Yet it was still a surprise when Hudak announced his plan to fire 100,000 hard working Ontarians in his first two years in office. It was a surprise because it was so audacious in its recklessness. Can we trust a politician promising to create jobs when his top priority is throwing 100,000 people out of work?
Of course, the damage will not be limited to the 100,000 unlucky individuals whose jobs will be cut – the teachers, home care workers, food inspectors, road safety workers, crown prosecutors, among others. Such massive job cuts will have repercussions for every facet of the economy, every public service, and every community in Ontario.
When the spin-off impacts on the wider economy are considered, economists say Hudak’s plan will lead to 167,000 job losses across the province. This will drive unemployment up from 7.4 percent to 9.7 percent – higher than it was at the height of the recession. Some communities, especially those already hit hard by the recession and loss of good jobs in manufacturing, will fare even worse.
Research by labour experts has found that Tim Hudak’s cuts would result in the loss of 10,555 jobs in Hamilton and drive unemployment up by 2.6% percent to an unacceptable 9.0% percent.
The Ontario Federation of Labour and CUPE have detailed the devastating city-by-city impact of Hudak’s jobs cut plan for more than 30 cities and towns across the province. The numbers indicate that the loss of so many decent jobs will devastate communities: fewer customers to shop at local businesses, eat in restaurants, and support downtowns; less disposable income to spend on community festivals and sporting events or donate to local charities; and a weakened property tax base for funding municipal services, such as transportation, water and libraries.
The cuts will also no doubt hit our young people particularly hard. Ontarians in their twenties are already struggling with high unemployment rates while carrying heavy student debt loads.
Finally, a government cannot pretend to offer quality public services and value for money if they fire so many of the workers delivering those services. Beware the politician who guts services under the guise of waste – the educational assistant supporting a child with special needs is not waste, the paramedic who saves a life is not waste.
The sad irony is that while Hudak intends to punish hard working Ontarians, he will reward the one percent with tax giveaways to wealthy corporations. That’s right; Hudak plans to reduce corporate taxes by a whopping 30 percent – representing $3.42 billion in lost revenue each year – leaving even less to pay for quality public services that all Ontarians rely on.
This is Tim Hudak’s plan for the province. Ontarians cannot afford such a risky scheme.