TORONTO Feb 19 Ontario's Liberal government
with its newly minted female premier pledged on Tuesday to work
with its opposition parties to bring its spending under control.
Ontario, Canada's richest province, kicked off its new
legislative session with a traditional speech from the throne
that outlined the priorities of Premier Kathleen Wynne's
government that could soon face a vote of confidence.
"For the benefit of the entire province, your government
intends to work with opposition parties, in a spirit of renewed
cooperation, to get the people's business done," said
lieutenant-governor David Onley in a ceremonial speech.
"It does not believe that we are irreparably divided."
Wynn became the first female premier and first openly gay
leader of a Canadian province in January, replacing Dalton
McGuinty who stepped down amid controversy over costly
cancellations of two natural gas power plants and battles to
freeze teacher wages.
Canada's four most powerful provinces are led by women.
British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec have female premiers, while
women are also at the helm in Newfoundland and Labrador and in
the thinly populated Arctic territory of Nunavut.
In the speech, the government reiterated its pledge to
restrain spending and eliminate the deficit by 2017-2018.
"And after that, it will restrict overall spending increases
to one per cent below GDP growth until the province's
debt-to-GDP ratio returns to the pre-recession level of 27 per
cent," Onley said.
Ontario will continue to promote renewable energy and work
to end coal-fired energy generation in the province.
The center-left Liberals have been in power for nine years
in Ontario, Canada's most populous province and home to most of
Canada's banks and a large part of its manufacturing sector. But
the party lost seats in the 2011 provincial election and needs
support from at least one other party to stay in power.
The left-leaning New Democrats are the natural ally for
Wynne, who has a reputation for seeking compromise and is viewed
as being to the left of other Ontario Liberals.
The Liberals are facing a C$12 billion ($12 billion) budget
deficit. They have vowed to curb growth in spending, as modest
economic growth hurts revenues, and say it will take five more
years to balance the budget.
Ontario accounts for roughly 40 percent of Canadian gross
domestic product and is among the largest sub-national borrowers
in the world, issuing bonds worth nearly C$35 billion in 2012.