Last week, Premier Dalton McGuinty proved he does have a sense of humor, when his Government’s hand-picked “cut-meister” Don Drummond, published a set of ideas for ways the Government could save money and avert a financial apocalypse that is predicted for Ontario.
The list of cuts is broad in spectrum, and heavy-handed at best, and at worst it is Big “C” Conservatism (if not totalitarianism), but will these cuts actually transpire as they have been laid out?
A simple cursory view of the carnage that is predicted, will be no, for several reasons, but a few that I can think of would be:
- It recommends ending all day kindergarten (recommendation 6-11), which is Dalton McGuinty’s baby, so that is not going anywhere (unless the conservatives get into power).
- Cut funding of education system which would force more parents to have to pay for more supplies (recommendation 6-17). Seriously? We are going to make parents pay more for PUBLIC schools?
- Cutting school bus funding (recommendation 6-16), I think that is a great idea, since I have had to pay for my kids’ busing costs for years (8 to be exact).
- Plenty of really interesting discussions about alternate care ideas in the medical system and how to cut costs (Section 5 of the recommendations). There are so many, I don’t dare mention them. The best quote I can give you is:
- The quality of care can and should be enhanced despite the need to restrain increased spending; the objectives of quality care and cost restraint must go hand in hand.
- WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? We should have a great system, even though we are going to cut the hell out of it?!?
- Section 7 for post secondary institutions is effectively fantasy, imploring Universities to break existing bargained agreements with staff ( 7-2 ) and also to fire incompetent teachers (7-10), it’s fun to read.
- Social Programs you ask? Section 8 starts with:
- Hold growth in social programs spending to 0.5 per cent per year.
And the best of British luck to you on that one.
- Get to Section 12 about Infrastructure and real estate and you are treated to the following tid bits:
- Implement full cost pricing for water and wastewater services.
- Eliminate the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit as quickly as possible.
- etc., etc., etc.,
As can be read, this is a broad axe cutting across the board. The tactic is quite simple, scare the living hell out of everyone, so they all start fighting for their programs, and then implement modest cuts, in areas already known and look less nasty because of it.
The only wrinkle here is that Heir McGuinty does not have a majority, so he is going to need to find some accomplices for his little farce. Wonder who will walk across the floor to join in?
Anyone care to disagree?