan to spend $12 million on employer tax credits is also in the works. The tax credit will go to employers who hire immigrants for their first job in Canada. New Canadians who have been in the country for a maximum of five years will be eligible.
McGuinty also promised another $60 million in funding for more support workers. The funding will enable support workers to provide seniors with three million more hours of care annually.
Other key Liberal promises:
• Province-wide full-day kindergarten by 2014
• Home renovation tax credit for seniors
• Creating 50,000 new clean-energy jobs
• Reducing electricity bills by 10 per cent
• Bring in an after-school program for six-to 12-year-olds at all schools
• Reduce taxes on small businesses to 4.5 per cent from five per cent
• Reduce the size of the public service and find $500 million in savings
• Combat contraband cigarettes and raise finds for the sale of tobacco to minors to the highest in Canada
• Reduce childhood obesity by 20 per cent
• Expand the Greenbelt by working with municipalities
• Institute a Great Lakes Protection Act and a fund to clean up the toxic area of lakes and beaches
If Ontario's Tories form the government in the fall vote, Conservatives would lead in all three levels of government in Ontario.
With files from The Canadian Press