Toronto – May 10, 2018 – With the 2018 Ontario Election campaign officially underway, it is increasingly looking like this election will be about change. Despite a flurry of promises by Premier Kathleen Wynne, her government’s popularity remains so low that most pundits think it will be nearly impossible for the Liberals to win. After 15 years in government, the party has had plenty of opportunities to fix the problems facing Ontarians, like skyrocketing hydro costs, hospital bed shortages, and crumbling infrastructure. Now, the big question for voters is “what kind of change do we want?”
Conservative leader Doug Ford is proposing an austerity agenda of reckless cuts to jobs and programs under the guise of “driving efficiencies.” Under a Ford government, there would be billions of dollars in cuts to public services like health care and education. The scheduled minimum wage increase to $15 an hour would be cancelled. More services that ordinary Ontarians rely on would be privatized. And while Ontarians struggle to get by, major corporations would get another huge tax break.
By contrast, Andrea Horwath and the Ontario NDP are offering an agenda of hope and change for the better. Ms. Horwath is promising to make badly-needed investments in health care to end “hallway medicine” in the province. All Ontarians would have pharmacare and dental care coverage under an NDP government. Hydro One privatization would stop, and the utility would be brought back under public ownership and oversight. Exclusions to those receiving minimum wage would be eliminated. It would be easier for workers to join a union and secure a first collective agreement. And Horwath is being clear that she will pay for these commitments by raising taxes on the wealthiest corporations and the richest Ontarians.
If this election is about change after 15 years of Liberal rule, then voters could not have starker visions to choose from. Ford’s vision of austerity would make life more difficult for ordinary Ontarians while padding the pockets of large corporations. Horwath’s vision, meanwhile, would invest in the services that so many people need – like pharmacare and dental care – while making the rich pay their fair share. Voters therefore face a choice between two competing visions: change to make life tougher, or change for the better. It’s an easy choice for workers and their families.