Tim Hudak vows to cut 100,000 public sector jobs

Antonella Artuso, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

, Last Updated: 5:19 PM ET

BARRIE — A Progressive Conservative government would chop 100,000 civil servant positions to shrink the public payroll by 10%, Tim Hudak says.

The job cuts would return government to the size it was in 2009 and save $2 billion, the PC leader said Friday, adding “vital” front-line service providers such as nurses, doctors and police would be spared.

Hudak said he would keep full-day kindergarten, but would change the staffing model and increase some class sizes. The move would mean fewer teachers would be required in the future.

New government hires wouldn’t be eligible for the “gold-plated pensions,” he said during a campaign stop in Barrie.

The PCs would also scrap the 30% post-secondary tuition break, the seniors Healthy Home Renovation Tax Credit, Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), the Ontario Power Authority (OPA), and the Drive Clean program.

Hudak said he believes Ontarians are ready for some “straight talk” on what it will mean to balance the books, which he has promised to do by 2016.

“It’s not going to make me happy,” Hudak said.

Some jobs will transfer to the private sector as the government gets out of certain businesses such as cafeteria and information technology services, he said.

Many positions won’t be filled when people retire.

Hudak said balancing the books will be tough, but it’s necessary to restore business confidence and create private sector jobs.

“The other two leaders, they seem paralyzed by a desire to be popular so they’re going to tell you that they’re going to spend more. They’re more interested in protecting their jobs than creating jobs for you,” Hudak said.

In Trenton, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said her government has invested in education, research and business partnerships to create jobs and boost the economy.

She said Hudak believes there will be more jobs if he fires teachers and cuts back on education.

“I’ve said for months that Tim Hudak’s plan is reckless and would steer Ontario, in fact, out of recovery and back into recession. And now we have proof positive from Tim Hudak himself,” Wynne said.

“Today we learned that Tim Hudak’s job plan is to turn paycheques into pink slips for 100,000 people.”

Randy Robinson, a spokesman for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), which represents tens of thousands of public sector workers, said in an e-mail that Hudak cannot reduce these positions without cutting deeply into health care, school boards, colleges, universities, and child care.

“We’ve known all along that Tim Hudak’s views were extreme, but this is beyond the pale. One hundred thousand jobs is 1.5% of all the jobs in Ontario. Cut that many and you could throw the whole economy into a recession. You can’t grow the economy by cutting jobs,” Robinson said. “I’m sorry. He’s taken leave of his senses.”

The Ontario budget released on May 1 shows the province spent $11.3 billion more than it took in last year, and the net debt rose to $270 billion.


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