The Liberal Platform: "The Ontario Way"

if the Ontario Way website is it for the Liberal platform, then that party is in worse shape than I thought.  The platform rests on a questionable government record (putting it kindly), and pretty much does nothing accept brag about their own achievements.  They make few promises that are really comparable to the Progressive Conservatives’ Changebook, unlike that document no realistic numbers or detailed plans are provided here.  The party breaks the platform down to five main categories: Jobs, health, community, education, and family finances.

Under the Jobs category it states Ontario recovered 124% of jobs lost in the 2008 recession “faster than our major trading partners,” with a graph featuring the United States (U.S.) and the United Kingdom (U.K.)  Arguably the United States, and the United Kingdom were both worse off than the Canadian economy to begin with.  The sub-prime mortgage crisis, and collapse of some financial institutions in the U.S. were contributing factors to America’s recession.  The United Kingdom is part of the European Union, and was likely affected by what happened in other parts of the trade zone.  Couple that with the job creation caused caused in part by Canada’s Economic Action plan, and the government bailout of the auto sector and  is it any wonder Ontario recovered its jobs faster?

 As for Health…Their website says the Liberal government hired “thousands of nurses,” offered spots to more international grads than any other province, and have built 18 new hospitals.  By the way in their 10-year infrastructure plan they’ve promised to build more hospitals, and expand others “should fiscal capacity allow,” aka if they can afford it.  My question is how much of this success has been borne on the backs of Ontarians through  the much maligned health tax? The party also mentions eliminating coal fire generators- I’m all for it, if it can be done safely, and we have alternatives ready.  In the mean time, what about looking into ways you can cleanly burn coal instead?

Under community it trumpets the government’s cosmetic pesticide ban.  That’s a good thing for the environment and for people’s overall health yes, but in 8 years is that all you’ve done for Ontario’s communities? What about investment in community infrastructure (roads, arenas, arts centres)? Or what about keeping communities safe? I find it hard to believe a pesticide ban is the absolute best achievement you can think of for this section.

The education section announces the government’s intention to completely implement the full-day Kindergarten by 2014-2015; 3-4 years away.  Does this even belong on the platform for now? It’s not yet completed, and there’s no guarantee it will be carried over should McGuinty lose the election.  I think a future government’s hands are tied on this one; it’s too far into the process now.  And as for the estimated $6500/ year in savings to parents- how much of that goes back to the government in taxes?

Parents save $1400 on children’s vaccines according to the family finances section of the platform.  The provincial Liberals have offered 10% off on hydro bills in the form of an Ontario energy benefit. I’m naturally suspicious- or cynical, but I have to ask: If re-elected where will the provincial liberals make up that 10%? In new user fees? or maybe a new tax?

I hope there is more to the Liberal platform than this.  The “Ontario Way” right now lacks the vision, and new ideas I’d hope to see from a party that has the significant advantage of having been in power for 8 years and is asking for a third mandate.  It’s as if the Liberals have given up before the campaign  has really begun.

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Filed under Dalton McGuinty, provincial election platforms, provincial Liberals, provincial politics, Tim Hudak

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