The claim that conservatives are fiscally responsible is oft repeated and is prevalent in many countries. It is a myth that refuses to die; it needs to be shot with a silver bullet, staked through the heart, sealed in a lead-lined casket, and buried at the bottom of the Mariana trench.
Let’s look at our provincial government since 2018. Is it fiscally responsible to spend $231 million to scrap renewable energy projects? How about spending $2.24 billion refunding licence plate stickers and forgoing $1bn a year in revenue? Or spending $234m building new methane connections to rural and remote communities instead of investing in heat pumps, insulation, and renewables? Is it fiscally responsible to restrain the pay of nurses so much that they leave in droves and hospitals then must pay double to recruit short-term agency nurses? Some hospitals are spending five times more on agency staff than they were before Bill 124 was passed. How about cutting municipal income from development fees by $5.1bn over the next nine years? Is it fiscally responsible to spend $2.1bn on payments direct to parents to support learning, instead of investing it in our education system? Is it fiscally responsible to spend anywhere between $6bn and $10bn building Highway 413 which will save a minute on people’s commute, or to spend $800m to $1.5bn on the Bradford Bypass? Or to spend $3.1bn on new prisons that will cost an estimated $5.3bn to operate over the next 30 years? Was it fiscally responsible to scrap provincial incentives on electric vehicles? Is it fiscally responsible to have 1.8m Ontarians without a family doctor, or to underfund education so that most students with identified needs do not receive the help they are entitled to?
We’ve all seen how our society is suffering under the claimed fiscal responsibility of Doug Ford and the PCs (and this is to say nothing of the environmental damage they are wreaking across the province). Hours waiting in hospital emergency departments. Surgeries postponed. ODSP recipients condemned to legislative poverty. Poorly equipped schools. Months long waiting lists for mental health care.
We need investments in society that will benefit all of us, not just a select few at the top. We need to invest in mental health care as part of OHIP. We need to invest in funding healthcare so that hospitals are not spending millions of dollars on agency staff, so that every Ontarian has a primary care provider, so that Ontarians can access the care they need when they need it. We need investment in education to provide our children with the support and facilities they need to have a good education. We need to double ODSP so that people are no longer condemned to lives of poverty. We need to invest in affordable housing, in building vibrant communities. We need to invest in the new climate economy, supporting retrofits for homes, building the clean businesses of the future, restoring water and nature.
The Green Party of Ontario has a plan for all of this, laid out in our 2022 platform (www.gpo.ca/platform). A platform that was fully costed and that had projected deficits only marginally higher than in the 2022 proposed budget. The Green Party of Ontario is the truly fiscally responsible party.