By Kevin Werner, News Staff
Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak dismissed calls from the Liberals that slashing 100,000 provincial civil servant jobs will create hardship for municipalities.
“There are middle management bureaucrats that we can do without,” said Hudak, during an interview with Hamilton Community News.
He identified the local health integration networks as being bloated with management positions that could easily withstand losing 2,000 jobs, with the savings re-invested into front-line personnel. He also targeted the Ontario Power Generation, with its 85 managers pulling in over $100,000 as easy pickings for being slashed.
“I would trade them any day for front-line workers,” said Hudak. “(OPG) is a monster bureaucracy (and) its sole purpose is to increase hydro rates.”
Hamilton’s lone Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin says Hudak’s One Million Jobs plan and idea that slashing 100,000 jobs will only add to municipalities’ burden.
“He’s not telling the truth,” said McMeekin.
He said Hudak’s job cuts will translate into the city losing over 10,000 people, while boosting the city’s 6.8 per cent unemployment rate to nine per cent, a figure offered up by the Ontario Federation of Labour. The Liberals, said McMeekin, over the last 11 years have provided Hamilton with $2 billion in funding to help make up for the downloading of services the Tories accomplished while they were in power from 1995 to 2003.
McMeekin added the Hudak job cuts will ultimately mean firefighters, paramedics, personal support workers, will find themselves out of jobs, he said.
The Liberals have also talked about how when they took over from the Tories in 2003 they had to deal with a $5.6 billion deficit first that had been hidden from the public.
“Tim Hudak is Mike Harris on steroids,” said McMeekin. “(Hudak’s plan) will kick start a new recession.”
Hudak ignored the criticism towards his jobs plan, arguing the Liberals are only attacking his proposals rather than engaging in a full debate.
“That just shows how desperate they are because they don’t want to talk about their record,” said Hudak. “Their record is 300,000 manufacturing jobs lost, a doubling of the provincial debt, (and) hiring bureaucrats rather than nurses.”
Hudak echoed his Tory candidate for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Donna Skelly, who both cited Warren ‘Smokey’ Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who he said there are “60,000 middle manager positions we don’t need.
“He’s a straight shooter,” said Hudak, acknowledging the union president “probably” won’t vote for him.
But, Hudak said, they both agree there is waste in government that can be eliminated.
“Every front-line worker hired,” said Hudak, “there has been three managers hired.”
McMeekin remained irate that Hudak and Skelly keep citing Thomas as supporting the Tory’s plan.
“That’s wrong,” he said. “He didn’t say that.”
McMeekin says he remains committed to defeating the Tories from assuming government again.
“I’m going to do everything I can to stop this guy from destroying Ontario,” said McMeekin. “He will destroyOntario.”