Horwath says Ford's budget is taking away things from children, the vulnerable, and students

The criticism over Doug Ford's first budget is starting to ramp up.

NDP Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath slammed the PC government's budget for "taking things away from children, vulnerable people, students and those living in rural and northern Ontario."

Horwath says the Ford Conservatives are cutting $1 billion in funding from the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and are slashing close to three-quarters of a billion dollars in funding for post-secondary education in this fiscal year alone, while Ford is also keeping universities and colleges under his thumb with a threat that as much as 60 per cent of their remaining funding could be withheld.

She also says Ford is squeezing health care and education spending so it won’t even keep up with inflation.

“We knew there were going to be deep cuts in this budget — Conservatives don’t believe it’s their job to help you and your family,” said Horwath. “What we didn’t expect was the level of irresponsibility and outright cruelty we’re seeing in this budget. “Instead of investing in the services people count on — like health care and education — Doug Ford is starving them of desperately needed funding. Instead of giving children better schools, Ford is taking their teachers away. And instead of giving students more opportunities, they’re attacking colleges and universities.”

Horwath said among the across-the-board cuts, social services are hit the hardest, with a $1 billion cut, putting everything from support for people living with disabilities to the social safety net everyone counts on in dire risk.

Rural and Northern Ontarians will see Ministry of Agricultural Food and Rural Affairs cut deeply, losing roughly a quarter of its funding. And Ford is hacking funding for the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs in half.

“The Liberals let us down. For 15 years, they starved Ontario’s critical services, driving hallway medicine to a crisis point and ignoring schools until they started to crumble,” said Horwath. “This budget makes clear that Doug Ford’s Conservatives are only going to make things so much worse. We need to invest in the services everyday families count on, not open up our public health care system to for-profit interests and take thousands of teachers out of schools. As the Official Opposition, we are going to stand up for, and with, the millions of Ontarians Doug Ford is dragging in the wrong direction.”