EDITORIAL: Their promises, your money

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Here’s a question for Ontario taxpayers as the June 2 provincial election campaign gathers steam and the party leaders are making promises the same way that flowers bloom in the spring.

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Of all the challenges facing the province right now, would your priority be spending $1 billion of your tax money hiring 10,000 unionized teachers so that Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca will make Ontario’s teacher unions very happy?

That’s the election promise he made Thursday, saying that it would be the cost of hiring 10,000 teachers to achieve a “hard cap” of 20 students in every class in every school in Ontario.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario endorses this promise.

Taxpayers, however, might want to keep in mind that Del Duca was economic development minister in former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s government that lost power in the 2018 election after turning Ontario into the world’s most indebted sub-sovereign borrower.

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In Wynne’s 2017 budget, the Liberals said they would balance the provincial books in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

A year later, in their 2018 budget heading into that year’s election, they produced a new budget projecting six annual deficits in a row, with the Liberals not balancing the books until 2024.

Thus, taxpayers might want to take Del Duca’s estimate that hiring 10,000 teachers will cost them $1 billion with a grain of salt.

Also Thursday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath promised free dental care for families earning less than $90,000 a year while subsidizing families earning up to $200,000 annually 50% of the costs of their dental care, if they don’t have private insurance.

It’s not good enough that the Trudeau government just announced a national dental care plan, Horwath said.

She wants to speed it up at a cost to Ontario taxpayers, she said, of $680 million a year to start and $380 million annually once the federal program fully kicks in.

In other words, Ontario taxpayers — many of whom already have private dental insurance — will be paying twice to subsidize dental care plans through their taxes — once as Ontario taxpayers and once as federal taxpayers.

Ontario families might want to consider whether that’s the wisest investment of their tax dollars, as well as that Horwath has a similar plan for pharmacare.

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