With a new Ontario government comes a chance to start fresh on several files. The incoming Progressive Conservative government, led by Doug Ford, has been given the mandate to do so, with a commanding majority.
As U.S. President Donald Trump’s intransigence continues on trade and tariffs, Ford should move quickly to ensure tax cuts laid out in his “Plan for the People” get priority.
Ontario’s health-care system cannot be treated as a perpetual dumping ground for funding. Yes, it is necessary to tackle certain problems, such as long-term care, quickly.
But this government must realize that there is space for alternative systems and those aren’t all “U.S.-style health care.” All parties have laid out health-care proposals: the PCs should seriously consider taking its discussion of Ontario’s health care beyond just more spending.
Ford campaigned hard on the theme of government efficiencies to pay for his promises. It’s a fraught pledge and he hasn’t laid out an especially clear plan of how he’s going to achieve this. So he needs to appoint a competent finance minister and treasury board president to find these “efficiencies.” In particular, he needs, in his first year in office, to slow the accumulation of debt in Ontario.
Ford and the PCs inherit the economic damage caused by the Liberals’ legacy of waste, incompetence and scandals, epitomized by Ontario’s runaway $325-billion debt – 134 per cent higher than when they won power in 2003.
They turned Ontario, once the economic engine of Canada, into one of the world’s most indebted regional governments, resulting in hallway medicine, skyrocketing electricity rates, high taxes and deteriorating public infrastructure.
Ford promised to reduce the tax burden of Ontarians and balance the budget within his first term, without laying off public servants, starting with finding $6 billion in those efficiencies. He needs to explain how, given the 27.6 per cent growth of Ontario’s public sector from 2003 to 2013.
Righting the ship will require hard bargaining by Ford and the PCs, with powerful public sector unions. That must not deter Ontario’s new government from getting rid of entrenched bureaucracies while preserving frontline jobs.
MPPs, whether joining the government or going into Opposition, should take with them the knowledge that there are several files important to their constituents.
And to MPPs who did not return, we thank them for their tenure. It’s a solemn duty and an honour to serve in government.
. . . .
What do you think? Sensud.email@example.com your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org