Thunder Bay – On February 15, the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services, popularly known as The Drummond Report, was released. The report outlines 362 recommendations that are intended to help the provincial government streamline spending. While the report is considered controversial by many, we have to keep in mind that Mr. Drummond was simply given the task of saving the province money. It is now up to the public and MPPs to distil and dissect the report’s contents.
The biggest danger we now face is that the McGuinty Liberals will either adopt the report in its entirety or cherry pick which recommendations to implement. Based on statements already made in the media by the government, it doesn’t seem likely that they will adopt the report wholly, so the question remains: how will they determine which recommendations to implement? This is where most of my concern lies.
Under normal circumstances, once a government is elected it establishes a number of committees, one of which being a Finance Committee. The purpose of the Finance Committee, is, among other things, to travel around the province to solicit public input on the annual budget. This year, however, the establishment of committees has been one of the sticky points that the Liberals have been unwilling to negotiate with the other parties, meaning that, for the first time in many decades, we have not had any formal public consultation on the contents of the budget. So in short, I commend Mr Drummond for doing his job and – as evidenced by his 362 recommendations – doing it well. However, I do think that his report should serve as a starting point for a larger discussion involving all Ontarians.
Because of the scope of this report, I have chosen to split this discussion, with next week focussing on specific areas of proposed cuts.
In all of my columns, I ask for your feedback, but never is your input more important than now. I urge you all to take time out to look at the report and contact me with your comments and suggestions. This report focuses on all areas of provincial spending and its implementation will seriously affect us all. It is important to have your voice heard and this time, sadly, if you do not contact the government or your MPP directly, your input won’t be considered.
Sarah Campbell MP