Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 28/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Ontario residents will pay more to fill up their gas tanks, heat their homes, smoke and drink wine while most students will be able to go to college free.
The measures are in the Liberal government’s budget that will push gasoline prices up by about 4.3 cents a liter (16 cents a U.S. gallon) on Jan. 1 and natural gas bills by $5 a month in a “cap-and-trade” plan.
The program is described as a “government-mandated, market-based approach to controlling pollution by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants.”
The budget, projecting a $5.7 billion deficit, will provide free tuition to university and college students whose families have incomes of $50,000 or less. Those with up to $83,000 will receive “non-repayable grants.”
There’s a $3 increase in taxes for a carton of 200 cigarettes and a higher mark up in wine prices.
Hospitals will receive $345 million in additional funding and low-income seniors will be eligible for less expensive prescription drugs.