Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives are promising to increase health care funding at a rate much slower than the (infamous) Mike Harris Progressive Conservative government of the 1990s.
According to the 2002 Budget, the Harris government ended up spending $20.659 billion in 1999-2000. That would mean the four year, first term increase was $3.052 billion, or 17.33%. The annual average was therefore 4.07%, almost a full percent above the 3.1% Mr. Hudak is promising.
Harris' increases came despite the fact that inflation was lower during the first Harris years than it currently is in Ontario. According to the 2000 Budget (page 7) the CPI rose 1.5.% in 1996, 1.9% in 1997, 0.9%in 1998, and 1.9% in 1999, for an average of 1.55%. RBC predicted in March that inflation would run to 3.0% in Ontario in 2011 and 2.1% in 2012 (TD also made a similar prediction in March: 3.1% in 2011 and 2.0% in 2012). Ontario inflation is currently running at 3.6% annually (April 2011 report).
The first term of Harris’ reign was a disaster for hospital patients, with ambulances bouncing from hospital to hospital to try to find one with an Emergency Room that could possibly take another patient. Hudak looks much the same, judged from the money angle (while pretending otherwise).
Another similarity: Harris tried to justify the attack on hospitals by claiming that the government was doing more for long term care and home care. Hudak has made promises for those sub-sectors, but has made no promises in his policy book to improve hospitals.