Saturday, January 18, 2014

Good Tim, Bad Tim

Tim's Contemplative Face

Anyone who reads this blog regularly is probably aware that I am no fan of Ontario's Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak. A callow lad at best, a duplicitous mini-demagogue at worst, the lad who would be premier has always struck me as one with limited imagination and no real vision, content as he is to spout the usual right-wing bromides (unions bad, workplace democracy good).

With a spring election looking increasingly likely in Ontario, young Tim has lately shown his egregious contempt for the electorate's intelligence by attempting to reinvent himself with a private member's bill he is planning to introduce that promises the creation of a million jobs over eight years, a plan that has come under considerable criticism. For me, what is most striking is that there is no reference in this bill to Hudak's previously-touted mantra of union-busting as the path to prosperity.

Are we to take it that Tim simply misspoke on all those previous occasions about the need for euphemistic right-to-work legislation? It is indeed difficult to reconcile his anti-union screeds with this rhetoric:

“Your odds of getting a minimum-wage job – they’ve doubled under the current government’s approach, supported by the NDP. If you want a good, steady job, with benefits and better take-home pay, look at my plan. It will create a million of these good, well-paying jobs in our province of Ontario again. But we’ve got to make these choices to get on this path.”

Rather beguiling, his promises, aren't they?

As usual, Toronto Star readers are exercising their critical-thinking skills and have much to say about Tim's plan. There are a number of very good ones, and I offer the following only as representative examples:

So Tim Hudak is going to save Ontario. He is going to freeze the public service. Perhaps he didn’t notice that freezing the public service wages over the past five years to give tax breaks to corporations did not create jobs. Instead we lost 45,000 jobs last month. What did Kellogg’s and Heinz do with their tax windfall? Those two stalwarts of Ontario called the moving trucks.

He is going to create one million jobs. That would be 400,000 more than we need, or will the unemployed need two jobs to make a living at those created? His plan to reduce public sector jobs and replace them with low-paid private sector jobs will not help the economy and training for skilled trades won’t produce workers for these former government jobs.

Maybe by driving down the standard of living Mr. Hudak believes that he can lure back some of the manufacturing jobs other Tory governments helped leave Ontario. Surely cutting the green energy subsidies won’t create but will eliminate skilled jobs. Training skilled workers is a great idea if there are jobs for them to go to after the training.

Hudak has no plan for reducing energy costs even though he cites this as a reason for job losses. Too many friends at OPG?
He is from an era where cutting taxes was the mantra to create jobs. Employers who get tax cuts keep the money. They rarely invest in job creation without government welfare assistance. Families that get tax relief need the money to meet rising energy and fuel costs. Tax cuts will not now, nor have they ever, created jobs. Ideas from the 20th century that didn’t work then definitely won’t work now. Ontario has a business friendly tax structure and we are still bleeding jobs.

Do we need recycled Mike Harris ideas? I think not. Hudak’s plan is to continue the Conservative ideology of lowering the standard of living for working Ontarians and giving more to the 1 per cent will not save Ontario. We need to concentrate on the economy with 21st century solutions that will create sustainable jobs that pay above the poverty line.

Bob File, Hamilton

I am wondering what exactly Ontario Tory leader Tim Hudak is referring to when he states, as part of his five-point plan for improving Ontario’s economy, that he will “end the bureaucratic runaround that inhibits job creation.”

Is he talking about lifting environmental restrictions on businesses and resource development? Is he talking about changing laws around workplace safety? Is he talking about changing laws relating to the use of part-time and temporary workers — so called “precarious employees” — who already have to scrabble to make ends meet without the benefit of job security, benefits and an employer provided pension?

Laws that favour business owners and resource developers over Ontario workers and citizens line the pockets of the rich while eroding quality of life for average Ontarians.

Brian O’Sullivan, Stouffville

Tim's Mad Face


  1. I am mystified, Lorne, that both Hudak and Harper tout their qualifications as economists.

    Those claims strike me as totally bogus.

    1. Agreed, Owen, as is their claim to have the best interests of the Canadian people at heart.

  2. Hudak has declared himself on the issue of so-called “workplace freedom” from “forced unionism”.

    But let’s take a look at where the anxiousness for political power is taking the Ontario CRAP Party. On 17 January, the G&M’s Adam Radwanski reported that “based on conversations with party insiders, it’s an open question whether right-to-work will make it to the Tories’ platform.”

    Don’t fall for it. Even if they don’t state it as platform or policy, given a majority, they will do it. Don’t be as stupid as this journalist, the “party insiders” and Hudak take you to be. Tim is permanently damaged goods. And his rotten political party should not be worthy of any consideration until at least two generations following a formal renouncement of its juvenile version of market libertarianism. The RTW policy will take us nowhere beyond the requirement to provide government income support programs for the soon-to-be working poor.

    1. An analysis I cannot disagree with in any way, John.