Virtual town halls should not replace Finance hearings: Barrett

For immediate release:
February 1, 2012

Simcoe – After eight years of sitting on the Finance Committee, I have been replaced by pre-budget telephone calls.

That from Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett following political gamesmanship that has kicked Ontario’s all-party Finance Committee, and its pre-budget hearings, to the curb.

“I’ve been replaced by partisan phone banks and ‘virtual’ town halls,” stated Barrett. “Nothing can take the place of across the province, face-to-face hearings where people can make deputations with respect to the coming budget.”

Instead of the traditional eight-member Finance Committee directly hearing from the people, government has set up ‘virtual’ telephone town halls to hear, according to the ministry website: “Ontarians’ views regarding what more the government can do to create jobs and improve services for people, while eliminating the deficit.”

Barrett noted that if government really wanted to hear from people they should not have eliminated the all-party Finance Committee pre-budget consultations.

Opposition Leader Tim Hudak has made a number of proposals to help kick-start the economic turnaround this province so desperately needs. Hudak has repeatedly called for a public sector wage freeze, outsourcing, as well as arbitration and apprenticeship reform.

“I guess it should come as no surprise that a government out of touch with reality would replace real consultation with virtual reality,” concluded Barrett.
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For more information please contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446, 416-325-8404 or 1-800-903-8629