Horwath holds the power in Ontario budget debate

Ontario's New Democrats have been given a deadline of next Thursday to decide whether they'll support the budget or force a provincial election in June.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath is scheduled to make her first public comments on the $130-billion budget Friday morning.

The Progressive Conservatives vowed to defeat the document weeks ago and Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod told CFRA it's time for Horwath to take a stand.

"It's very important that, I think, Andrea Horwath does her job," said MacLeod. "I was quite taken aback that she wasn't prepared yesterday, after we've known for well over a month what was going to be contained in the budget - not only from the budget leaks, but also the government announcements that had led up to yesterday."

"She, in the last month, has walked out of Question Period, not doing her job there. She didn't show up for the budget lock up and yesterday during the first confidence motion, she abstained," MacLeod continued. "Ontarians are looking for leadership at a time where we have hundreds of thousands of people out of work, higher than ever taxes and hydro bills that are making it very difficult for families and seniors to pay, not to mention businesses across the province."

Ottawa Centre MPP and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Yasir Naqvi told CFRA he believes the budget is very generous, especially for Ottawa residents.

He pointed to job creating initiatives, like building on Cisco and Ericsson in Ottawa, money set aside to help the city with the light rail project and money for a project that will help clean up the Ottawa River.

The budget has been given the stamp of approval of major groups like Unifor and the Ontario Federation of Labour and Naqvi said he hoped Horwath would listen to Ontarians.

"I really hope that she looks at this budget and sees what it means for Ontarians," he said. "When you have things like a focus on creating jobs, when you see things like focusing on workers like our personal support workers and child-care workers, when you look at initiatives like creating an Ontario retirement pension plan that will help 70 per cent of Ontarians who do not have a work place pension, this is a budget worth supporting."

The 2014 budget hikes spending by $3-billion but imposes few tax increases.

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