July 09, 2007

John Tory Already Looking Past 2011

John Tory today has announced that if the Ontario PCs are elected this fall they will use all of the 14.7 cents/litre collected through the gas tax to fund transit-related expenses. In truth, this isn't a poor idea at all. Since we are dealing with concerns such as increased road repair costs, poor air quality, growing public transit costs, etc., which are all related to gas usage, then providing a guaranteed source of cash flow to these projects is a great idea. As it stands now, some of the collected gas tax is used for other projects and is not guaranteed to be used for transit-related expenses or projects.

There is a bit a hitch with Tory's plan - it wouldn't take effect for at least 5 years. Ontario governments only have 4 year mandates. In other words, this is only election-speak. Tory is putting out this decent idea only for the sake of sounding good. What I would rather know is what the PCs are going to do next year or two years from now. What you promise to do one year after the 2011 election doesn't mean anything. This is just par for the course from Tory.

He's already laid out an election platform based on imaginative numbers. He has yet to see the audit of government finances but he's already looking to fund private schools, expand religious education, cut taxes, cut the health care premium, etc. He's making more promises than McGuinty has and by all accounts, he'll have to break them as well. Tory has been on a tear lately with all the things he'll do if elected and now he's looking beyond the next election as well. Good luck to him. As soon as Tory gets a hold of the financial audit, there will be a very different tune to his election platform. If not, then we know for sure he's taking the Mike Harris route and blatantly lying to the public.


janfromthebruce said...

My concerns is that Tory wouldn't break these elections promises. One school System in both offical languages of Canada. Now that's progressive economics from the left wing.

Steve V said...

According to the government, they already spend more than the 3.1 billion the tax generates per year, so Tory's pledge might just be a shell game. Couple this fact with Tory's refusal to say he would support McGuinty's 17 billion dollar transit pledge, and his idea seems like pure politics.

I could care less if the money goes into general revenues, so long as adequate expenditure is directed towards transit-related expenditures. You actually increase the bureaucracy by setting up a entirely seperate entity to deal with these tax revenues. The proof is in the spending, and it appears Tory doesn't have a leg to stand on. Sounds like a stunt to me.

Jim said...

There is a bit a hitch with Tory's plan - it wouldn't take effect for at least 5 years.

No, that's not true.

It's an increase in using gas tax revenue toward transit; it's not 100% in year one, but it's a gradual increase to 100%.

It's similar to the misconception that John Tory will immediately kill the health tax - that's not true either. In that case, it's a pro-rated reduction (one that's feasible, given Ministry of Finance projections).

That's in contrast to the McGuinty Plan, which is in fact, just re-announced existing plans - no new money for transit until 2011.

Under John Tory, new money now.

Under Dalton McGuinty, you have to elect him twice. I'll say that about Mr. McGuinty, it's a promise he can keep. Elect him, and he'll re-promise it in 2011!

Kyle said...


The problem is that it's still just words. The 5-year plan, rather than immediate adaptation, will be used so he Tory can go out and say, 'Hey, I've put money into transit' all the while taking money from another program that was also using the funds... probably some sort of social program. It will also give him the flexibility, in the event the he needs to fudge numbers last minute, to do just that.

Don't give me the whole 'new money now' crap either. His plan doesn't call for new money at all, only just a change - if you can call it that - from where that money is being taken from.

TrueBlue said...

If you read Tory's announcement you'll see that it will be phased in OVER 5 yrs, not after five years. And btw, the auditor's report is out, so obviously Tory made yesterday's commitment with full confidence that it could be implemented.

Last piece: the government's own data project continued annual revenue increases - so there will indeed be 'new' money.

It's a sound policy and there's every reason to believe that Tory, unlike McGuinty, has done his homework and will deliver on the commitment.

Kyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kyle said...

True Blue,

I read his policy, and in it he doesn't say anything about phasing it in. His policy actually states that the money would come within 5 years. That's completely ambiguous. That could mean the day after the election it could mean the day after the election of 2011. At his announcement he gave an idea that it could be phased in. What does that mean? John Tory didn't say. Therefore, all of this so far is just words. There is no plan, at least not a concrete one that is being discussed publicly.

Just because there will be more money based on projections, doesn't mean the money that is going into transit. And since the project is possibly going to phased in, it doesn't even more money for transit. It could be the same money but purely sourced by the gas tax. It's just as plausible, since there are no hard figures given, that John Tory is only going to be more clear on where the money is be taken from rather from the 'big pool'. Besides this, the argument you made against the new money thing was totally off what was being discussed. Jim claimed it was 'new money now', when there is nothing to point to that at all.

John Tory has done his homework alright, though Harris and his team, did most of it for him. It was all done in selling and not giving anything substantial. All fluff and optics so far.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)