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The Ontario budget

Opposition leaders say the Ford government’s budget doesn’t go far enough to help ordinary Ontarians.

The document lays out almost 200-billion dollars in spending on highways, transit projects, and hospital infrastructure.

There will also be a tax break for some seniors and an expansion of tax credits for low-income Ontarians.

The deficit will balloon to almost 20-billion dollars this year and it won’t be down to zero until 2028.

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NDP leader Andrea Horwath says there’s no plan to make life more affordable.

She calls it a signal that deeper cuts are on the way in health care and education.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca says he’s stunned to see that the Ford Conservatives chose to fund highways over schools.

He says Ford has the wrong priorities in place.

Ontario inflation

The Ford government says inflation will ease in 2023.

Predictions contained in the budget calls for a yearly increase of 4.7 percent in prices this year, dropping to 2.5 percent next year, as pressures from the pandemic and supply chain problems begin to ease.

Currently, Canada’s inflation rate sits at a 31-year high of 6.7 percent as of March while in Ontario, the rate is seven percent.

However, Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy says rising interest rates could threaten the province’s economic recovery.

Russia-Ukraine update

Ukrainian officials say they hope to evacuate about one-thousand civilians, holed up with about two-thousand Ukrainian soldiers still holding out in the southern port city of Mariupol (MAH-ree-uh-poll).

It would be part of a larger evacuation of civilians from the devastated city.

During a visit to Ukraine yesterday, U-N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Ukraine and Russia to allow civilians out of the city.

Ottawa rally and the police

Ottawa police say they’re ready to deal with any situation, as participants in a motorcycle convoy plan to arrive in the nation’s capital today.

As many as 500 bikes, and about one-thousand people, are thought to be participating, with several events planned in the capital over the weekend.

Hundreds of police officers from other forces have been called in to assist, and an exclusion zone has been set up around Parliament Hill to prevent a repeat of the truckers’ occupation earlier this year.

City bylaw officers will also be present in force, to hand out tickets for any infractions.

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