It has begun

The flame for Ontario provincial election has been lit and the issues are on the table
Rahman Mohamed

On May 5 Governor General signed officially the Writs of Elections and kicked of the Ontario Provincial Election scheduled for June 12.  The leaders had already been campaigning, touring the province and speaking about why they should be chosen.  So what’s on their minds this time?

The Scandals:  They never leave.  The Senate Scandals still haven’t left Stephen Harper.  Dalton McGuinty was the leader of the Gas Plant Scandal but it is associated with the Liberal Party.  But the Wynne has received endorsement from Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion who isn’t running for re-election this year.

Privatization of public services: there have been TV attack ads against Kathleen Wynne suggesting she is secretly planning to create “public-private partnership, or 3P” for transit.

Employment: Since the 2008 recession many Canadians have been searching for jobs.  According to The Huffington Post (2014) Tim Hudak, leader of the Ontario Conservative party suggests he can create 200,000 new jobs simply by rewriting apprenticeship laws.

Balancing the Books: Like always debt and deficit.  Hudak says Ontario and PEI are the only countries in Confederation that are back in deficit.  According to the Globe and Mail (2014) he also says the PC party would never run a deficit.  Part of his campaign.  “The Spending Within Our Means Act”, a regulation that would regulate government spending through the GDP.

On the other hand, the Liberal campaign, based on its 2014 Spring budget that wasn’t debated runs a $12.5 billion deficit.

Andrea Horwath says she will introduce a new cabinet position to find new savings.

Minimum Wage: Wynne says she’s the only one with a plan.  CTV (2014) reported that minimum wage will be rising to $11/hour on June.  Wynne said the Liberals will index it to inflation.

But the Globe and Mail (2014) reports Andrea Horwath, leader of the NDP, saying “We want to see the minimum wage increase but in a way that’s balanced and allows small businesses to absorb the impact,” as the NDP plans to raise minimum wage to $12/hour over 2 years while lowering small business taxes.

Education: The Ontario Green Party has entered the public’s eye!  Part of their election campaign is merging Ontario’s Catholic and Public administrations to reduce costs.

The Toronto Star (2014) reported that teachers call Hudak’s education plan “dangerous”.  He speaks of increasing class sizes and reducing staff.  He also talks about eliminating the “30% tuition grant” provided to post-secondary students by OSAP.

Healthcare: It hasn’t entered the public scree yet but it sits on the scandal map.  A month ago CTV reported that Premier Wynne’s brother-in-law, David Rounthwaite, was appointed as CEO of eHealth Ontario to replace interim CEO Ray Hession.  Hession was filling in for Greg Reed who was forced to leave with a severance package of $406,000 after serving for 3 years because the Auditor General reported in 2009 that e-Health had overspent by $1-billion.

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