Eli Ridder | The Avro Post
The Ontario election period kicked off on Monday with a throne speech from the Liberal Party, a dental care proposal from the New Democratic Party and a unity rally from the Progressive Conservatives.
All three parties will by vying for a win on June 7, however, polls definitely point to the PC Party taking the win after 15 years of Liberal rule.
Premier Kathleen Wynne in her Monday throne speech promised new spending on health care, home care, dental care, child care and pharamacare; with some newspapers in the province calling it a “care over cuts” approach.
While more details will be brought to light in the election year budget set to be proposed by Finance Minister Charles Souza on Mar. 28, reports indicate that there will be $8 billion in deficit spending to fund the care items.
Ms. Wynne told the Toronto Star that she was in favour of the lot of the ideas put forward by Andrea Horwath, leader of the Ontario NDP, surrounding dental and pharma care.
The throne speech essentially started the race to take Queen’s Park this summer, and the NDP were quick to pitch a major platform item on Monday: a $1.2 billion public dental plan.
Currently, dental care is largely private, but in a move that mirrors the western European democratic socialist policy long-emphasized by the New Democrats, Ms. Horwath wants to take it a step further by covering 4.5 million Ontarians who do not qualify for workplace benefits.
Students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber are able to tap into dental coverage provided by student services.
“No one should have to live in pain,” Horwath told reporters at Queen’s Park.
“No one should go years without a visit to the dentist because they are a part-time worker or contract worker or because they’re retired.”
The NDP’s Ontario Benefits plan would set a minimum standard for dental plans, and provide care for those that do not work for the two-thirds of Ontario companies that provide dental benefits.
The plan would largely benefit the other third, those unemployed and those who are self-employed.
- Businesses could opt into Ontario Benefits or comparable private workplace benefits plan
- Free for anyone earning less than $30,000
- Maximum contribution to benefit by employees to company would be $4.33 per week
To pay for the plan, Horwath said she would raise corporate and high income taxes, and told some reporters she was open to running deficits, saying a full breakdown of the platform would come before the election.
PCs have a party
Just an 11 minutes away from the Humber College North Campus by bus is the Toronto Congress Centre where newly elected leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario Doug Ford held a “unity rally” on Monday night.
Unlike the Liberal Party and NDP, who proclaimed their coming platforms and touted policy goodies in the halls of power at Queen’s Park, the PC’s held the celebration they didn’t get on leadership election day because of a ballot issue.
Many political observers said, despite the contrast to the formal approach of the other major parties in downtown Toronto, the Etobicoke gathering was much needed for a party that has only seen division since that fateful night in January when Patrick Brown resigned as leader, forfeiting a previously nearly assured premiership.
The PC Party still has to replace the dropped “People’s Guarantee”, Mr. Brown’s old platform, but the party is now moving forward unified as all three leadership contenders were in attendance, in support of Doug Ford.
More details to follow. Image of Queen’s Park from previous files.