Doug Ford doesn't like Trump comparison but praises his policies
Newly elected Ontario PC Party Leader Doug Ford pushed back against comparisons to U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, but went on to praise some of Trump’s economic policies.
“We’ve been in politics for 30 years, before even Donald Trump even existed,” said Ford, whose father was a PC MPP and whose brother Rob served as mayor of Toronto.
“But I’ll tell you one thing,” Ford said in the interview on CTV’s Power Play. “You look south of the border, trillions of dollars are coming into the country. They had the highest corporate tax rate, 36 per cent, down to 21 per cent. Manufacturing jobs are coming in by the droves. One of the lowest unemployment (rates) in 20 years,” Ford said.
“Then we look at Ontario,” Ford went on. “Three hundred thousand jobs have been lost. We have the most indebted region in the entire world at $311 billion, paying $12 billion a year servicing that debt. We’re being burdened by this carbon tax, by the highest hydro rates in North America.”
Ford appeared to be referring to a 2014 study from the Mowat Centre that found 300,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in Ontario between 2000 and 2014. Since 2014, employment in manufacturing has grown in Ontario as well as in the United States.
While Ontario has higher than average electricity rates, they are not the highest in North America. Figures show that Toronto and Ottawa have higher electricity costs than cities like Montreal, Calgary, Winnipeg and Houston, but prices are lower than in New York City, Boston and San Francisco for commercial and residential customers.
Ford -- who will take on Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath in the June 7 election -- said that the PC Party is going to "turn this province around" and make it "the most prosperous region in North America."
He outlined five platform priorities: “health care ... making sure we review the education curriculum, bringing back good paying jobs, getting rid of the carbon tax ... making sure that we reduce the hydro rates, and always reducing the size and cost of government.”
Wynne warns of cuts
PC leader Tim Hudak lost the 2014 provincial election after vowing to slash 100,000 public sector jobs, but Ford said Tuesday that he would cut the size of government through attrition, not layoffs.
“What drives me crazy,” Ford said, “is when you have a supervisor in government and they report into 12 other supervisors. That’s unacceptable ... so when these supervisors all decide to retire ... we just aren’t going to replace them.”
Earlier in the day, Premier Wynne warned that the PC Party would make program cuts.
“What we’re putting forward as a platform is very, very different from what any of the conservatives were putting forward which is cutting and removing supports for people,” she said.
“We’ve got an economy that’s doing very well in Ontario and in Canada but not everyone is feeling the benefit of that, so it’s even more important right now that governments step up,” Wynne added.
Wynne said the Liberals plan to “build on” programs introduced by her government like the free prescription drugs for people under age 25, free college and university tuition for qualifying students, and a minimum wage hike to $14 an hour, with another $1 raise scheduled for January.
Ford has said in the past that he would keep the minimum wage at $14 an hour and help low-income people by cutting the tax rate to zero for those making $30,000.
NDP pitching ‘bold ideas’
Marit Stiles, the Ontario NDP candidate for Davenport, told CTV News Channel on Tuesday that she believes people are “really fed up” with Wynne but don’t see Ford as the answer.
Stiles pointed to polls suggesting Andrea Horwath is well-liked by Ontarians.
She also said that the party has “bold ideas” that will appeal to Liberal and PC supporters.
“(Horwath’s) talking about full universal pharmacare, talking about undoing the privatization of hydro ... there’s lots of opportunities for Andrea Horwath and the NDP to put forward that bold, hopeful vision,” Stiles said.