Progressive Conservatives loosen Ontario booze, gambling, rules in first budget

Ontario's Tories don't plan to balance books until after election

Ontario Budget 2019 to allow purchase of gambling tickets on smartphones

The emphasis on booze comes as the Tories constrain program spending across the board in an effort to chip away at a deficit that stands at $11.7 billion.

He said at the end of their regime, the Liberals were spending $40 million a day more than they were taking in, provincial debt totalled $24,000 for every man, women and child, and interest payments on debt were $13.3 billion annually, the government's largest expenditure after health care, education and social services.

While that measure has been confirmed by the government, it was not part of the budget plans.

This year's budget lays out the government's plan to introduce legislation to allow for insurance companies to offer better coverage options based on the driver's credit history or by agreeing to use preferred providers for auto fix or health care services. "Our path to balance in five years is a thoughtful and a measured approach to take".

Canada's most populous province and industrial powerhouse is projected to run a deficit of C$10.3 billion ($7.7 billion) in fiscal 2019-20, which began on April 1, including a C$1 billion reserve. Fedeli said the PCs plan to balance the books by 2023-2024.

Ford also cancelled Wynne's $2 billion-a-year cap and trade carbon tax by another name and there are no new taxes, which wouldn't have been the case with the Liberals or NDP. Families are expected to receive around $1,250 a year through the program, which will be made retroactive this year to January 1. It would provide a rebate of up to $8,250 for a child with a severe disability.

POST-SECONDARY CUTS: The Tories plan to cut post-secondary spending by roughly $400 million, from $12.1 billion in 2018-2019 to $11.7 billion in 2021-22. The government said performance outcomes will dictate a higher percentage of how much funding each college or university. The Ontario Hospitals Association had requested a 3.4 per cent increase to help meet increasing needs.

Chevron to buy Anadarko Petroleum in $48 billion mega deal
Chevron's pledge to restrain expenditures has made it a favorite among energy stocks, with its shares up 13.8 percent this year. The transaction will give the second biggest US energy company a boost in shale oil production as well as natural gas.

The government is behind the continuance of the Wataynikaneyap Power and the East-West Tie transmission projects as well as following through its promise to deliver natural gas access to Northern communities and to spend $315 million on improving "shovel-ready" broadband and cell service across Ontario.

The government also stressed that casinos are permitted to serve free alcohol, and the budget makes it clear that they will now be able to advertise that perk. It will apply to those with annual incomes less than $19,300 or couples who earn less than $32,300.

While the PC's plans for auto insurance are in their early stages, if implemented as planned, this series of moderate common sense changes to the confusing and high priced world of auto insurance should result in savings for Ontario drivers.

The government will also let municipalities establish rules about where booze can be consumed in public, such as in some parks.

The province will allow bars, restaurants, and golf courses to start serving alcohol at 9 a.m., seven days a week, and is promising consultations on a further increase in hours of service in the future.

The first fiscal blueprint of the Progressive Conservatives' term contains several measures to loosen rules around alcohol consumption in the province, while also liberalizing certain gambling and combat sport laws. The government says it will also look at ways to lower beer costs at Royal Canadian Legions by this fall.

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