Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why I'm Glad I Wasn't A Math Teacher

While those heard-headed pragmatists who rule the world today often disdain 'soft' subjects like English literature, sociology, and a host of other disciplines that require nuanced, as opposed to blunt thinking, I am glad that I was an English teacher instead of one dispensing the wonders of mathematics.

Even though he might have been what we used to euphemistically call 'a difficult-to-serve client,' young Tim Hudak these days must be causing his old math teachers (and probably their entire brethren of colleagues) some embarrassment and grief, for one simple reason: they just did not meet his needs, clearly reflected in the fact that his figures just don't add up.

During this Ontario election campaign, the would-be but failed wunderkind is traipsing throughout the province promising a remarkable 'million jobs' if only less enlightened souls entrust him with the task on June 12. But whatever arcane formula he is using to rescue us from our weaker moments of compassion for our fellow citizens and the necessary accompanying progressive legislation seems, to put it politely, flawed.

First, to his figures as reported in The Toronto Star:

Based on the previous decade’s average, 523,200 jobs would develop over eight years if he did nothing.

Lowering corporate taxes from 11.5 per cent to 8 per cent would generate an additional 119,808 jobs.

Ending wind and solar energy subsidies would spark another 40,364 jobs and cutting the regulatory burden of red tape would mean an extra 84,800 new private-sector positions.

Revamping Ontario’s restrictive apprenticeship programs would mean 170,240 jobs.

Hudak believes another 96,000 jobs would come from public transit expansion in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

In his second mandate — after the 2018 election — he would reduce personal income taxes to generate 47,080 jobs.

Have these numbers been vetted and approved by economists? Well, kinda, sorta, not really.

Apparently, as reported in The Ottawa Citizen, the Tories sought the imprimatur of one Benjamin Zycher, a Californian who’s associated with the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, intellectual cousins of Canada’s Fraser Institute.

The only problem is that Zycher never looked at the Hudak plan:

His work was done months before the current election campaign and it’s not based on the specifics of what Hudak says he would do as premier. It’s a more philosophical take on eliminating regulations, giving up on green energy, cutting corporate taxes, and reducing trade barriers with other provinces.

Is this kind of faith-based, aspirational plan something that the voters of Ontario want to embrace?

As reported in today's Star, it would seem that young Tim has underestimated the discernment of the Ontario electorate:

Nearly two-thirds of Ontarians disapprove of Tim Hudak’s plan to cut 100,000 public servants to streamline government, a new poll suggests.

The Forum Research survey also found‎ 63 per cent do not think the Progressive Conservative leader will be able to create his promised 1 million new jobs, while 26 per cent feel he can deliver and 11 per cent don’t know.

Similarly, 26 per cent approve of cutting 100,000 public-sector workers — such as teachers and bureaucrats — while 62 per cent do not and‎ 11 per cent aren’t sure.

Parenthetically, one can't help but wonder if disapproval would be even higher if people knew that Tim's plan doesn't involve just the dismissal of faceless bureaucrats but also includes nursing home caregivers, educational assistants, front-line educators, homecare workers, etc., while upping corporate welfare through a 30% reduction in the corporate tax rate.

Rarely are voters offered such a dramatic and opposing vision. The embrace and elevation of the self to the exclusion of concern for the collective. I guess at least for that, we should thank Tim Hudak.

For more about young Tim, check out this comment by one of my blog readers.


  1. I am getting the impression, Lorne, that the Dippers are waging their campaign almost entirely against the Liberals, not Hudak.

    1. I think in some ways, Mound, Horwath is a fellow Hudak traveller, sounding more and more fiscally conservative each day. Now she is talking about eliminating the 'gravy train' through a savings and accountability minister:

      The goal of the new "savings and accountability" minister would be to find cuts of 0.5 per cent in spending — about $600 million a year on the province's $120-billion annual budget.

      "I'm the sort of New Democrat who also believes we need to count the pennies," Horwath said at the legislature.

      "There is a lot of waste in the system — I know that for sure."

      - See more at:

  2. The Dippers enabled Stephen Harper. Could Horwath do the same for Hudak? The NDP is adrift from its moorings.

    1. They will have much to answer for if Hudak forms the next government, Owen.