Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday April 29, 2022
How Doug Ford’s budget sets the tone for his Ontario PC election campaign
For a guy who came to power in 2018 on a promise to rein in the size and cost of government, Ontario Premier Doug Ford is heading into his 2022 election campaign with a completely different pitch.
That pitch can be seen in the Ontario budget tabled Thursday by Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, a budget that he described as “Premier Ford’s vision.”
That “vision” is in reality less a provincial budget than it is a Progressive Conservative election platform. In case there’s any doubt, Bethlenfalvy recited the PC campaign slogan “Get it done” no less than 10 times during his budget speech.
Also, minutes after the speech wrapped, the legislature was adjourned until well after the June 2 election, so the budget won’t pass unless the PCs win a majority.
Beyond the sloganeering, the budget’s tone and messaging appear crafted to assure Ontario voters that Ford and the PCs are not just willing to spend the money that’s needed on crucial government services, but actually eager to spend it, to the extent of actually forecasting a deficit higher than in each of the past two pandemic years.
It also appears to be an attempt to persuade voters that Ford has been changed by the COVID-19 pandemic and that cutting government spending is no longer a big concern for the PCs.