Last week I wrote a piece laying out more of the cuts made by Conservatives in Ontario and Alberta and put forth the thought about how this could be a preview of what we might see under a Scheer Conservative government in Ottawa. I didn’t plan on it to be a series, but the Ford Conservatives are busy beavers when it comes to cutting services left, right and centre, which is especially noteworthy for a leader who said that not one single job would be lost in Ontario in his attempts to balance the budget. On that note, here are some details from just the past twenty-four hours:
I know that it’s fashionable to repeat that “not one job loss” line each time we see new stories like these, but at this point it’s becoming more morbid than a “I told you so” kind of throw away line. Looking at these newest cuts, it’s hard not to see the personal face on it. Seeing over 800 positions eliminated and 400 layoffs in various health departments is a devastating cut to those who just lost their jobs this morning and their families.
Then to see the start of the roll out of the cuts to autism services, with nearly 300 people out the door at just one centre, you can’t help but feel for those autistic children and their families that are having their lives torn apart. And then on top of it to make it all worse, seeing a Ford government official daring to call this an “adjustment” and then dumping salt on the wound by saying that the “market will right itself” is just too tone deaf for words. Guess what is not supposed to be subject to “market adjustments”? Important government services like autism care.
The Ford Conservatives obviously have shown no compulsion about breaking and trashing everything they’ve touched so far, as if that was the only way to make improvements or find efficiencies in anything. They’ve created crises all across Ontario’s government, and then dared to gripe when Ontarians call them out on it. It’s not just ugliness that smacks of petty behaviour, it’s also very bad for the province and the bottom line. Or at least that’s what Moody’s is saying this morning:
Yep, shocker of shockers, Moody’s is telling the Ford Conservatives that those magical efficiencies that he says that municipalities need to find simply don’t exist and that their cuts to municipalities will leave them over $2 billion short for the next decade. This is a prime example of when ideology smacks into a wall made up of reality, facts and basic math. And as a result, the report states that local governments will likely have to raise taxes, cut services or some combination of both. Yeah, that’s respect for taxpayers, right?
And just in case we wanted to assume this was just limited to Ontario, let’s check in on Alberta to see what’s going on out there with that new Conservative government. Surely this is all a one-off and everything is fine out there, right? Right?
200 teachers and 100 educational assistants might be lost because the Kenney Conservatives are leaving the Calgary Board of Education hanging over what their funding will actually be for the next school year. We saw this same story play out last year after the election of the Ford Conservatives in Ontario, and here we are again with a repeat in Alberta. Coincidence I’m sure.
With more than three months to go until the Federal election, we’re guaranteed to see more and more of these kinds of stories out there, and with the likes of Jason Kenney and members of the Ford cabinet hitting the campaign trail for Andrew Scheer, it will be more than fair to ask just how far that apple falls from the tree. Given that Scheer takes his lead from his provincial counterparts, it’s fair to see that applies in other areas too. It’s a safe assumption to make until proven otherwise, and that’s part of the burden that the Scheer Conservatives have to bear. We’ll see what cuts come next, but every one that comes not only hurts voters in provinces like Ontario, it reminds them what life under a Conservative government means. That could make a huge difference in the result of the Fall vote.