PCs release plan to bring change to Ontario a full six months before the election
ETOBICOKE – In a speech delivered at the Ontario PC Party’s policy convention, Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown has unveiled the Party’s platform, called the People’s Guarantee. “The People’s Guarantee lays out our vision and our plan to bring change that works for Ontario,” says Brown. “At its core it’s very simple. It’s a recognition of the need for change that works for you: the people, not the insiders.”
In a statement, the PC leader says, “The People’s Guarantee is the product of the most exhaustive and inclusive policy development process in the history of the Ontario PC Party. The process began in March 201 and culminated in over 130 policy resolutions that were voted on and supported by party membership to form the basis of the plan”.
The PCs state that their platform has been fully costed and the fiscal estimates have been reviewed and “deemed reasonable” by former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page from the non-partisan Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy at the University of Ottawa.
In his speech to Party members, Brown highlighted five achievable measures an Ontario PC government would take:
- 22.5% lower income taxes for the middle class
- A 75% refund of child care expenses
- 12% more off your hydro bill
- The largest mental health commitment in Canadian provincial history
- The first-ever Trust, Integrity and Accountability Act
“In the end, platforms are just politicians’ words. The People’s Guarantee is different,” says Brown. “I’m signing my name to it, and so is every Ontario PC candidate. My promise to you is that if these measures are not enacted in the first mandate of an Ontario PC government, I will not seek a second.”
“The People’s Guarantee is an expression of our profound belief that Ontario is great because its people are great,” Brown concluded. “It recognizes that there’s nothing wrong with Ontario that can’t be fixed by a change in government. It’s time for change that works for Ontario.”
The Progressive Conservative platform has been taken to task by the Ontario Liberals. The Liberals, responding to the PC Platform say, “Buried in the Conservative platform, on page 76, is a plan to cut services by $12.275 billion. Brown says he is going make $6.1 billion in unspecified cuts across government over the next three years. This is on top of the $1.9 billion annually that will be lost when he slashes the carbon market revenues. That funding is going towards repairs in schools, hospitals, and social housing, building more transit, and helping families renovate their homes”.
“Ontario has seen this movie before, first with Harris and then with Harper. And everyone knows that the sequel is always worse than the original. This isn’t leadership. This isn’t trustworthy. The people of Ontario deserve better,” said Vaughan MPP Steven Del Duca. “These cuts would have an immediate and drastic effect. If these cuts are applied evenly across government it could mean firing 15,000 teachers or closing 1 in every 5 schools. And this is just with the cuts they are being honest about.”
Northern Aviation Fuel Tax
Inside the PC Plan is a promise to change the aviation fuel tax for Northern Ontario. In a statement from Massimo Bergamini, President and CEO of the National Airlines Council of Canada(NACC) following the announcement by Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown that if elected, his government would roll back aviation fuel tax increases for Northern Ontario airport communities: “Ontario has the highest provincial aviation fuel tax in the country. Today’s commitment by Patrick Brown to ‘reverse the 148% increase to the aviation fuel tax for all Northern airports’ is a welcome first step in addressing its impact on travellers, communities and the aviation industry. If implemented this will help reduce the cost of moving people and goods in and out of the region and contribute to spurring tourism and economic growth”.
Most importantly though, given the nature of the demographics of air travel in Canada today and the razor-thin profit margins that characterize the industry, this is an acknowledgement that any aviation tax is actually a tax on the middle class. We believe that such an acknowledgement represents a sound foundation for a much-needed discussion on lowering the cost of air travel for all of Ontario. As much as we welcome today’s aviation fuel announcement, there remain unanswered questions with regards to how the Ontario PC Party’s policies on carbon pricing will affect aviation and travellers. We look forward to discussing these matters with Mr Brown and his colleagues in the near future.”
The People’s Guarantee was ratified by the Caucus and the Policy Committee of the Party as required by section 22.3 of the PC Party Constitution.