Tim Hudak has said some pretty questionable things in the run-up to the Oct. 6 Ontario election.
The Progressive Conservative Leader, who led in early public opinion polls, has mused about the need for a return to buck-a-beer days, decreed he will use chain gangs to do work now done by the private sector, fumbled questions on his anti-abortion stance and done a flip-flop on all-day kindergarten — he railed against it in opposition but now says it’s a good thing his government would maintain.
This week, Hudak set the bar at a whole new level by refusing to commit to continue uploading the cost of social and other services from municipalities to the province, where they rightfully belong. Cities like Hamilton should be very afraid of what a Progressive Conservative government would do to municipal bottom lines if elected.
One of the things that has dogged Hudak is the widely held view that he’s the ideological offspring of former premier Mike Harris. With his comments to the Ontario Municipal Association, it’s clear that is the case. He said his government would honour the uploading commitments already made, but he would not say he would maintain existing agreements to see uploading continue through 2018. That means Hamilton will lose budget savings of $3 to $4 million every year beginning in 2013. And that means you can expect your tax bill to rise.
What Hudak is really saying is that he intends to solve the province’s budget issues by downloading the problem to towns and cities. He’s not unique in this. Harris was the king of downloading — remember his laughable pledge that it would be “revenue neutral”? It wasn’t and cities like ours are paying the price to this day.