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As Ontario MPPs return to Queen’s Park here are 4 things to watch pre-election


Ontario’s politicians are set to return to Queen’s Park for the final legislative sitting before the Spring election, which could likely serve as a preview for their upcoming election campaigns.

Here are a few key issues to watch out for:


Even if the Ottawa occupation is resolved before the legislature returns, Premier Doug Ford could face tough questions about the province’s actions during the early days of the truck convoy demonstrations, which evolved into an illegal occupation.

The NDP and Ontario Liberals have repeatedly called into question the premier’s leadership, and his choice to go snowmobiling, as the city pleaded for help from multiple levels of government.

The Ford government, meanwhile, will table legislation that will make it illegal to prevent the flow of goods on international border crossings, block the 400-series highways and other critical infrastructure such as hospitals and airports.

Here too, the government could face criticism for not passing two pieces of legislation – including one tabled by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath – that would create safety zones around hospitals and prevent the harassment of public health-care workers.


The high cost of living in Ontario – from gasoline to groceries – will likely become a key pre-election issue as parties pitch their ideas for how to make life more affordable in this province.

Last November, Ford promised to follow through on a key election promise to cut the provincial portion of the gasoline tax by 5.7 cents per litre before the budget is tabled by his finance minister.

Cutting the tax, however, would leave municipalities with a multi-million dollar transit funding shortfall, as a significant portion of the gas tax is sent to municipalities.

This year, 107 municipalities received $375 million in total funding from the gas tax, $185 million of which went to the City of Toronto.


The Ford government is also expected to table new legislation to deal with the low supply and high cost of housing – which one real estate brokerage estimates will reach an aggregate cost of $1.2 million in 2022.

Earlier in February, the government received 55 recommendations from a housing task force to increase density in residential neighbourhoods, while limiting consultations and appeals, with a goal of building 1.5 million homes over the next decade.


The crescendo of the legislative session will come when Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy tables the 2022-23 Ontario budget, which will also serve as the Progressive Conservative platform to the June election.

The province’s budget deficit now stands at $13.1 billion, a dramatic decrease from the $38.5 billion budget deficit the government ran at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget will likely reveal more financial details about key pre-election promises such as eliminating the fees for licence plate renewals, removing tolls from Durham-area highways and potential income tax breaks that the PC party pledged in 2018. Top Stories

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