The Ontario Liberals released their election budget yesterday. And they're making big promises. Tom Walkom writes:
It cements in place Wynne’s earlier commitment to universal pharmacare by eliminating the deductibles and user fees that 2.6 million seniors must currently pay when they use the Ontario Drug Benefit program.
It introduces a rudimentary denticare program for those not already covered by workplace or public plans.
And, as the piece de resistance, it pledges to introduce free daycare for all children from the age of two and a half until they reach kindergarten.
To help pay for this, it raises taxes by an average of $200 per person for the 1.8 million upper and middle income earners who make more than $95,000 a year.
Along the way, the budget promises much-needed money for those the Liberals have stiffed before, including hospitals, long-term care residents and the poor.
Kathleen Wynne is betting that -- as was the case with Justin Trudeau's Liberals -- Ontarians will be willing to tolerate deficits to get these things. And you can bet Doug Ford and the PC's will hammer the Liberals for their red ink.
But Walkom writes that the real question is: Can we trust you? In the past the Liberals have not kept all their promises:
Will the Liberals suddenly find their promises too expensive to implement?
Will they find, as they have before, that times have changed, that the fiscal situation has deteriorated and that, sadly, circumstances demand cutbacks and the privatization of public assets.
The NDP haven't released their platform yet. But Andrea Horwath seems to be signalling that she will outspend the Liberals.
Walkom calls the budget "a masterpiece of social democratic policy." But is it for real? We'll see. It should be a very interesting election.
Image: Global News