TORONTO - Some of you will have watched the first Leaders’ debate of an election campaign that has not yet officially begun.
In case you missed it, there is really only one election issue: Premier Wynne and her Liberal team.
Those who “don’t like her” won’t vote for her even if she were to pull into town on a fiery chariot pulled by a team of six stallions (choose your colour) and showering bystanders with nuggets of golden munificence. Hold on, she has actually been doing the last part of that for the better part of a month.
Kidding aside, this is when the electorate counts in any democracy. Like shareholders at an annual meeting, we can ask for an accounting of what was done with our assets and where our management team will take us over the next term. We’ll need the “truth” if we are to make an informed decision.
We will feast on the various “truths” dangled before our eye by those seeking to either keep office or to replace those currently in the chair. It should be informative. Through the dialogue maybe a convincing “reality” will emerge.
It won’t be easy to separate rhetoric from fact. For example, one Party’s Leader is attempting to establish a fact that would have us believe that Ontario has lost 300, 000 manufacturing jobs in the last 15 years. Sounds ominous. Requires deeper research.
At first scratching, it seems inconsistent with Federal claims that the current federal government has created 600,000 net new jobs in its 2 1/2 years in office. Were none created in Ontario? That too seems improbable. Last week, the mayor of Vaughan claimed that under his administration, the City saw an increase of 55, 000 net new jobs - primarily in manufacturing enterprises.
He gave the provincial government credit.
Some people still do not like the current government.
Have to get the Province back on its feet, they say.
The participation rate in the labour market stands at a level not seen since the year 2000. The unemployment rate at December 31, 2017 stood at 5.5%, just shy of what economists say constitutes “full employment”. There is a labour shortage … in virtually all sectors.
Too heavy a tax burden for the economy? What to do? Cut taxes for those who pay them and reduce the revenue that accrues to government for redistribution to things like medical services and schools? Doctors’ Associations and Hospital Boards are already complaining that their services are suffering from insufficient funding. “It’s the government’s fault”, says their advertising. The heath budget for 2017-2018 was $ 53.8 billion – the highest ever.
Which candidate’s truth will prevail is anyone’s guess today. We’ll try to stick to the reality we live.