logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo
star Bookmark: Tag Tag Tag Tag Tag
Canada

LILLEY: Ford goes on the offensive in battle over ‘cuts’

Premier Doug Ford went on the offensive on Tuesday to try and turn the tide in the war he is losing.

Ford, elected with a mandate to tame the deficits and debt racked up by 15 years of Liberal government and more than a decade of overspending, has been losing the battle for hearts and minds.

A poll, albeit a poll commissioned by a union representing provincial civil servants, showed the results.

Most Ontario residents don’t like the cuts Ford is making.

Which cuts?

Well, of course, the cuts to health care and education to be specific.

Now it doesn’t matter that the overall education spend under the Ford PC government is actually up 11% over the total spend of the Liberals or that health spending is up 5%.

None of that matters, the opposition to Ford, headed up by Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy and backed by Mayor John Tory, has convinced the province that cuts are real and deep.

I’m not saying that some things are not being cut, they are, but overall spending is up.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory during a vigil along the Danforth in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday July 25, 2018. (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun)

Each year, governments — regardless of political stripe — decide to fund some programs and stop funding others. The Ford government is no different.

Yet, they have been unable to counter the narrative that there are deep across the board cuts to spending.

It doesn’t help that there are real changes to issues like public health spending.

Cities across the province have been asked to pay a bigger share of their public health bill. The province doesn’t deny they are changing the funding formula, they simply say it is needed.

It might be, the province is facing a crushing deficit, the debt grew at a record clip under the Liberals and spending needs to be brought under control.

While claims of cuts in education and health care may be overstated — or outright lies in some cases — the cuts to municipal budgets, including public health are real and retroactive.

I asked the premier if he thought Tory had a point in saying the retroactive nature of public health cuts was unfair.

“I don’t think it’s unfair at all. We’re asking to work with him as a partner,” Ford said.

The premier said that his government isn’t cutting core public health services but asking the city to find savings in administration.

“If they decide to cut child care spaces, that’s going to be on their back,” Ford said.

Tory, added Ford, has options.

“He’s come up with two solutions: Either raise taxes or cut services. And we have a third solution for him. Let’s drive efficiencies,” Ford said.

The premier returns again and again to the issue of the debt and deficit and what it costs taxpayers. The interest on the debt is the fourth largest line item in the provincial budget.

“You can’t keep paying $36 million a day or $13.3 billion a year. We have to bring that down,” Ford said.

That is a staggering figure, especially when you realize that the $36 million a day doesn’t even knock down a penny of what is owed, it is simply the interest.

Tory said he wants to sit down with the province to find ways to work together and to find savings.

With Ford offering up meetings and outside auditors to find savings, Tory may regret the offer.

But taxpayers may end up winning.

All rights and copyright belongs to author:
Themes
ICO