The Ontario NDP has a platform?

And here we thought the New Democrats were going to wing it through this election without a platform. They fooled us again! Here we are with three weeks more to go and Leader Andrea Horwath has announced a platform—such as it is.

The New Democrat document seems to be mainly about health care. That is certainly an area of concern for many in Ontario and there is no question that there are those among us who might wish for a better answer than our inadequate Health Minister Deb Matthews. The woman has never gotten ahead of that portfolio and seems to always be playing catch-up.

The New Democrat suggestion of using more nurse practitioners in hospital emergency rooms is a good one. At the same time, the caregiver tax credit would work best with the increased payments for professional caregivers proposed by the Liberals.

What blows everyone away is that the New Democrats have jumped decisively on the balanced budget bandwagon. This must be their way of competing at this stage with the Conservatives. They are sure going to balance those books but just not as fast as those nasty Tories. You would think that any sensible socialist would adamantly say “Jobs and the economy first, deficit second.

The funniest promise the New Democrats are making and have just reiterated in their platform release is that they are going to appoint a cabinet minister of savings and accountability. They have sure one-upped Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto with that one! This new minister is going to be like that paper towel commercial that shows a bunch of fat guys running around soaking up spills.

There is no coherent theme or direction in this platform and it is almost the scrapings from the floor at the last New Democrat policy conference. To not try to give it an overall idea or even an interesting title indicates a hurried and ill-considered approach. It is like telling the voters that “We are here but not serious.” It is no way to win an election. The party will still come third in the election but that is not saying much.

You should get your résumé up to date if you are thinking of applying for the job of leader of the Ontario New Democrats. There will be an opening.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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