The Ontario Government’s Throne Speech was full of generalities and motherhood statements but short on details. The proof of the Liberal Government’s intentions will be what it puts in the spring budget. The minority Liberal Government will survive or fall depending on what it includes in the budget. The NDP wants to see real change from the Liberal status quo that has left people in Ontario falling behind.
In particular, I was disappointed that there was no plan in the vague Throne Speech for a fairer tax system. We need a fairer tax system to pay for essential public services and programs that will bring prosperity and equality for everyone. Income inequality in Ontario is at a thirty year high. The Ontario Government should stop the corporate tax giveaways of the past decade that don’t create jobs and ensure that the large, profitable corporations and the wealthiest one per cent pay their fair share of taxes. A fairer tax system would raise billions of dollars for the provincial treasury each year. Unfortunately, the Liberals and Conservatives are more interested in making cuts to public services rather than taking a balanced approach to balancing the province’s books. Nor was there a plan for long-term care. In Cornwall and Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry, there is an urgent need for more long-term care beds to serve the needs of our seniors who make up 20% of the local population. The wait time for a bed in a long-term care facility in our area is the highest in the province and double the provincial average.
Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP have made it clear that in the spring session of the Ontario legislature they want to get results that make life better and more affordable for everyday Ontarians. Too many families and seniors are having a hard time making ends meet in these tough times. The NDP wants to work with the other parties in the Ontario legislature to create and protect good jobs, improve healthcare, make life affordable, and ensure a balanced approach to balancing the provincial budget which looks at both revenue and spending. It is also important to bring peace and stability in the educational sector in the wake of Bill 115 and to make the government accountable for its actions.
More specifically, Andrea Horwath has put forward 5 proposals to be included in this spring’s budget, namely, a First Start Incentive program to create jobs for youth who have a 15.7% unemployment rate, the removal of barriers to employment for people on ODSP and social assistance, the closing of corporate tax loopholes that will save the Ontario Treasury $1.3 billion annually by 2017-18, a 15% cut to auto insurance rates, and a home care guarantee that will ensure that seniors receive the healthcare services that they need within 5 days of being approved. These proposals to make life better for all Ontarians are realistic and achievable and should be included in the budget.
Premier Wynne and her overly large 27 member cabinet must also deal with the deplorable Liberal record that they are part of, namely, the removal of teachers’ and education workers’ democratic collective bargaining rights, cuts to public services, the neglect of rural Ontario, the inept management of E-Health, Ornge air ambulance, the costly cancellation of the power plants in Mississauga and Oakville to win seats in the October 6, 2011 provincial election, and the shutting down of the Ontario legislature.
When the next provincial election comes, people will see the NDP as the clear, progressive alternative to the discredited, arrogant Liberals and the slash and burn Hudak Conservatives who want to cut essential public services and make Ontario a low wage province.
President, SDSG Provincial NDP association,