Muskoka To-DAILY

Budget ‘leaks’ trial balloons today, says MPP Miller whose father almost resigned

LETTER TO EDITOR:

It is budget season in Ontario again and my how the times have changed.

Parry Sound Muskoka Tory MPP Norm Miller says his late father Frank Miller, who represented this riding and was Ontario treasurer and then premier, was caught in a major budget leak when a reporter found a copy in the printer's trash.

Parry Sound Muskoka Tory MPP Norm Miller says his late father Frank Miller, who represented this riding and was Ontario treasurer and then premier, was caught in a major budget leak when a reporter found a copy in the printing company’s trash.

The official portrait of former Tory premier Frank Miller, who grew up in Gravenhurst and is buried there.

The official portrait of former Tory premier Frank Miller, who grew up in Gravenhurst and is buried there.

I can’t help but think back to the spring of 1983 when a Globe and Mail reporter obtained pre-budget figures from a trash bag outside of a Toronto printing company and published the sensitive information less than a week before the budget was due to be released.

That was when my father Frank Miller was serving his term as Treasurer, as the Minister of Finance was then known (and later Ontario premier), and he seriously considered resigning his post over the fact that the information became public.

Flashing forward to last Tuesday, frustrated government officials leaked a draft of what can be characterized as an election platform-style document that commits at least $5.7 billion in new spending along with an accompanying pre-budget roll-out. The detailed plan is 11-pages long and covers 39 announcements over 27 days leading up to the planned Thursday, May 1st budget date.

What is most interesting to note about the information, perhaps, is that the roll-out amounts to planned leaks, or hints as to what the budget itself will contain.

The 2014 Ontario budget is designed to leak.

The pre-release tidbits were allegedly the work of the specially tasked and aptly named Budget Leak Team. Every year there are contentious sections of a budget and pre-releasing segments is an opportunity to put forward the more popular aspects of a spending plan instead of having the possibility of good news being buried on the day that the entire budget is tabled in the legislature.

Of course, thinking back to when provincial budgets were released before fiscal year end (March 31st), as was customary, seems to be a remnant of the past as well. This year’s isn’t expected out for another month.

As budget season continues to change as time goes on, we in the legislature still eagerly await a plan that will put Ontario back on track to balancing the budget, creating jobs, and returning to our position as the economic engine of Canada.

Norm Miller, MPP

Parry Sound – Muskoka

Short URL: http://www.muskokatodaily.com/?p=18379

Posted by on Apr 8 2014. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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