The Toronto Star has pulled out all the stops this election trying to secure a majority for Kathleen Wynne. Like the Toronto Sun, they believe the purpose of the fourth estate is to influence democratic elections.
The Star’s main campaign theme is based on the faulty premise that because Andrea Horwath has taken the NDP rightwards towards the center she is a “right-wing populist.”
Left vs. Right populism
Andrea is definitely a populist. But she is a left-leaning pro-people populist. Her goal is to make life easier for struggling families being gouged with Liberal service cuts, user fees, eco fees, regressive taxes and endless hydro-rate hikes.
But this shouldn’t be confused with right-wing pseudo-populism. That consists of tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich and a costly and ineffective war on drugs and crime.
So let’s just see how The Star’s electioneering measures up to the facts:
Which platorm is more progressive?
|Minimum wage||$11/hr indexed to inflation.||$12/hr indexed to inflation.||NDP|
|Corporate taxes||Keep McGuinty's $2.4-billion a year in tax cuts.||Reverse tax cuts by $760-million a year. Close tax loopholes.||NDP|
|Income taxes||Raise taxes on top 2% by $600-million.||Raise taxes on top 2% by $600-million (taken from 2014 budget.)||Tie|
|$29-billion TISAP transit plan||Support plan.||Support plan.||Tie|
|Social assistance & disability rates||1% rate hike.||Index to inflation (average 2% increase a year.)||NDP|
|Personal Support Worker wages||Raise by $4/hr.||No committment.||OLP|
|Child care||Complete roll-out of full-day kindergarten||$260-million investment in child care spaces||NDP|
|Electricity rates||33% hike next 3 years, cut debt charge, 10% low-income assistance program.||Cut HST & debt charge, plan to reduce rates.||NDP|
|Extended pension plan||Ontario plan. Maclean’s: good for high-income earners, bad for low-income.||Like other provinces, wait until 2015 federal election before proceeding.||NDP|
|Ontario Child Benefit||Increase $8.33/month (8.3%), index to inflation ($1310/yr.)||Increase $8.33/month (8.3%), index to inflation ($1310/yr.)||Tie|
|Student tuition||No new measures.||Freeze tuition and 0% interest on student loans.||NDP|
|Child nutrition||$11.6-million a year increase.||$15-million a year increase.||NDP|
|Dental care for kids||Expand coverage for 70,000 kids.||Expand coverage for 100,000 kids.||NDP|
|Health clinics||Open 36 new health clinics.||Open 50 24-hour health clinics, alternative to ER.||NDP|
|Cutting ‘waste’||$1.25-billion a year.||$600-million a year.||NDP|
Clearly it’s absurd to suggest Andrea’s NDP is “right-wing” or even to the right of the Liberal party.
Andrea’s platform is cautiously progressive, not ideological. But this is the best way to get democratic support for real action.
If the deficit turns out to be a bigger problem than anticipated, the NDP is the only party that can be trusted to cancel more tax cuts for the rich instead of inflicting more pain on the people.
Progressive voters also don’t have to worry about Andrea campaigning from the left to govern from the right. Andrea’s top priority is people, not corporations.
The NDP platform is based on revenue sources from the Liberal 2014 budget. This includes things like the cancelation of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit on electric bills and the $600M income tax hike on the top 2% income earners.