On Monday, I got to hear Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan leak a few more details about what will come in the Drummond Report, and what recommendations the government is thinking about cherrypicking for the upcoming budget. Today we'll get to see the full report, but don't worry -- if the past is any example, the government will take its sweet time deciding what to take, leaving working people, small business owners, families and people across the province wondering what services that they rely on and pay for are about to get axed.
For what feels like weeks now, the government has been leaking one thing or another that may or may not be in the Drummond report. In fact, in the case of the leak to the Toronto Sun, it took the Liberals scant hours to retract their high level leak.
The government is playing ridiculous and unprofessional games with the electorate and with opposition parties who--at least in the case of New Democrats--have a genuine will to get down to work on the job MPPs from every party were elected to do.
Earlier this week, I stood at the back of the Economic Club with Michael Prue, our finance critic who had just returned from a budget consultation with folks in Northern Ontario, listening to the Minister. In fact, if you're not going to read any further, this sentence should sum up a big difference: Today, Duncan leaked details of a plan that they got from an unelected Bay Street bank economist, while Michael Prue has spent the last three weeks on the road talking to everyday Ontarians, hearing about the services that they need and about some of the practical ways we can save money and put people first.
I think it's important to note the difference between what Michael and Dwight are talking about because it demands that a question be asked: What did we as voters in this province vote for?
New Democrats have been walking their talk: We are a voice at Queen's Park that puts everyday people first. We have been working consistently for affordability, clarity, and fairness.
I don't recall the Liberals promising to axe Service Ontario. In fact, I recall the Premier promising to keep it public.
I don't recall the Liberals campaigning on a fire sale of public assets
I don't recall the Liberals campaigning on taking the lion's share of the budget process out of the public eye.
They made a lot of campaign promises, but they were not these promises. The reason that we have elections in the first place is so voters can pick among the promises parties make.
It leaves me wondering: Where do we go from here? It's a tough one, because the Liberals are already distancing themselves from this report that they commissioned and is coming out today. They seem to be using it primarily to soften Ontarians up for a nasty budget.
New Democrats have been clear: Our doors are open. No single person--bank economist or otherwise--is going to have all the answers. Politicians need to work together, hold our consultations in the open, and listen to Ontarians from all walks of life whether we agree with them or not. We have got to do better. New Democrats are committed to doing what our members were elected to do: Put people first.