PROM­ISES, PROM­ISES

Doug Ford and An­drea Hor­wath said they would make life more af­ford­able for av­er­age peo­ple, but were vague on the de­tails

The Welland Tribune - - Front Page - PAOLA LORIGGIO

TORONTO — The lead­ers of two of On­tario’s main po­lit­i­cal par­ties trum­peted ma­jor cam­paign prom­ises Wed­nes­day — lower gas prices and sub­si­dized child care — that they said would make life more af­ford­able for av­er­age peo­ple, but were vague on the de­tails.

Doug Ford promised to cut gas prices by 10 cents a litre if his Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tives win next month’s elec­tion, say­ing he’d do so by cut­ting the pro­vin­cial gas tax and scrap­ping the cap-and-trade sys­tem.

But he wasn’t clear on how he’d re­place the bil­lions in rev­enue that would be lost by tak­ing those mea­sures.

NDP Leader An­drea Hor­wath, mean­while, wouldn’t pro­vide de­tails of what fam­i­lies earn­ing more than $40,000 would pay for child care un­der her plan for the province.

The New Democrats are propos­ing to fully sub­si­dize pub­lic, li­censed, not-for-profit child care for those earn­ing less than

$40,000 if elected next month, while child­care fees for house­holds earn­ing more than that would be based on abil­ity to pay, with the av­er­age cost com­ing to $12 a day.

But the party has not given de­tails on spe­cific in­come brack­ets that may be es­tab­lished or said if there would be any caps.

Hor­wath was asked sev­eral times for those de­tails Wed­nes­day, and would only say it is a “slid­ing scale.”

“At some point a per­son’s in­come is go­ing to be such that they don’t need to have any sub­sidy or any help with pay­ing for child care,” she said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing on what point that would be.

“The point is to pro­vide af­ford­able child care that’s high qual­ity, that’s not-for-profit, for the vast ma­jor­ity of ev­ery­day fam­i­lies that need that help.”

The NDP child-care plan also pro­poses to in­crease wages for early child­hood ed­u­ca­tors and add 202,000 new not-for-profit, li­censed, af­ford­able child-care spa­ces.

In Oakville, Ford stood out­side a gas sta­tion to an­nounce that he would re­duce gas prices by 10 cents per litre.

He said he’d do so partly by scrap­ping the province’s ca­pand-trade sys­tem, which puts a price on car­bon and has added 4.3 cents a litre to the price of gaso­line.

Ford said he would also cut the pro­vin­cial gas tax by 5.7 cents a litre.

Cur­rently, driv­ers pay 14.7 cents per litre of gaso­line in pro­vin­cial tax and 14.3 cents on diesel.

The Tories would re­duce both taxes to nine cents per litre, which they say would mean driv­ers pay $1.19 bil­lion less per year.

But that also means that money isn’t go­ing to pro­vin­cial cof­fers, along with $2 bil­lion that the province brought in from cap and trade last year.

When asked how he would make up for the lost rev­enue, Ford said, “We can’t af­ford not to do this.”

“(Driv­ers) are frus­trated at be­ing gouged at the gas pumps,” he said.

“This will stim­u­late the econ­omy when we put money back into their pocket.

“We aren’t putting it any­where else ...

“They’ll go out and shop, stim­u­late the econ­omy.”

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties re­ceive two cents per litre from the pro­vin­cial gas tax, money that is ear­marked for tran­sit fund­ing.

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment an­nounced last year that they would in­crease it in 2019 to 2.5 cents a litre, up to four cents by 2021 — in­creases the Tories would main­tain.

Mean­while, Pre­mier Kath­leen Wynne’s Lib­er­als crit­i­cized both ri­val par­ties for omit­ting key de­tails in their pro­pos­als.

Spokesper­son Drew David­son said the Lib­er­als are the only party to pre­sent a clear and achiev­able plan for child care. The $2.2-bil­lion pro­gram, an­nounced in the spring bud­get, would pro­vide free child care for preschool­ers start­ing in 2020.

“We de­cided to pub­licly fund child care for preschool­ers, rather than adopt an in­come bracket model, be­cause we be­lieve all fam­i­lies in On­tario de­serve ac­cess to child care. We also re­lied on ex­pert ad­vice,” David­son said, cit­ing an economist she said pre­dicted the NDP model would lead to long wait­ing lists.

The province heads to the polls June 7.

NATHAN DENETTE THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

On­tario PC Leader Doug Ford is framed by a con­cealed gas con­tainer dur­ing a cam­paign stop at Field­ing En­vi­ron­men­tal in Mississauga on Wed­nes­day.

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