Craig Saunders —
Fred Hahn says he’s sure Andrea Horwath didn’t mean to sound like other politicians, but worries that’s what voters might think when she says the government spends too much and when she promises to cut millions from the budget. The president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario was responding to news Horwath would cut $600 million in spending and create a new cabinet position to oversee future reductions.
Noting Ontario already spends less per capita on services than any other province, Hahn says he agrees that governments have wasted money on public-private partnerships and the gas plant fiasco, but says savings should be reinvested to stop further cuts to public services.
“Let’s be clear,” Hahn said, “the government doesn’t have a spending problem, it has a revenue problem. The mantra about government overspending is an illusion used to justify cuts in public spending, something more and more voters are seeing through.”
“Instead of a new cabinet minister to oversee half a percent in annual spending cuts, Ontario needs a minister devoted to finding new revenue sources that will protect the public services that support our economy,” said Hahn. “If Andrea Horwath wants to distinguish herself from Kathleen Wynne and Tim Hudak, that would be a better way to do it.”
Hahn says the biggest threat to Ontario comes from Tim Hudak’s promise to cut more than 100,000 jobs and further reduce corporate taxes. Today’s announcement risks confusing voters because it employs similar rhetoric about government overspending, he says.
“Liberals and Conservatives have already cornered the market on talk about government overspending,” says Hahn. “Voters really need an alternative.”
Hahn said most of Ontario’s 240,000 CUPE members know cuts are a bad idea and he will urge them to challenge all candidates, including NDP candidates, to make clear their commitment to protecting budgets that support public services and good