Monday, June 20, 2005
POLITICS AS USUAL: 50 WAYS TO FOOL THE ELECTORATE
As a public service, I wanted to print--in its entirety--the 50 broken promises of the McGuinty government--so far. These 50 (that's one every 12 days) appeared in Toronto Sun columnist Christina Blizzard's piece yesterday. I've left her commentary in. This is from a press release the Progressive Conservatives did on Friday.
Feel free to reproduce and distribute this list as you see fit. In fact, I encourage all of you to remind Ontarians how little the FIBs in this province value their word.
1. "I won't raise your taxes."
Who would ever forget this key pledge in the Oct. 2003 vote? McGuinty said he could deliver on all his pledges with no new tax hikes. In June 2004, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara delivered the biggest tax hike in the province's history -- a whopping $2.4 billion so-called "health levy."
2 and 3 (2) Balance the budget every year (election platform).
This morphed into balance the budget by 2007 in the 2004 budget. This year's budget predicted the books would be balanced by 2009 -- depending on the contingency fund.
4. Roll back tolls on the Hwy 407.
Right now, the Libs are hung up in court trying to renegotiate the deal. Meanwhile 407 tolls have gone up -- and the likelihood of the government winning this case is zero.
5. Fund medically necessary healthcare services
They delisted eye exams, physiotherapy and chiropractic.
6. Not add to the province's debt.
The debt is going up $75 a second. By 2007, the Libs will have added $15 billion.
7. Stop building 6,600 homes on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
An abysmal failure -- 6,000 are going ahead.
8. Abide by the balanced budget law.
They broke this in their first budget.
9. Cap hydro rates at 4.3 cents a kilowatt hour until 2006.
Check your bills. The second real piece of legislation -- introduced a month after taking office -- was a bill to hike hydro rates.
10. Respect MPPs and democracy.
Opposition amendments are rarely accepted. If you saw MPPs fleeing the House for the same sex vote, you'd know it's business as usual.
11. Allow non-cabinet MPPs to vote against government legislation.
I can only recall one vote where that's happened.
12. Provide autism treatment beyond age 6.
A cynical pledge and a complete betrayal of these most vulnerable families.
13. Reduce auto insurance rates by 10% within 90 days.
It took a lot longer than three months to see any reduction in their rates -- and most people are still waiting.
14. Reduce private consultants.
So far, they've hired former Liberal MP Elinor Caplan, former Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, long-time Jean Chretien loyalists John Manley and Peter Donolo. Need I go on?
15. Cancel P-3 hospitals in Brampton and Ottawa.
They've simply changed the deals from mortgages to leases. And the recent infrastructure announcement said more private public deals are on the way.
16. Public inquiry into meat inspection.
They conducted an "internal review."
17. Withdraw government appeal on Richmond landfill.
A controversial issue in Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky's Hastings-Frontenac-Lennox Addington riding. It's still not done.
18. Make Ontario's chief medical officer an independent officer of the legislature.
They fired Dr. Colin D'Cunha, then appointed Dr. Sheela Basrur -- then they passed the bill.
19. Govern with honesty and integrity
Well, you decide.
20. We will ensure that all developers play by the rules.
Cabinet ministers, including McGuinty, attended a $10,000 a pop private fundraising dinner with developers.
21. Better mental health care.
They closed three regional centres for the developmentally handicapped.
22. Value and support the public service.
Ask D'Cunha about that.
23. Divert 60% of municipal garbage to recycling by 2005.
We're actually trucking more trash to Michigan. Meanwhile, McGuinty's pondering taking the Americans to court over pollution?
24. Close private MRI and CT clinics.
Some haven't closed. Others are changed to not-for-profit.
25. Stop school closings.
In its 2005 report on school closings, the activist group People For Education estimates 14,000 students are in schools that will close in the next two years. Schools are closing at double the rate they did 10 years ago.
26. Provide adequate, multi-year funding for hospitals.
It was almost the end of the last fiscal year before hospitals knew what their budget would be.
27. Hire more than 1,000 teachers a year.
So far, under their plan to cap class size, they have hired about 1,200 total. They need to hire 4,000 over the mandate and they're nowhere close.
28. Hire 1,000 new police officers.
Funding was announced recently for 1,000 -- but the province provided funding for barely half of that. Municipalities must pick up at least half the cost for each officer.
29. Close the province's coal-fired plants by 2007.
Libs announced this week that the massive Nanticoke plant on Lake Erie -- the biggest polluter in the province -- will not close until 2009.
30. Hire 100 new parole and probation officers.
31. Double the number of apprentices.
There were 19,000 in 2003. The 2004 budget said by 2007, they'd get to 26,000 -- 12,000 short of their goal.
32. Create tens of thousands of new childcare spaces.
Only new money is from feds. Few spaces actually opened.
33. End the clawback of the federal child tax credit.
34. Build 20,000 new affordable housing units.
So far, only 2,300 in the 2004 budget speech.
35. Spend "every penny" of new health tax on healthcare.
According to 2004 budget, some is going to sewers, water treatment plants and tourism.
36. Cut ministers' pay for running a deficit.
While Libs say they took a cut, government estimates don't show the necessary $9,000 reduction in ministers' pay.
37. Eliminate barriers to foreign-trained professionals within one year.
38. Require trades professions to accept qualified immigrants within one year.
39. Repeal Tenant Protection Act within one year.
Still waiting for rent controls. Why? Because it's a dumb idea.
40. Establish a standing committee on education to hold yearly hearings.
No such committee exists.
41. Liberal promises would cost $5.9 billion.
Ministerial documents show their platform was costed at $11 bilion. They'v already raised taxes by $7 billion.
42. Provide legal rights to victims of crime.
They closed the victims of crime office.
43. Hire 8,000 nurses by the end of 2007.
In January, the Grits announced they were cutting 757 nurses. Now they're rehiring, but are nowhere near that pledge.
44. Make the Ministry of Agriculture a lead ministry.
Can you name the Ag minister? Farmers have marched on Queen's Park because they feel betrayed.
45. Invest in rural roads and bridges.
All the money in their infrastructure announcement went to 400 series highways. The gas tax goes only to cities.
46. Support the province's cities.
They cut $47 million from funding to municipalities. Mayor David Miller claims there's a $1.1 billion fiscal gap in what the province gives to the city.
47. Make sure health dollars are spent wisely.
The goverment is spending $170 million to close district health councils and replace them with a new bureaucracy -- the Local Health Networks.
48. Stop the waste of taxpayers' dollars.
Where to start? You choose.
49. Guarantee stable, long-term funding for rural communities.
In fact, rural communities have been cut most.
50. We will make sure Ontario stays at the forefront of world innovation in agricultural research and that this research works to help Ontario farmers.
The 2005-06 estimates show that the Agriculture, Research and Technology Transfer Program has been cut by $30 million since 2003-04.
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