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Showing posts from May, 2014

Why the PCs think Mike Harris is a big-government union-lover

Many used to contrast the hard right policies of the former Mike Harris Progressive Conservative government with the milder PC policies of Bill Davis and the Big Blue Machine.  But Tim Hudak's PCs go much further.  Here's three examples.

[1] The PCs say they will cut spending on programs by $7.6 billion to $111.8 billion.  The Mike Harris PC government increased public sector spending in its first term  -- by their own account 6.2%. In their second go round, the Harris / Eves government increased funding much more  -- 14%.

But Hudak's latest policies contrast even with the Hudak PC plan rolled out in the last election campaign in 2011. Then, Hudak and the PCs planned to increase program spending from $113.8 billion to $117.5 billion. That's a very modest increase of 3.25% over four years.  But it's quite different from their new proposal to cut spending sharply and to reduce provincial spending to $111.8 billion.    

This radical shift in PC policy occurred despite th…

Hospital P3 scandal gets worse as Ontario Liberals and PCs say bring 'em on!

The public private partnership ("P3") hospital scandal in Montreal is getting even worse, if that is possible. 
As reported earlier, a police corruption investigation showed how SNC-Lavalin officials allegedly arranged payments of $22.5-million to McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) chief executive Arthur Porter and his side-kick Yanai Elbaz in exchange for ensuring SNC won the $1.3-billion contract. 
In total, eight people are facing charges and police describe this P3 as the "biggest construction fraud in the history of Canada".  Hospital CEO (and former Steven Harper Security Intelligence Review Committee chief) Arthur Porter is fighting Canada's attempts to bring him back home to face the charge: he had, rather conveniently, left the country.  
Now a senior SNC-Lavalin official has admitted that the company took design features from their competition when it became apparent their design was a flop. Someone within the McGill University Health Centre gave …

Progressive Conservative health care policy: cuts, privatization, mergers, and cuts

The PCs have developed two papers on health care policy, one dated September 2012 and another (which “builds on that foundation”) dated February 2013.  Here are some key excerpts, with some commentary, starting with the 2012 paper, “Patient CentredHealth Care”.
Terminate the LHINs and CCACs and turn their powers over to 30-40 “hospital hubs”:  “Build off of the existing high performing health infrastructure in 30 to 40 Ontario hospitals to create health hubs. Hubs will organize, plan and commission services for the patients in their respective regions.”  “The health hub is a simple concept. Hubs take over the LHINs’ job of local health care planning, funding and performance. They also take on the CCACs’ job of connecting people with government funded home and community care and long-term care. Most importantly, they will be required to integrate acute care with primary care, home and community care and long-term care into a seamless partnership.”
Comment: This will give 30-40 hospitals …

The lowdown on the PC plan for the public sector

Is Tim Hudak a radical right winger, bent on fundamentally changing Ontario society? Below are excerpts from the Progressive Conservative policy paper, “A New Deal for the Public Sector”.  It contains some very radical ideas that go far beyond even what former PC premier Mike Harris implemented. 
Cut public spending: “To balance the budget, government spending must be cut. Just slowing the rate at which spending increases will leave a balanced  budget as a distant hope, not a real goal. Ontario does not have the luxury of time to address the problem.”
Comment: Even the Mike Harris PC government increased public sector spending in its first term (by their account, 6.2%), and by much more in their second term (14%).  Ontario already has the lowest public sector spending per person of any province in Canada.
A two year wage freeze: “Our first step to balance the budget will be a two year wage freeze for the entire public sector, no exceptions. That will save government $2 billion annually…

Ontario public sector employment shrinks

Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives like to say that there is "a bloated public sector" in Ontario. "We will need to make do with fewer government employees" they proclaim.

In fact, we already are. The Ontario broader public sector has shrunk by 47,000 workers over the last year, a 3.5% decline. Comparing the first half of last year with the first four months of this year, we are down just under 48,000.

Update: Public Sector Employment July 2015 - Click Here.

The public sector has, it is true, grown a total of 1.7% (22,100 workers), over the last six years.  That however falls well short of both population growth and the growth of the working age population.

1976 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Canadian population 18-64 14,017,709 21,757,146 22,020,729 22,264,899 22,451,338 22,655,895 22,851,645 23,070,545 Ontario population 18-64