Oh, For a Little Accountability

We are all well aware of the failings of the Ontario Liberal government. Due to policy mismanagement and incompetence, at least $1.1 Billion in tax dollars has been spent fruitlessly to cancel planned gas plants. Wasted money has also been spent shutting down Ontario Northland. More recently, questions are surrounding over $400 million spent on a Toronto research facility.

This is an outrage. Any government that has shown this level of incompetence deserves to be thrown to the opposition benches. That some of these items are appearing now after the gas plant cancellation costs is further aggravating, since it gives every indication that the Ontario Liberals are not learning from their mistakes and correcting their behaviour. Ontarians, like all voters everywhere, deserve a government that takes responsibility for their mistakes, and does their utmost to ensure that similar things don’t happen again. For this reason, the election is heavily about accountability. We need to elect a government that is more responsible with our tax dollars.

But what is the alternative? One of them is Tim Hudak’s Conservatives, that are basing their campaign on a promise to use tax cuts and harrowing reductions in regulations (such as shutting down the Ontario College of Trades) to create a million jobs.

Or, are they? Soon after Hudak announced this very sexy round number, economists have come forward questioning the math. The most serious allegation is that Hudak’s team counted person-years of work rather than actual jobs, over an eight year period. Most people would assume that created jobs are permanent and multi-year, but under Hudak’s original math, a person who gets a job at the start of Hudak’s plan for eight years hasn’t worked one job, he or she has worked eight. Rather than a million jobs plan, Hudak’s team appears to have brought forward something closer to a 125,000 jobs plan.

This would seem to be a pretty open and shut case. Numbers are numbers. Either Hudak and his team counted person-years as jobs, or they haven’t. Many, many economists have said that they have, and most of these economists appear to be non-partisan. The one economist who has defended Hudak’s plan as a million jobs plan is the guy who supplied the original numbers, who is not exactly impartial when it comes to handling criticism.

But Hudak is sticking to his guns, and this is a problem. If Hudak’s team has made a mistake, I would have a lot more respect for Hudak if he owned up to that mistake, altered his plan, corrected his behaviour, and moved on. That’s how decent people should behave in all things. That’s how accountability is supposed to work.

If Hudak refuses to accept responsibility for his mistakes, just as he refused to accept responsibility for by-election losses (blaming the unions, instead), how is he likely to behave as Premier when his government’s mistakes start hurting Ontarians in their pocketbooks?

We’re angry at the Liberals because they don’t appear to be listening to us. They’re making stupid mistakes and they’re not changing their behaviour. Now we have a major alternative to the government refusing to come clean about his own mistakes. Hudak doesn’t appear to be listening to people, either. That’s not a lot of choice for Ontarians. We deserve better.

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