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PCs need to dump the ‘People’s Guarantee’

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By -- Christine Van Geyn, CTF Ontario Director —— Bio and Archives February 8, 2018

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PCs need to dump the 'People's Guarantee
With the departure of Patrick Brown from the PC Party, there is an opportunity for the old platform (a.k.a “The People’s Guarantee) to disappear with the old leader.

All three PC leadership candidates have indicated that they are willing to move away from the People’s Guarantee. Caroline Mulroney has said the platform is a “starting point,” while Christine Elliott qualified her support for the platform, saying she intends to run on it “for the most part.” Doug Ford has said he would change around 10 per cent of the platform.

The candidates are not obligated to run on the platform, and indeed, if they’re going to be honest with voters they really should scrap it.

The People’s Guarantee contains a $4 billion spending hole, will continue the Wynne Liberal tradition of deficits, and prolong the electricity crisis gripping the province.

The first thing that needs to go is the commitment to a federally imposed carbon tax.

The Wynne cap-and-trade carbon tax is bad enough, with its bureaucratic regulations and the fact that it sends billions of taxpayer dollars outside of Ontario. But the Brown-Trudeau style of direct carbon tax would actually cost more—about $900 per year for households with children by 2022. By that year, the tax would cost Ontario $5.1 billion per year. Opposing a tax that sucks that much money out of the province’s economy is the right thing to do. So far, PC leadership candidates Christine Elliott and Doug Ford have committed to opposing it. Caroline Mulroney says she has an open mind on the issue, and hopefully will hear from enough Ontarians to lead her to do the right thing.

The other big problem with the People’s Guarantee is that it assumes that the federal government will simply hand over $4 billion in new revenue if a carbon tax is imposed. And, worse, the PC platform has already committed to spend that money. The problem is that the federal legislation doesn’t require the carbon tax revenue go to the provincial government. The feds can give rebates directly to citizens or spend it in the province themselves instead. And if Trudeau is going to take the heat of imposing an unpopular new tax, you can bet he’ll claim the glory of spending the money that comes along with it.

Worse still, the People’s Guarantee is still explicitly planning to run a deficit, even with that $4 billion in additional revenue.

PC leadership candidates are going to need to scale back on their spending commitments in the platform if they want their math to add up.

They also need to address the problems with their proposed solution to the province’s government-imposed energy crisis.

After weeks of quite warranted screaming opposition to the Wynne “Fair Hydro Plan,” which will cost upwards of $93 billion in order to save $24 billion on electricity, the People’s Guarantee made an about-face and endorsed the Wynne plan. Not only that, it committed even more taxpayer money to the absurd scheme.

The Liberals have spent the last 15 years running repeated deficits and changing accounting rules to their own benefit. The last thing the province needs is another set of hooligans to coming into government on false spending promises and misleading arithmetic, racking up more debt and running more deficits because they made false promises to get into power. We need honesty from our politicians. In the case of the PC Party, it means having the courage to walk away from the fatally flawed People’s Guarantee.

This article was previously published in the Toronto Sun.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation -- Christine Van Geyn, CTF Ontario Director -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Canadian Taxpayers Federation