Ontario Election 2014 - So Far - Part TwoMonday, May 26, 2014 by: Mac Headrick
It was a beautiful weekend. Linda and I along with the dogs spent some time at the trailer. Attended my first concert at Hilton Beach and travelled back in the past with the folk singer Valdy. Everything about the concert was excellent. Today’s column will recap the last week of campaigning.
Now I started off the weekend in a very good mood courtesy of our local provincial representative David Orazietti and the NDP leader Andrea Horwath. It has been said that laughter is the best medicine for whatever ails you. The individuals above provided a couple of examples of that. First was the announcement by Mr. Orazietti that Tim Hudak didn’t care for Northern Ontario. Proof provided by David was Mr. Hudak’s refusal to attend the debate on Northern Ontario issues in Thunder Bay. Wait a minute… in the last election the Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty didn’t attend this same debate. Hmmm, using consistent logic does that mean that sometimes the Liberals don’t care about the north?
Every political party in this election knows tough choices have to be made to reduce the deficit. The provincial government is spending too much money. One of Horwath’s ideas is to create a financial accountability officer. Do I understand this correctly? Government is spending too much. To address this we should create another government position with the necessary supporting staff. What about this concept just doesn’t cut it? The finance minister and the ruling government are mandated do the jobs they are elected to.
By the way I believe Tim Hudak missing the debate was not a scheduling problem. The Conservative Party does not want to publicly have to defend their platform in an unscripted event.
The best idea of the week came again from the Green Party. Allow craft breweries to open their own store fronts to sell their products. I know this concept will go nowhere. However, being a fringe party does allow you to think creatively.
Andrea Horwath is taking some heat from long time NDP supporters for pulling the plug on the Liberals and defeating the last budget. This action irritated me. Horwath is faced with the following dilemma. I have followed politics for over 50 years. Coming from an NDP family I accepted long ago the NDP’s main purpose was to influence the other parties. The NDP comes up with an idea that gains popularity. Eventually (usually the Liberals) some other political party would introduce their own version, receive credit and life went on. Personally I was alright with this reality. Horwath wants power. The NDP leadership has decided to achieve this meaning a move to the right is necessary. This has created some confusion among its true believers.
The Liberal Party released their platform on Sunday. As in their budget there are plenty of things I like about it, but I cannot find any reference to reduced spending. I do not agree with Tim Hudak’s proposal to fire 100,000 civil servants and reduce corporate tax rates further, but at least the Conservatives have presented ideas. The NDP would raise corporate tax rates to 12.5% to increase revenue and help eliminate the deficit. I am not advocating any of the above. I just wonder if and when the Liberal Party will stop talking about spending. At some point they have to discuss the deficit or perhaps not. The Drummond Report from 2012 was a Liberal initiative. They do not seem to reference any of the ideas put forth to rein in spending.
Tim Hudak seems to like the Drummond Report. From this Liberal inspired event came the idea to eliminate full day kindergarten classes in elementary schools. This report also recommended eliminating one of the lottery main offices. One is located in Toronto and the other in Sault Ste Marie. Two part question. If Tim Hudak gained power would he follow thru on eliminating one of the lottery offices? If so which one? These are important questions.
I must admit I was fooled by the Conservative promise to create one million new jobs. I actually tried to research it. I assumed there was some intellectual basis to it. Presently there are approximately 588,000 people unemployed. What’s the plan…fire 100,000 civil servants, reduce corporate taxes and hire the 588,000 unemployed? What about the 412,000 unfilled positions? I got it, partner with the federal Conservatives and use the temporary workers program to import refugees to Ontario! I now realize this plan isn’t a serious economic statement, it is symbolic. It is directed to the Conservative base that dislikes government employees and believes they should be punished. Despite the failure of lower corporate tax rates to create job, Conservatives still cling to the hope that the factory drain to the United States will end. As for the idea that the civil service would be reduced by attrition? Well, that doesn’t pass a close inspection. For example the elimination of full day kindergarten would be an immediate, permanent job loss.
I was born at night but not last night. I know that the deficit has to be reduced. I also feel very passionately about Sault Ste Marie. Have you ever noticed than when government jobs are eliminated (federal and/or provincial) they are consolidated to Sudbury, Toronto and sometimes Thunder Bay? Is there anyone reading this that really believes that there are factories waiting to set up shop in Sault Ste Marie if the corporate tax rate is reduced further? Every job loss locally means another young person moves away to seek employment.
As I see it the campaign continues. I cannot see too many more promises being made. Hopefully the debates or debate, depending on the political party concerned, will shed further light on the intentions of the next potential provincial government.