To the editor:
On the Friday before Thanksgiving, Andrew Scheer finally released his Conservative platform for Canadians to see. Maybe he was hoping that nobody would notice that his plan promises 55 billion in cuts to services and programs that Canadians rely on.
Where have we seen this play before? Well here in Ontario, we are living with the results of Ford Conservative cuts. We see cuts to green energy projects that create jobs and reduce carbon emissions. Cuts to programs and supports for children who need specialized services. Cuts to education so class sizes grow. Cuts to health services leading to fewer beds in hospitals and longer wait times.
Andrew Scheer’s Cuts Plan attacks services but leaves lots of the details out. So who will suffer? Canadians under Stephen Harper’s austerity budget had terrible service because nobody was there to answer the phone, or process their EI claim or help with their tax return. Families waited up to two years to find out if their loved one was approved to join them in Canada. Seniors waited far too long for news on their benefits. Andrew Scheer wants to return to a Canada that didn’t work for everyone.
For sure it will be infrastructure, says Mr. Scheer. Things like dams that protect our cities from flooding, highways that are upgraded and divided to save lives and increase efficiency, and recreation centres that keep youth engaged in healthy activities. Maybe it will be housing, and people all across the country will have to wait even longer for a place to call home. No matter where these cuts happen, it’s clear. The jobs that go along with them will disappear too.
Andrew Scheer has also made it clear that he would cut skills training programs. Sound familiar? One of Doug Ford’s first actions was to make it harder for people to go to college or university. Not only is this bad for people and their families, it’s bad for our economy.
The Conservative plan will cut taxes for millionaires, and services for everyone else. Our Liberal plan does the opposite. We will cut taxes so middle class families get an average of 600 dollars more and the wealthiest one percent get zero. We will continue to invest in Northwestern Ontario.
Here in Thunder Bay, our Liberal government supported important infrastructure like speeding up the work to make Highway 11/17 safer and more efficient, adding 1,500 units of affordable housing, and creating flood resilient infrastructure across our region. We’ve also doubled Canada Summer Jobs, so no matter how small a community, a young person can get paid summer work experience.
We’ve invested billions into expanding health care in Ontario, and our plan is to invest more so every person in every part of our region can access a family doctor or quality mental health services.
It’s not the time for Ford-style cuts to the investments we need.
I’m for moving forward. For everyone. Are you with me?