Ontario Premier Wynne ascended to power by winning over the small clique of Liberal Party members who can afford leadership conference fees and travel expenses. Both Ontario women and LGBT communities rejoiced at this opportunity to have, for the first time, one their own at the seat of power. People of colour and hijab-wearing Muslim-Canadian women face acute harassment that falls outside the sort explicitly described in Wynne's plan. As a candidate, Wynne reached out to visible minorities on her way to the mountain top. Then she forgot about them.
The Ontario government is to be applauded for emphasizing the importance of apprenticeship programs, particularly as the province strives to produce a more qualified and highly trained workforce for the skilled trades and other sectors. Ontario has committed funding towards new equipment and technology upgrades to ensure apprentices get training that is aligned with innovations in the workplace; while new funding has been announced to encourage greater numbers of Aboriginal Peoples, at-risk youth, women and newcomers to Canada to pursue skills training.
Do I wish this scenario hadn't happened? Yes. Do I feel the Opposition is making hypocritical hay out of a situation they've done many times themselves? Yes. Does it bother me that the Premier is under fire? Yes. But I also respect her defiance, her honesty and her insistence that she tackle the issue head on, herself, clearly and in public. She's taking responsibility and sticking to her guns. I'd expect no less.
Consider that in 2013/14 interest on the provincial debt was $10.6 billion. According to the province's fall fiscal update, that was just over half of all provincial sales tax revenue paid by Ontarians last year ($20.5 billion). So Ontarians should know that when you pay your provincial sales tax at the till, half of it flutters away just to pay your provincial government's debt interest.
On December 1, the Ontario Court of Appeal failed Canadians who are homeless or living in substandard conditions. By ruling that the Government of Canada has no obligation to provide "affordable, adequate, and accessible housing" to its citizens, the Court sanctioned the government's abdication of responsibility for housing and dealt a significant blow to vulnerable Canadians.
The government already spends 9.2 per cent of its revenues to service its debt and, according to its own estimates, this will rise to nearly 11 per cent in the next four years. Put plainly, Ontario spends $1 out of every $10 sent to Queen's Park to pay for past debt. This is money not spent on health care, education, transportation, or other public priorities. The increase in rates and the expectation for further hikes means even more tax revenues will go to paying interest instead of key government services.
The newest hot trend in the trying-so-hard-not-to-expend-one-iota-of-independent-self-guided-research crowd is declining your vote. In less than 24 hours all manner of articles have sprung up that read like the person writing them caught a case of spontaneous narcolepsy when forced to talk about the election. Nobody is going to argue the fact that the Ontario party leaders we've been presented with this time around come across as flat and less than engaging, but when was it ever going to be an option that Hudak's lifeless floating grin be the one I could hold accountable were something to happen to me in my own neighbourhood? Did everyone forget how our political system works?
The Conservative platform is off the economic track as it invokes analogies and comparisons that defy the economic fundamentals. Ontarians on June 12 have to vote on their future. They can choose to invest in Ontario's education, health, and infrastructure. Alternatively, they can choose to become the victims of false analogies.