Saturday, May 31, 2014

Why Ontario NDP platform is left of Liberal platform

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.

Compare

So let’s just see how The Star’s electioneering measures up to the facts:

Which platorm is more progressive?

Policy Liberal NDP Winner
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

Conclusion

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.

Notes

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.

The Ontario Child Benefit increase included in the Liberal 2014 budget is also apparently supported by the NDP. So is the Liberal 30% Off Tuition Grant.

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