2.15.2012

Public interest must trump vested interests in tackling deficit

Toronto, ON - “Putting the public interest before vested interests is the most equitable and efficient way to eliminate Ontario’s record deficit,” says Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner.
Eliminating the deficit requires tackling vested interests in the province’s biggest budget categories: education, energy and health care, as well as bringing our tax system into the 21st century. The Green Party is putting forward long-term solutions to tackle the deficit:

One School System

Ontario must merge the Catholic and public school systems into a single French and English public system to build a high quality, financially responsible, and equitable education system.
Two school systems is an obvious source of duplication in the Ontario budget.
Ontario also has a financial and social obligation to end the discrimination that results from funding only one religious school system.

Stop borrowing billions to subsidize the wasteful use of energy

Ontario cannot afford to borrow 1 billion dollars each year to reduce electricity bills by a few dollars each month. The province should not play a shell game with our money for a program that benefits the wealthiest the most.
The misleadingly named Clean Energy Benefit should be scrapped and replaced with a targeted rebate program for low income families and seniors who need the help the most. Such a rebate would be more effective at a much lower cost.
We all save money with programs that help people save energy.

It’s healthy outcomes that matter

Ontario must move from a sick care system focused on hospitals to a home and community care system focused on illness prevention.  Funding priorities should focus on healthy outcomes and providing people the continuum of care they need to maintain health and treat illness at the lowest cost to the public purse.

Ontario's current orientation to treating sickness is costly and unsustainable. We can do better by keeping people out of hospital in the first place. This starts with a funding formula that pays doctors for promoting health, not the quantity of services they provide.
We need to empower all health professionals to operate at their full scope of practice.

Bring our taxes into the 21st century

The Green Party believes the government made a serious mistake in establishing a commission that only addresses government expenditures. We also need a modern tax system that provides sufficient revenues to deliver public services.  We need an equitable and efficient tax system that enriches quality of life and encourages job creation without damaging our natural capital.
The government should cancel corporate tax cuts that we can’t afford.
The Green Party calls on the McGuinty government to form a public commission on the reform and modernization of Ontario’s tax system.

Conclusion

“It’s time for politicians to stop punting problems to our kids,” says Schreiner.  “The Green party commends the Drummond Commission for tackling some tough issues.  Now the government needs to engage the public in implementing solutions.”

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