Parties gearing for provincial election

The parties already are gearing up for the next provincial election in June, 2018.
All three leaders are rolling out policies to the public to see which ones will attract the most attention of voters in the coming months. With the Liberal government planning to announce a balanced budget in this fiscal year, we can expect all of the parties to discover new projects to spend money on.
Education, assisted housing, and hospitals all can expect increased funding in the coming budget. The Liberals, in fact, may have spent any surpluses before the election is held in their bid to extend their governing to 19 years.
Kathleen Wynne jumped first with her announcement to tax absentee landowners 15 percent for vacant properties. She also announced rent controls on homes built after 1991.
It was a defensive move to control the price of homes in Toronto and also to control the massive increases renters have been facing. It should play big in Toronto.
Lindsay, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton will be pilot communities for a basic minimum Ontario income pilot project. When the feds experimented with a similar project in the 1970s in Manitoba, it was discovered there were considerable savings in hospital admissions, as well as chronic diseases and mental health issues.
The federal “Mincome project” in Manitoba actually ended up saving money for the province and produced a bonus as high school graduation levels increased. The temporary project ran out of money and its results are still being studied.
Premier Wynne also has announced free college and university tuition for students from low- and middle-class families. Yes, we can be bought with our own money.
Not to be outdone, though with a more modest budget, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horvath has proposed a pharmacare program for Ontario residents that would cover 125 essential drugs.
The cost for one year is projected to be $475 million but the list of drugs is bound to grow over time.
Ms. Horvath already has promised a 30 percent reduction in hydro rates.
Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown is working diligently to not wound the party through self-inflicted wounds as previous leaders have done.
As an unknown, Brown has stuck to attacking the Liberal government on high energy rates and fiscal irresponsibility, and the private deals the government has brokered with teachers, hydro workers, and doctors.
Mr. Brown’s “Everyone gets a voice” at his table is being used as a consultation tool to bring more views into the tent and make the Conservative party more inclusive.
Whether his province-wide consultation can be effective over using specialists to develop policy remains to be seen.
We can be sure that many politicians will make numerous trips to the district to persuade you to vote for their party and the local candidates will be everywhere when voters gather at community events.
Welcome to election, 2018.

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