No doubt you will recall the idiom of author Charles Caleb Colton more readily than his name.
He is the originator of the famous line, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” As I read the headlines and watch daily newscasts I see a seemingly endless line of “good news” announcements by the Ontario Liberals. Each time I think of Colton’s comment each and every time.
You can’t help but notice how many “new” initiatives and programs have recently been tumbling out of Queen’s Park. For years now it has been abundantly clear that the NDP is the only party that has consistently stood up, year after year, for the interests of hard working breadwinners, average families and today’s struggling youth in Ontario. With this sudden lofting of Kathleen Wynne’s good news balloons, it might almost make one think that the Liberals are desperately trying to woo Ontario voters who go to the polls in less than a year from now. But then, only a skeptic would think such things. Right?
For 14 years, the Liberal government and Kathleen Wynne have made life tougher in Ontario. It’s harder for families to make ends meet and it’s a struggle for too many small businesses to stay afloat.
Just think for a moment about all the little plums that Wynne has been dropping recently which were clearly first proposed in the Legislature by the New Democrats. We’ve heard about the Liberal plans to resolve escalating costs for electricity that will only be effective in the short term, lasting until the next election rolls around. Even now, months after the NDP called on the Liberal government in the legislature to stop the 20 per cent rate hike on hydro delivery charges, Kathleen Wynne has done nothing. Each new rate increase is pushing many in the province past their breaking point. Instead of listening to people and stopping the sell-off of Hydro One, Premier Wynne went ahead and put her party’s political interests ahead of the public interest. She has handed majority control over Hydro One over to private shareholders, and she is doing nothing to stop the utility from jacking up hydro rates for Ontarians even as their CEO gets a 500 per cent pay raise.
We heard about plans to provide a drug program for young (and predominantly healthy) Ontarians, leaving the rest of the province, especially our aging seniors, on the hook for paying for pricey medication. The NDP proposed a universal Pharmacare plan that would help all Ontarians. Too many people are already living below the poverty line and can’t afford to pay high annual deductibles of $900 for programs such as Trillium.
We’ve heard Kathleen Wynne dismiss the NDP proposal for a $15 minimum wage as dangerous to our economy, saying it would lead to widespread unemployment. In fact, studies show no cause-and-effect link between higher minimum wages and higher unemployment. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives studied the relationship between minimum wages and employment and found there was no consistent evidence that minimum wages affect employment rates either upward or downward. Ontarians deserve nothing less than a $15 minimum wage, because someone who goes to work 40 hours each week shouldn’t be struggling below the poverty line. Too many people are working two or more low wage, part-time jobs just to pay their hydro bills and to put food on the table. After years of turning her back on low income wage earners, all of a sudden Wynne now says it is the right thing to do.
Kathleen Wynne knows she let Ontarians down and has even apologized for her errors regarding Ontario’s energy strategy. So now she’s resorting to stealing ideas from the NDP. We watch the replays on nightly news as Kathleen Wynne steals NDP ideas but then goes on to really fumble the ball when it comes to implementing them and getting them right. The Liberals like to take our ideas, claim them as their own and then mess around with them so much that they don’t actually come out to be at all what the people really hope for.
This sad situation sums up Wynne's attitude toward Ontario families. Only New Democrats have consistently put forward plans and proposals year after year that look to restore our healthcare system, economy and quality of life to the level that the people of Ontario deserve.
Michael Mantha MPP/député