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Hudak & Wilson: McGuinty is out of ideas, so he can have ours

(December 9, 2011) The fall session of the Legislature has exposed a Liberal government that’s out of gas and out of ideas, and now simply stalling on action to address job losses and runaway spending, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.

Hudak was joined by Ontario PC House Leader Jim Wilson (Simcoe-Grey) in recounting a string of opportunities the government has fumbled to address a mounting economic crisis of its own making.

“Throughout this session, my priorities were – and remain – to safeguard those things Ontarians value most, such as a sound education system and health care we can all depend on,” Hudak said. “That also includes our children’s futures, which today risk being ransomed by mounting government debt.”

But, he added, the McGuinty Liberals squandered the session by ignoring repeated warnings that action must be taken on runaway spending: “First came the Auditor General’s pre-election report that logged spending increases of seven per cent a year, compounding every single year of this government’s time in office,” Wilson said.

Then came warnings from noted economist Don Drummond that spending in most Ministries would need to be capped annually at one per cent for six years, if Ontario were ever to see a balanced budget again, Hudak said.

“Then came warnings from several countries that government subsidies for so-called green energy jobs were in fact job-killers. And now, the Auditor General again, with a catalogue of failed social engineering, sloppy oversight, wasted tax dollars and just plain dumb choices.”

As the session proved that Premier McGuinty is plainly out of ideas for turning Ontario’s economy around, “He’s welcome to mine,” Hudak said. These include:

•    a mandatory public sector wage freeze, so government employees share in the sacrifices their private sector counterparts are making every day
•    a top-to-bottom program review of all spending areas to find efficiencies
•    a full examination of what services government should and should not provide and what better delivery mechanisms are available
•    fixing a broken public sector salary arbitration system, and
•    a package of job creation measures, including  a modern apprenticeship system and a rollback of needless regulation.

Hudak said the Ontario PC Caucus approach to weighing government initiatives was modelled on the “stress test” process for banks following the market meltdown of 2008, using specific criteria to determine their viability.

“Our ‘stress test’ criteria included action on our debt and jobs crisis, measurable action to rein in spending, more accountability for taxpayers and a better environment for job creation.

On every measure, the Throne Speech failed that test. But more important, so did the McGuinty Liberal government.”

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