Does Tim Hudak want to give Polkaroo a pink slip?
It's a question being asked in light of the Ontario PC leader's vow to cut 100,000 public sector jobs and reduce government spending in order to eliminate Ontario's estimated $12.5-billion budget deficit quicker than his rivals.
On Thursday, Toronto Star reporter Robert Benzie asked Hudak if he would eliminate TVOntario altogether or if the beloved children's mascot could be included in the 9,700 "non-teaching" education workers he aims to fire.
TVO is operated by the Ontario Educational Communications Authority, a Crown agency.
Hudak was evasive, Benzie reports, suggesting he would look at the 2012 report from economist Don Drummond on how to reduce spending in the province. The Drummond report, however, makes no mention of the public broadcaster.
"If you’re asking me if we’re going to reduce bureaucracy wherever it exists in government to invest in front-lines, the answer is yes," he said.
PC officials later told reporters it was too early to say what might be cut.
TVO receives more than $40 million a year in public funding. According to the annual "sunshine list" of the highest paid public sector employees, Steve Paikin, host of the network's flagship program, "The Agenda With Steve Paikin," makes $302,622 a year.
But the prospect of losing Polkaroo is apparently too much for some Ontarians to bear.
A mythical green creature resembling a kangaroo, only with colourful polka dots on his (or is it her?) clothing, Polkaroo was a staple on the much-loved "Polka Dot Door."
Some took to Twitter to encourage voters to save the mascot from the "Hudaxe."
Polkaroo is the new Big Bird.May 16, 2014
Where's Polkaroo? He's hiding from the #Hudaxe. Education cuts hurtMay 16, 2014
The issue will remind many of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. In one debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney vowed to stop the federal subsidy to PBS, even though he "loves Big Bird."
The campaign team for U.S. president Barack Obama followed up with a pretty clever ad.
And Romney's promise also lead to some creativity on the Internet.
Ontario voters head to the polls on June 12.
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