Uncertainty for Ontario

Ontario now has a majority government that believes in neither climate change nor abortion rights, has no fiscal policy, but is committed to $1 beer.

Doug Ford, the new premier of the Progressive Conservative Party (PC) has laid out a platform that is vague and opaque. Many people are therefore concerned about what his premiership will actually mean for the province. He’s made very few specific promises, and those he has made are obscure and lack detail.

Nothing matters more to Ontario’s finances than education and health because these two ministries comprise roughly 60 percent of government spending. The only promises formulated through the PC campaign were a 75-percent tax credit for child-care costs and 15,000 new long-term care beds over the next five years – which will eventually cost close to $1-billion annually. All while promising to remove the sex education curriculum in schools that was implemented by the Liberal Party.

The party did not reveal how they plan to fund these promises, which is ultimately going to add to Ontario’s plummeting debt. This is problematic because with a net debt-to-GDP ratio of 38 percent, Ontario’s burden is already sky high.

The only things we can examine with any certainty are Ford’s initiatives to take carbon taxing to the Supreme Court and to cut taxes. Even when it comes to taxes and fiscal policies, Ford has never actually outlined any plans. Despite promising nearly $10 billion in new spending, the party refused to say whether these will be funded with debt.

The NDP were at least upfront about their intentions. Although they planned to spend heavily, they promised to raise taxes to cover some of it. The rest would have come from adding to the debt, but they were not scared of that.

Ontario residents have no idea what a budget will look like, are unclear on specifically what changes will be made to tax rates, and have a premier who has made clear his ignorance of economics by repeatedly touting a reduction in taxes, lower gas and sales prices, while also promising not to incur layoffs or other consequences.

It seems our province is heading towards a future of social backwardness.

We can already see this with Ford’s cabinet members. In a previous statement, Ford admitted that he would allow those in his caucus to bring forward legislation on abortion, reviving the abortion debate–a topic that should not be debated in a country that has respected a women’s right to choose since the Supreme Court case, R. v. Morgentaler, in 1988. Andrew Lawton, the minister for the status of women once said in a tweet “I was called a misogynist twice today. I’m sure my girlfriend would be the first to say that isn’t the case, when I let her speak.” Along with the minister for the status of women insulting and disrespecting women, he had also insulted the LGBTQ+ community, Muslims, and people of colour. All while this was happening, Doug Ford stood by him through the fire and called him a “good candidate.”

The next few years of uncertainty and hypocrisy cannot be beneficial either for Ontario’s economic stability, or for its residents.