The young person's guide to the Ontario election
In just it’s second week, the Ontario election is off to an interesting start. As our provincial politicians start spewing out their platform promises, we decide whose name we write on the ballot.
But for young people, sometimes we don’t exercise our right to write a name on the ballot. It might be for a ton of different reasons, but I know that one of the reasons is because it can be tough to know what you need to know about each candidate, and who wants to make an uninformed choice? Maclean's wrote an extensive analysis of each candidate and their stance on different issues. I've summarized it below with the topics that matter most to millennials. So here’s a breakdown of each leader, each party and each platform so that you can rock the vote on June 7!
Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals
The Liberals have been running the show for 15 years. Their platform promises include increases to social services, our healthcare system and childcare. All of this will obviously come at a cost—an annual deficit predicted to be upwards of $6 billion.
Wynne’s budgeting more than $800 million for better healthcare. She plans on spending $300 million for registered nurses in every long-term care facility in the province. She’s looking to have 80 per cent of certain drugs and dental services covered. She’s also looking to rebuild the province’s mental health system.
In terms of education, Wynne is looking to improve special education programs with $300 million. She’s also promising OSAP grants which would cover the tuition of lower-income students. And last but not least, free full-day daycare for preschoolers would start in 2020 under a $2.2 billion investment.
Under Wynne, corporate taxes would remain unchanged. In 2019, a $4 per carton tax would be implemented on cigarettes. Roughly two million people would be paying $200 more in taxes yearly, but 700,000 Ontarians would save about that amount.
With marijuana legislation being a hot topic, they want to legalize recreational marijuana and they want it done by the summer of 2018. And for the commuters, the Liberals are looking to set aside nearly $80 billion for a range of public transit projects, $11 billion for a high-speed rail line from Toronto to Windsor.
Wynne’s promised to set aside nearly $80 billion for public transit projects as well as get started on a high-speed rail line between Toronto and Windsor.
Andrea Horwath’s New Democratic Party
In an election where the PCs are pitted against the Liberals, Horwath is proving to be the alternative and it’s working well for her. Entering her third election as party leader, she’s presenting her party as the “real progressive choice” between Ford and Wynne.
Horwath plans to spend big on healthcare. She's pitted herself as an enemy of what she calls "hallway medicine", and to combat it, she plans on spending $19 billion on hospitals, new beds and long-term care facilities over the next decade. She's also promising full dental coverage to contract, part and full-time workers. Low-income children, retired seniors without pension or dental coverage would also be taken care of.
The NDPs $16 billion plan would look to convert student debt into grants and forgive debts retroactively. The party is looking to create more than 200,000 new child care spaces. Remember the EQAO? She’d scrap it, along with all other standardized testing. She also plans on offering free child care for families earning $40k or less annually.
The NDPs plan on raising the corporate tax rate from 11.5 per cent to 13 per cent. Those earning more than $220,000 would be looking at a one to two percentage point income tax increase. A three per cent surcharge on luxury cars costing more than $90,000 would be implemented.
The NDP plans to regulate marijuana similarly to how alcohol is regulated. Horwath wants to preserve prime agricultural land from becoming grow-ops.
The NDPs would invest more than $800 million in Ontario transit. 50 per cent of operating costs would be covered. Daily two-way GO rail service would be implemented between major cities. And Hamilton’s light rail transit would be constructed immediately, as well as a relief line in downtown Toronto.
Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative Party
Ford is allying himself with taxpayers, looking to turn their rage into votes that will propel him into power. But he’s given very little details given on how he’ll fulfill his campaign promises.
Ford’s promised to add 15,000 new long-term beds within five years and 30,000 over 10 years. He wants to end “hallway medicine” and spend nearly $2 billion on mental health addiction and support. He’s opposed to planned safe-injection sites and has recently added that he wants to invest $98 million annually to give dental care for low-income seniors.
Ford’s sexual education commitment has received a lot of buzz. He wants to scrap Wynne’s curriculum and replace it with an age-appropriate, parent-consult style of education. He also wants to trash “discovery math”, replacing it with proven teaching methods instead.
The PCs would look to cut corporate tax rates by one per cent, hoping to draw new businesses to the province. He would also introduce an income tax credit for minimum wage earners, meaning anyone making $28,000 or less a year would pay no income tax.
He hasn’t been very outspoken about his marijuana regulation plans. He went from being firm on privatization to softening his stance, ultimately saying he will “let the market dictate” how it should be run.
Ford would commit $5 billion for subways, relief lines and GO, he’s offered $1.3 billion for Hamilton’s LRT. He also wants to cut aviation fuel taxes on interprovincial flights to and from Northern Ontario.
Mike Schreiner’s Green Party of Ontario
The Green Party is…well, the underdog to say the least. There’s really not much else to say.
The Green Party wants to implement universal dental care, a federally funded Pharmacare program, increase midwifery and birthing centres and expand the number of abortion clinics.
Huge classes? Not under Schreiner’s leadership. He wants to restrict class sizes to 22 students from grades four to eight. He wants to increase funding for high schools in lower-income communities, offer interest-free loans for college and university students.
Schreiner wants to lower business payroll taxes, reduce property speculation by taxing vacant properties and add a surtax on quick turnaround real estate sales.
Schreiner would test the private retailing of cannabis.
Schreiner wants Ontario to be carbon neutral by 2050 by phasing out combustion engines. He wants to support funding for private and public purchases of electric vehicles and offer more charging stations.
So now you know what each party stands for…in a nutshell. Maybe no candidate is ideal, but don’t throw your vote away. It’s a right that people in the world are still fighting for. Do some research on your local candidate. Reach out to them, ask them questions. Show politicians young people vote and they’ll start caring about what we want! Hope you all head to the polls on June 7!