Ontario Politics - The Progressive Conservative Platform / by Simmon Li

So, yesterday, the Progressive Conservatives, led by Tim Hudak, released their platform for the upcoming provincial election called The Change Book. It's a nice name, but I think that's about as far as the platform goes in regards to change. My opinion of most of it is that it really is a platform meant to address the symptoms of the dysfunction that we see in the aspects of government. Contra its name, the book doesn't so much offer any change in the fundamental sense, but rather, offers a cheap imitation of it. I don't think the McGuinty government has necessarily made the best choices when it comes to implementation, but I do think the general thrust of the policy is good for us and our future. Real change takes investment, and that's what we've been doing.

Specifically, in the change book, I think the health care and transportation policies are backwards. The rhetoric of "war on the car" is certainly a signal to me that the transportation policy is going in the wrong direction. Sharing the gas tax revenue really doesn't quite make a lot of sense from an allocation perspective. I mean, is it unfair that everyone pays for the tax that then goes to cities to improve their roads or transport infrastructure? Sure. But then, why don't we do the same with income tax revenue? Or health care taxes? Everyone pays for it, so let's keep the revenue collected local, as opposed to where the need it. Their health care policy also promises to fix the symptoms. There is no fundamental promise of better healthcare. Just more.

The education policy is populist, for sure. While I could certainly use more money from the government as a post-secondary student, I understand the value to having immigrants come here to learn. It makes sense to support them. They become Ontarians, they develop new trade networks and connections for us, and help to enrich the Ontario economy in the future. And here, it brings me to the over-all thrust of the PC platform that I find disturbing. There is no focus on investment in the future. The over-all platform is an investment in now, which doesn't really leave a better future for our children and their children. The three major areas of policy fail to look forward: energy, transportation, and health care.

I understand there is a very massive movement out there that believes our economic and fiscal policy is harmful for Ontario (taxes, spending, etc). But to me, it's the difference between an expense and an investment. Like I said, I don't completely agree with how everything was implemented, but the general direction of policy is progressive and forward-looking.

Hudak's platform seems to focus exclusively in the near term, and doesn't really strike me as forward looking. This is just a first impression, I think I'll read it again when I can get past all the stuff I don't like and see what else is in there.