Ottawa mayor Jim Watson and local Liberal MPPs gathered at the Bytown Museum Friday morning to sing the praises of the recently-passed provincial budget.
left to right: Ottawa-Orleans MPP Marie-France Lalonde, Ottawa West-Nepean MPP Bob Chiarelli, Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi, Mayor Jim Watson, Ottawa South MPP John Fraser
The Liberal plan includes funding for the next phase of the light rail project and a $2.5-billion dollar jobs and prosperity fund designed to draw investment and economic growth. There is also $295-million set aside for a youth job strategy.
Mr. Watson called the budget “good news for Ottawa,” saying he was pleased the government has committed to strong investments in the capital.
Former mayor Bob Chiarelli, now MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean said light rail funding was a key priority.
“Investments in transit will help grow our city, create jobs, cut gridlock and keep our families moving,” he said in a statement.
Ottawa South MPP John Fraser called the budget “fair and balanced while investing in the things that are important to Ottawa families,” adding the jobs and prosperity fund will create “well-paying jobs.”
Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod, Progressive Conservative treasury board critic, said she thinks Mr. Watson should reach out to her, Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren, and municipal affairs critic Ernie Hardeman as well, saying dialogue on local issues should be with all elected representatives of the area.
She said she can’t blame the mayor for looking for provincial money for projects and said they are projects that she supports in principle - just not right now.
“I do blame the provincial government for spending beyond its means and mortgaging the next generation’s future on projects it can’t afford at this time,” she said.
Ms. MacLeod pointed to the aviation fuel tax and the Ontario Pension Plan as things that she says will “catastrophic effects on the business climate in Ontario.”