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Hudak’s million job plan: Do not believe the hype

Pam Johnson

February 4, 2014

You could drive a truck through the logic and holes in Ontario PC premier candidate Tim Hudak’s million jobs plan. Yet, it cleverly captures the sentiment and plays on the fears of many people who are unemployed, underemployed or waiting to get a pink slip at any moment.
The plan, according to Hudak, is to boost private sector job creation by cutting corporate taxes and cutting government spending. If this sounds familiar it is because it is the same austerity mantra that we have heard from Steven Harper, Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne, Rob Ford and the business community.
Low-wage jobs and attacks on workers’ rights
Nowhere in Hudak’s plan does it say what kind of jobs would be created, but if the current trend continues, the jobs will be low-wage, precarious, part-time jobs with little or no benefits and no pension.
The Ontario Tories opposed the recent move by the Liberal government—following heated public pressure—to tie the minimum wage to inflation. This too-little, too-late move only raises the minimum wage to $11 from $10.25, which does not actually move people above the poverty line. But the Ontario PCs opposed even this miserly step saying it would “hurt business.”
Hudak has also vowed to continue his attack on workers’ rights by attacking trade unions’ ability to collect dues and represent members effectively. He recently fired his own PC candidate, Dave Brister, in a Windsor riding for publicly stating his opposition to the attack on trade union rights. So clearly Hudak’s jobs will not be good, unionized jobs.
Attack on public sector jobs and services
His plan to create jobs is really a veiled attack on one of the last places where good, union jobs still exist: the public sector. Hudak is blaming government spending on public services and public sector jobs as the reason for the Ontario government deficit. He would cut public spending by freezing wages and continue his attack on unionized jobs, and then hand that money to corporations in the form of tax cuts.
But the reality is that corporate taxes in Ontario have been going down steadily, now standing at the second lowest rate in Canada (and one of the lowest in North America) at 11.5 per cent. As corporate taxes have gone down, profits have risen to new heights, yet corporations have not used this new wealth to create jobs.  
As a result of these tax cuts, government revenue has gone down, creating deficits, even though government spending has stayed nearly the same. This puts the lie to Hudak’s claim that public spending is spiraling out of control.  
So, Hudak’s plan would cut good public sector jobs to create low-wage jobs, but only if corporations chose to invest in job creation. It defies logic and it clearly pits public sector workers against private sector workers and those who rely on public services.
Resisting the Hudak attack
Momentum has been building to fight the austerity agenda on two fronts: fighting the low-wage economy and the struggle to maintain workers rights. Workers in both Canada and the US are campaigning to fight for a living wage to challenge low-wage, precarious work. These workers are also demanding trade union representation to be able to act with a collective voice against exploitation. The labour movement has slowly begun to pull together its collective voice, to rebuild unions against Hudak’s attack, spearheaded by the Toronto and York Region Labour Council.
February 15 will be the next opportunity to show your support for raising the minimum wage to $14/hour. All out 1pm at Dundas Square, Toronto. Rally info here, Facebook event here, and for more information visit

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