If Wynne’s plan is to lose the election, it’s a winner

What's your plan, Premier?
What's your plan, Premier?

Kathleen Wynne wants you to ask her anything… OK,
So, Tim Hudak’s economic plan was reviewed and applauded by U.S. economist Benjamin Zycher, a staunch right wing conservative who doesn’t think much of Michelle Obama.  Ontario Liberals have grasped onto this as a stick to beat Hudak with.  The flaw in their Machiavellian plan, however, is that Zycher didn’t write the plan, he just commented on it.  The guts of the plan were lifted from Don Drummond’s advice to the provincial government.  Advice that was commissioned by the McGuinty Liberals from a leading Canadian economist of their choice.

Following the City of Toronto’s lead with its Core Service Review, the province hired Drummond to lead a panel of experts to come up with ideas on how to balance the province’s budget.  Drummond came up with 400 plus recommendations.  The Liberal government thanked him and promptly filed the report in a dark, lonely place never to be seen again until Hudak incorporated key elements of it in his campaign plan.

Bigger classrooms?  Drummond’s idea.  Reducing non-teaching education positions?  Drummond’s idea.  Ending the 30% tuition rebate and clean energy benefit?  Drummond’s ideas.

Hudak’s plan is bold.  It’s pragmatic and it’s not at all candy coated.  If anything, it’s been wrapped in an unnecessarily bitter coating.  Many of Hudak’s most pugnacious platform planks could easily be explained in a softer way.  Cutting 100,000 public sector jobs is really just rolling the public service back to 2006 staffing levels – three years into McGuinty’s first term.  There will still be almost 1 million taxpayer-funded public servants doing whatever they do.

Reducing the number of teachers makes sense when you look at Ministry of Education data that shows there’s 300,000 fewer students in Ontario schools than 10 years ago.  Why do we need more teachers?  There are 650 half-empty schools in Ontario and taxpayers spend $80 million a year maintaining empty spaces in provincial schools.

Contrast Hudak’s bitter pill with Kathleen Wynne’s… nothing.  She doesn’t have a plan at all.  Her budget was a catalogue of smoke and mirrors.  She’s going to spend more, increase the deficit and hope money falls from heaven in two years to balance the budget on time, regardless.

Perhaps, the Liberal master plan is… to lose this election.  They can take four years off while the PC’s incur the wrath of the public sector by driving through essential reforms, then come back into government after the heavy lifting is done.  That plan may actually work.