Categorized | Canadian Politics

Wynne says PC Leader Patrick Brown’s hope of finding painless cuts is ‘nonsense’

Posted on 07 December 2017 by admin

Premier Kathleen Wynne warns the Tory platform will mean cuts to services.

In the People’s Republic of China, Premier Kathleen Wynne is seeing red over the Progressive Conservative People’s Guarantee manifesto.

As in red ink — and blood on the floor from anticipated budget cuts.

Speaking to the Star from Nanjing — one stop on her two-week trade mission to China, Hong Kong and Vietnam — she was incredulous about Tory Leader Patrick Brown’s campaign platform unveiled Saturday.

“We’ve been waiting for quite awhile to see something substantial come out of Brown and the Conservatives. So we’ve seen those now and the thing that jumps out at me is the pretty serious cuts,” Wynne said Tuesday.

“We’re the leanest per-capita program spending government in the country,” said the premier, who has read the Tories’ 78-page platform.

“So to suggest that there’s this bloated government and you can come in and slash $12 billion and nobody will feel pain is nonsense,” she said.

“He has to be held to account on this.”

That’s a reference to the Brown’s pledge to cut income taxes, eliminate the cap-and-trade climate change plan that brings in $1.9 billion annually, and conduct a “value-for-money” audit to find $6.1 billion in savings across government over three years if elected June 7.

 “I mean ‘efficiencies’ — that’s the language that they use — and in my experience, ‘efficiencies’ has always been code for ‘cuts’ for Conservatives,” said Wynne.

“Conservative leader after Conservative leader has talked about efficiencies so we’re looking at . . . a scale of $12 billion. In reality, it would be impossible to realize that kind of cut without cutting education and health care in some way.”

Campaigning at a Scarborough manufacturing plant, Brown insisted that “every Ontarian is going to pay less” under his People’s Guarantee plan, which will also bolster services.

“Under Kathleen Wynne, you work harder, you pay more, and you get less. This is not right and this is not fair.”

He is promising to reduce hydro rates by 12 per cent, invest $5 billion in a TTC subway network that will be uploaded to the province, reduce middle-class provincial income tax rates by 22.5 per cent, and enable parents to write off up to 75 per cent of child-care costs while boosting the number of daycare spots by 100,000.

Wynne admitted some aspects of the “People’s Guarantee” seem to be cribbed from her governing Liberals.

“It’s great that they have now come around to acknowledging that they agree with our Fair Hydro Plan because, I mean, they want to add to that,” she said, referring to the Liberals’ 25 per cent reduction in electricity rates that the Tories voted against in the Legislature.

“The 100,000 child-care spaces, I mean, we’re implementing that, so that’s great that they agree with that. It’s not an additional 100,000 child-care spaces. They’re basically just doing what we’re already doing.”

As for the Tories’ plan to return Ontario to deficit next year — with a $2.8 billion shortfall — Wynne, who is projecting budget surpluses for the next few years, was gobsmacked.

“I’m sure there was a lively internal conversation about that — that’s for sure,” the premier said with a laugh, mindful of the concerns of fiscal conservatives.

“Starting to pay down the debt starts with balancing the budget — and keeping it in balance,” she said.

“This document is all about having it both ways or all ways: ‘so we’re going to run a deficit, we’re going to cut fat that’s not there, we’re going to start to pay down the debt.’ There are all sorts of inconsistencies in what he’s suggesting.”

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