For our previous articles on the Ontario PC Party election platform published recently, please click here: http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/662942
Many of the very small and explicit promises announced in the “People's Guarantee” by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario leader Patrick Brown are not reported by main stream media. These promises are either measurable or quantifiable and should be easily monitored by Ontario citizens. I have now researched and identified some of the more relevant ones below:
1) To raise the minimum wage $14 to $15 an hour in a responsible manner, phasing it in over 4 years - This action will be more sensible and save many potential job losses in Ontario. The minimum wage will go to $14 from $11.60 on January 1, 2018 (an increase of over 20%) and it is irreversible, likely costing many jobs to disappear. Under another Liberal government, it is scheduled to rise to $15 on January 1, 2019 and impacting the job market again negatively.
2) Freeze fees on driver's licenses and vehicle registration for 2 years and allow them to be renewed for longer periods to save more money - Since 2013, driver examination fees have gone up 133% while vehicle renewal sticker fees have risen 33% to $120 a year. These changes will save Ontarians some money every year.
3) Allow Traditional Chinese Medicine licensing exams to be written in commonly accepted Chinese languages - To become a licensed practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the province requires the applicants to pass an exam that is only available in English or French and not in Chinese languages which are commonly the preferred languages of practitioners and patients. This should facilitate and speed up the process to increase the number of practitioners within the system.
4) Eliminate the “eco” taxes charged by the Ontario Tire Stewardship immediately and shut down this agency as soon as possible - The program began in 2009 and each consumer pays $4.25 as an “eco fee” when a tire is purchased. The private agency designated by the Liberal government to recycle Ontario’s used tires has spent thousands on wine tastings, fine dining, a boat cruise, luxury hotels, and donations to the Liberal Party of Ontario.
5) Ensure hunting and fishing license fees are spent on dedicated purposes and not going into administrative benefits - The so-called special purpose account (SPA) was originally set up in 2005, with the money to be spent on programs to improve hunting and angling in the province. As it turned out, the over $70 million a year from an Ontario fund specifically designated for angling and hunting was used to support staff salaries and benefits for staff performing fish and wildlife management activities. This was first discovered in 2016 when no funding can be provided for local wildlife projects requested by a Southwestern Ontario community group.
6) Renewal of driver's licence and health cards to be done on line. Going to a Service Ontario location to renew health cards can be an annoying and time-consuming activity. An online portal will be created to deal with this issue.
7) Making exterior school bus camera systems mandatory to prevent drivers from illegally driving by stopped and signalling school bus - These acts are illegal and endanger student safety. Operators for public and private school bus services shall have their costs offset against revenues from fines collected from law-breaking drives.
8) Appoint a task force to study access shortages to family doctors and specialists. Access to a family doctor is still a concern for many Ontarians, particularly in rural and Northern Ontario while access to specialists is a concern across the province.
While some of these are new initiatives, many are corrections and/or improvement to existing government programs. How the voters will view these promises and whether they will switch their votes to the Progressive Conservatives based on these platforms remains to be seen. In order to reach the voters, the PC's should focus on just a few hot-button items. The long lists of promises will only serve to distract the voters. Working on a few items that resonate with the people's dissatisfaction with the premier will go a long way towards toppling an unpopular government that has been hanging around for over a decade.
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