Now that the Tories have finally released their platform, I will do a quick and dirty comparison of the two. I won’t comment on the health, education and other social initiatives. They are serving up lots of dough although Lord is committing to actual numbers 500 teachers, etc.
Bernard Lord mentioned 18 times in 22 pages. His image is shown a dozen times.
Shawn Graham’s name is mentioned twice in the Liberal platform. His image is shown twice on 33 pages.
It would seem that repetition, repetition, repetition is the order of the day for the Tories. Wouldn’t it be need to see their focus group data that led them to conclude that Bernard Lord should be mentioned on every page of the platform?
Tory platform: Research is mentioned once – as a sub bullet in the rural development section.
Liberal platform: Research mentioned nine times.
Tory platform: Economic Development is mentioned three times
Liberal platform: Economic Development – eight times
Tory platform: One targeted economic sector mentioned – forestry
Liberal platform: Seven specific economic sectors mentioned – agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, fishing, mining, energy, culture sector.
Tory platform: Entrepreneurship – not mentioned at all (the word entrepreneurship – it talks about the small business tax cut in one of the many tax references)
Liberal platform: Entrepreneurship mentioned numerous times with specific new funding initiatives
The only other economy related initiative regards tax cuts.
Liberal platform: A few targeted tax cuts worth very little overall.
Tory platform: I think I counted six different tax cuts led by the 8% overall income tax cut.
This is a huge point of difference.
I fundamentally don’t agree with tax cuts funded by Equalization increases. I just don’t. I think we have an obligation to the citizens of this province and to the country as a whole to get our economic house in order and reduce our reliance on these federal transfers. I don’t object to them, I just think that history has shown that during recessions the cuts run the deepest in the poorest provinces. I also think that the richer provinces are getter stronger (health outcomes, economic outcomes, education outcomes, etc.) while the poorer are hardly holding their own. If we have spare money laying around for tax cuts, I think it should be used to fix our problems.
I would pour every spare nickel into turning our province around and creating an environment where the economy is strong, new industries are flourishing and people are moving here for real jobs and real opportunities.
For the Tories, long gone are the days of talking about innovation, job creation targets, entrepreneurship.
The Liberals will have a hard time achieving their goals of ‘worst to first’ in education and ‘self-sufficiency’. I think they should have resisted the temptation to go for the catchy buzzwords that guys like Al Hogan will nail you to the wall on (except if you are a Tory – there’s no mention anywhere of the vanishing Prosperity Plan and its targets). But if they win, hopefully, they will lean into these issues in a profound way and hopefully start gettting some results.