Ontario NDP pledges to create minister for cutting budget

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robbie_dee
Ontario NDP pledges to create minister for cutting budget

Um, ok.

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ontario-ndp-pledges-to-crea... and Mail[/url]

Quote:
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has announced plans to appoint a new cabinet minister role tasked with cutting waste at Queen’s Park.

The Minister of Savings and Accountability would be charged with finding a half a per cent of savings – about $600-million – in the annual budget each year.

“There are a lot of people around the cabinet table whose business it is, whose job it is to spend the money,” Ms. Horwath said.

“What I want is someone there who’s going to be able to save the pennies.”

But the NDP Leader doesn’t want a bloated cabinet, either. She pledged to cut the 27-member cabinet down by a third, ditching 8 minister positions and their staff, with other ministers absorbing their portfolios. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has made a similar promise to cut down cabinet, though he said he would slash 11 positions.

 

Rokossovsky

This sounds like a pretty dumb idea. Tim Hudak of all people nails it here with: "Only the NDP would create more bureaucracy to reduce bureaucracy," he said. There is a "Yes, Minister" sequence were Humphrey gets the minister to back down from budget cuts by convincing him he would have to hire more civil servants to get the job done.

I am hoping this article is highly distorted.

I am wondering where this idea came from. Seems kind of amateur.

Both Wynne and Hudak can now claim that they don't need a minister to figure out how to save money, they already know.

This creates the sense that Andrea doesn't actually know.

josh

This is what happens when you let tactics and positioning dictate policy.

mark_alfred

Here's the announcement from the NDP's site:  New Minister of Savings and Accountability will be dedicated to finding 0.5% budget savings annually

Rokossovsky wrote:

Both Wynne and Hudak can now claim that they don't need a minister to figure out how to save money, they already know.

This creates the sense that Andrea doesn't actually know.

I don't think Wynne can claim this, given the spending fiascos of the Liberals.   I think the purpose of this announcement is to give a focal point to the NDP's policy of merging Ontario power generation agencies into one (IE, a return to Ontario Hydro) and capping CEO salaries, and to indirectly give focus to Liberal "wasteful spending" via establishing a ministry of accountability.  Mind you, the idea of internal accountability seems a bit unnecessary if you have an external Kevin Page like position (parliamentary budget officer) that you're going to establish.  But some people can more stongly align themselves to a government that has an internal embodiment of this focus than they can a government that just promises to establish external policing of accountability.

Aristotleded24

One way she can turn this around is to say how these savings will improve services rather than saving money. For example, "we found X amount of waste, and that can open X number of hospital beds, hire X number of teachers, create X number of child care spaces, provide home care for X number of seniors," etc.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I think they are looking for a grand gesture.  But I don't think this works.  People on the left see it as an austerity type move and people on the right see it as bureaucracry created to reduce bureaucracy.

Personally, I would have made bottom line deficit level committments, not size of government committments.

toaster

I don't understand why Andrea is proposing cutting the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and the Minister of Natural Resources, when both Thunder Bay ridings, Sudbury and even the Sault are very tight between Liberal and NDP right now.  Not a good move.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

It's a terrible move and everyone knows it. I haven't even heard it defended except from NDP staffers paying lip service to "fiscal responsibility," whatever that  means. Nobody -- but nobody -- is buying it.

mark_alfred

toaster wrote:

I don't understand why Andrea is proposing cutting the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and the Minister of Natural Resources, when both Thunder Bay ridings, Sudbury and even the Sault are very tight between Liberal and NDP right now.  Not a good move.

I've never heard this.  Could you provide a link?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

It is so typical. Who do they think they are supposed to be representing in government?  Like the BC NDP the theme of this campaign also seems to be; "Vote for us! We promise not to change the status quo much. We are however much nicer, kinder and more honest than our opponents."

I sincerely hope they win the election since they are the best of the bad options available to the people of Ontario. The truth is that for another election the hard questions wil not be even raised because that would mean certain defeat. So instead the dialogue about societal change doesn't even take place. The Merry Go-Round does get you close but the ELUSIVE brass ring is just never quite within grasp.  Meanwhile the citizens get poorer and the planet gets more fucked without even a debate about how to fundamentally fix it. 

toaster

mark_alfred wrote:

toaster wrote:

I don't understand why Andrea is proposing cutting the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and the Minister of Natural Resources, when both Thunder Bay ridings, Sudbury and even the Sault are very tight between Liberal and NDP right now.  Not a good move.

I've never heard this.  Could you provide a link?

 

Kathleen Wynne's twitter: "Tim Hudak & Andrea Horwath will eliminate Northern Development & Mines, Natural Resources. Both will remain in a Liberal government"

Rokossovsky

mark_alfred wrote:

Here's the announcement from the NDP's site:  New Minister of Savings and Accountability will be dedicated to finding 0.5% budget savings annually

Rokossovsky wrote:

Both Wynne and Hudak can now claim that they don't need a minister to figure out how to save money, they already know.

This creates the sense that Andrea doesn't actually know.

I don't think Wynne can claim this, given the spending fiascos of the Liberals.   I think the purpose of this announcement is to give a focal point to the NDP's policy of merging Ontario power generation agencies into one (IE, a return to Ontario Hydro) and capping CEO salaries, and to indirectly give focus to Liberal "wasteful spending" via establishing a ministry of accountability. 

Then she should say this directly. The one thing that is consistent in every single one of these Liberal boondoggles is the fact that the errors and waste occur as a result of Liberal attempts to privatize or P3 government services, binding the public to guaranteed contracts (gas plants) or putting public services beyond the supervision of the government (ORNGE).

Rather than proposing imposed austerity, which is what this sounds like, she should be talking about the peril of privatization and bringing public services back into the government tent in order to ensure they are properly supervised and accountable to the public.

We don't need a minister to discover this for us. We already know what the problem is.

She should double down on the privatization theme, in order to recover from this mistep.

Rokossovsky

In that vein the ONDP seems to have figured out the problem here and issued a statement, part of which says:

ONDP wrote:
Tim Hudak said, "only the NDP could create a new bureaucracy to reduce bureaucracy." 

Here is the real deal: an NDP Minister of Savings and Accountability is going to deliver savings so we can protect the services that families rely on. Tim Hudak's nonsensical plan is to cut the services people need. But laying off teachers, nurses, and firefighters is not the answer.

Consolidating agencies, capping public sector CEO salaries, and stopping the privatization of services will mean more money invested in your priorities.

Liberal privatization and scandals resulted in millions of wasteful spending. Our accountability plan would end the waste and reinvest the money in important frontline services families rely on.

This is the message that the ONDP needs to get out, not that they are going to be "cutting" government waste.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

This is not a clarification, it is damage control. The correct move would be to scrap it and try again. Their objection to "privatization" rings extremely hollow.

Rokossovsky

Catchfire wrote:

This is not a clarification, it is damage control. The correct move would be to scrap it and try again. Their objection to "privatization" rings extremely hollow.

Sorry, doesn't wash. The very first issue approached by Horwath was privatization of Toronto Transit in reference to the ATU113 campaign that opposed it. If it were "damage control" it wouldn't be the first thing out of Horwath's mouth. Not only did Horwath talk about it on day one, but it is themative in public statements from NDP MPPs, such as Rosario Marchese:

That is all before anything came up about the minister of "Savings and Accountability".

Ontario’s private-sector gamble is another sucker’s bet

Rosario Marchese wrote:

AFP is like an insurance policy. It caps potential cost overruns by transferring ownership, and therefore risk, from the public to the private sector. Since the private partner owns and controls the project, it bears the costs if things go wrong.

Great idea, except no one can prove this insurance is worth the huge price the government is paying.

Last year, University of Toronto professor Matti Siemiatycki found that the government paid a premium of 15 per cent, or about $1 billion, above the cost of traditional public procurement on its first 26 AFP projects.

 

abnormal

toaster wrote:

I don't understand why Andrea is proposing cutting the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and the Minister of Natural Resources, when both Thunder Bay ridings, Sudbury and even the Sault are very tight between Liberal and NDP right now.  Not a good move.

That sort of thing is always a problem.  Do you campaign based on what you think is right or based on what will get you elected?  And if you campaign on what you think will garner the votes (and are successful) do you honor that when you're in office or do you ignore what you told the electorate?

abnormal

"The politician is an acrobat; he keeps his balance by doing the opposite of what he says." Maurice Barrs

Orangutan

I think the idea is brilliant!  Any savings found is more money that can go towards helping the homeless, funding more transit, etc.

Yes, there is always too much talk about 'gravy' and 'waste' - almost all of which is complete bullshit. However, whether you are a household or a government, waste is never good and needs to be addressed.  

That said, the opposition to addressing waste that is coming from some within the NDP is largely due to the current political climate in which 'waste' and 'gravy' dominate the media and public discourse, while austerity is not being talked about.  This pisses many downtown lefties - NDP, Green and Liberal alike - off.  

A handful of NDP-ers are taking it out on Andrea, when really they should be taking it out on the Hudaks, Fords, their ilk and the media.  Andrea is just adapting to the political reality.  Attack it at its source.  

Aristotleded24

Orangutan wrote:
I think the idea is brilliant!  Any savings found is more money that can go towards helping the homeless, funding more transit, etc.

Yes, there is always too much talk about 'gravy' and 'waste' - almost all of which is complete bullshit. However, whether you are a household or a government, waste is never good and needs to be addressed.

I agree in principle with reducing waste and inefficiency in the government. The problem is, what the NDP is proposing is the wrong way to do this. It happens all too often when large public and private institutions set targets for "waste reduction" or whatever, and the departments are left scrambling to make the right cuts, and often there are unintended negative consequences. The way you get at waste and inefficiency is to get to know the operations of the public service very well, and make changes and recommendations based on what you see. Also, since the Auditor General would likely have the resources to determine waste, why create a separate government department?