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Ontario to Release Budget in Weeks as Opposition Has Leak

Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said he will release a budget “in the coming weeks” for the fiscal year beginning today after an opposition political party said it had details of the plan.

Sousa made the comment in the provincial legislature in response to questions from the opposition Progressive Conservatives who released documents they claim outline the government’s communications strategy leading up to the budget for Canada’s most populous province.

A Conservative party summary released with the document said the budget will be on May 1 and will include C$5.7 billion ($5.2 billion) in new spending.

Sousa told reporters later he had not set a date for the budget.

Susie Heath, a spokeswoman for Sousa, did not immediately respond to telephone and e-mail requests for confirmation of the documents authenticity and contents.

The 11 pages of documents titled “Pre-Doc Communications Rollout” lists planned public appearances by members of the governing Liberals from March 26 to April 30. They included an appearance by Sousa on April 3 during which he will release a revision to the forecast C$11.7 billion deficit for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

The documents are labeled “confidential advice to cabinet.”

Other spending announcements included in the documents include grant programs to seniors, school nutrition programs, funding for in vitro fertilization, investment in social services and schools, and new funds and grants to attract business investment. The time frames for the various spending programs, range from one year to 10 years.

The Liberals hold a minority of seats in government, meaning they need support from the opposition to pass a budget or risk triggering an election.

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