Tim Hudak says, if elected, his Progressive Conservative government would create one million net new jobs over eight years. Hudak also promises he’d cut 100,000 jobs from the public sector.
This pledge has launched a furious debate over the chances that the PCs could actually create that many new jobs, and the damage critics claim will be done to government services if 100,000 public sector jobs were cut.
Both the Grits and the Dippers are slamming the cuts to public sector jobs, of course, since both parties are heavily supported by public sector unions that supply them with funding, third-party advertising and campaign volunteers. No surprise there.
Hudak’s promise to eliminate 100,000 jobs in the broader civil service would represent about 10 per cent of that sector’s jobs and would leave us with about the same number of public sector workers as we had in 2009.
Considering many of the jobs would be eliminated through attrition as workers retire or move on to the private sector and others reductions would result from outsourcing, the number of actual layoffs will not be anywhere near 100,000. Furthermore, the cuts won’t all come at once, but will be spread over the PCs first term.
Moreover, the hit to the economy will be mitigated by the fact retirees will receive generous government pensions and many of the outsourced jobs will have to be filled. In other words, these jobs will not all be lost to the province’s economy.
Let’s face it, something has to be done to scale back the size of our government. At some point, the leader of the province has to face down the public sector unions, for surely we must eventually balance the province’s books.
Even the normally free-spending federal Liberals learned in the 1990s there is a limit to how much debt we can accumulate. Back then, they had to implement severe austerity measures including the slashing of transfer payments to provinces, which caused extreme distress to Ontario’s health care sector’s budgets.
Hudak promises that doctors, nurses and police would all be spared so essential services should remain intact. Kathleen Wynne, though, has tried to scare Ontarians into believing the PCs’ cuts would impact the quality of our drinking water. Mind you, it is her Liberals who cut funding to the Clean Water Centre at Walkerton. Ontario.
When Wynne used the tragic deaths in 2000 of Walkerton residents for crass political gain, she failed to mention the million-dollar funding cuts her own Liberal government had made to the Walkerton-based research facility in 2011 and 2013: provincial funding went from $5-million in 2010 to $3-million in 2013.
How dangerous was that to Ontarians’ water quality, I wonder? As Kathleen Wynne said during her infamous visit to Walkerton, “Cuts have consequences.”
It does seem, though, that Walkerton residents have Wynne’s number, for they are represented in the Ontario legislature by Lisa Thompson, a Progressive Conservative MPP.
There are those that say 100,000 public sector jobs is too high a price to pay for balancing Ontario’s budget one year earlier— Wynne and Finance Minister Charles Sousa say they’ll do it by 2017-18. The Liberals, though, have increased the deficit two years in a row and have refused to make needed cuts to spending. Instead, their recent budget contains a slew of new spending on infrastructure and social programs.
Charles Sousa insists he can still meet his ultimate goal of balancing the budget by 2017-18, but he’s relying almost entirely on economic growth driven by government spending. There isn’t a credible economist who believes Wynne-Sousa will meet their target on time without harsh austerity measures and/or large tax increases. The longer Sousa waits, the deeper the cuts will be and/or the greater the tax increases will be—and those increases won’t all come from corporations.
As early as February, 2013, Kathleen Wynne’s civil servants told her that she would have to make deep cuts to meet deficit-reduction targets or she’d have to hike taxes. Instead, she’s increased spending a lot and raised taxes a little.
Perhaps, like federal Liberal leader Justin Trudeau apparently believes, Wynne and Sousa believe the budget will balance itself.
As to Hudak’s plan to add one million net new jobs over eight years, I think it’ll be a stretch. On the positive side, Sandy Crux explains here why she believes it can be done. Sandy points out statistics for the period between 1995 and 2002/3 show it’s possible.
Ted Mallett, an economist with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, is reported to have said that based on unemployment of 6.2 per cent and standard economic predictions, the economy will produce about 500,000 jobs. Add Hudak’s key promises: cheaper energy, more free trade, less red tape, lower taxes and more skilled trades, and we could very well get there.
Unlike the bitter vetch we’ve been fed by the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals for the past decade, Hudak’s million jobs plan seems like the economic tonic Ontario needs.