Deb Matthews rules out ‘across-the-board cuts’ in Ontario
Cuts are coming, but it’s too soon to say where or how deep.
That was the underlying message from Treasury Board President Deb Matthews as she launched the cash-strapped provincial government’s austerity push.
“That approach assumes that every dollar we spend is equally effective — and that’s a false assumption,” she said, mindful Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals face a $12.5-billion deficit.
“We are going to do it by doing government differently. By focusing on outcomes and rigorous evidence, by enabling transformation, by streamlining access to services and by using technology to drive better value.”
But Matthews warned that “some of what we have to do will be very difficult both for people within government and for many of service-delivery partners.”
Her comments came as a smattering of Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union protesters rallied outside the Hilton.
Matthews again signalled to public servants that “there is no new funding for any compensation increases.
“That doesn’t mean no modest wage increases, but it does mean that any wage increase must be offset. What we call a ‘net zero,’” she said.
Speaking with the media afterward, Matthews repeatedly ducked questions over how many public-service jobs would be cut as the government tightens its belt.
“It’s not a simple question,” she said as reporters reminded her Wynne’s Liberals won last June’s election largely by demonizing former Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak’s pledge to eliminate 100,000 public-service positions. (Source: Toronto Star)