Doug Ford's PCs reveal 'final' campaign platform that has no fiscal outlook
Ford campaign spokesperson says no further financial details are coming before June 7
After months of promising to release a fully costed campaign platform, the Progressive Conservatives have published an online list of promises that doesn't include a detailed fiscal plan.
Overnight on Tuesday, the PCs quietly revised their campaign website to include "For The People: A Plan for Ontario."
In the document, the PCs reiterate a number of promises already laid out by their leader, Doug Ford, including a pledge to cut taxes for the middle income bracket and businesses, reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents per litre. They also promise hundreds of millions of dollars for various infrastructure projects.
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The plan reveals how much each commitment is expected to cost, but makes no mention of the at least $6 billion of "efficiencies" Ford has previously said a PC government would find. It also doesn't specify when a PC government might balance the province's budget.
When asked whether the document was the party's final plan, Ford's spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman said in an email: "Correct. This is our plan. Costing of each promise included.
"We've been talking about our plan every day and it's all there in one spot to show Ontario voters the stark choice between a responsible and modest spending of a PC government and a radical NDP who will be disastrous for the people of Ontario," she said.
"We are going to balance the budget in a responsible way."
Ford and his campaign team have repeatedly promised to publish a fully costed platform before election day. Back in March, when the Liberals released their 2018 budget — which formed the backbone of their own platform — Ford criticized the Liberals for putting forward figures he characterized as shoddy.
"We have 71 days left in this election. That's more than enough time to unveil our platform," Ford said then.
"And we have a solid platform that is fully costed. That's the difference. Ours will be fully costed, theirs isn't fully costed."
Ford has frequently touted his business experience on the campaign trail and his dedication to fiscal responsibility. During the last televised leaders' debate earlier this week, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford was disrespecting voters by failing to publish a costed platform.
Both Horwath and Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne heaped scorn on the notion that Ford had released a full plan Wednesday.
"Look: This is not a fully costed plan, it's not coherent," Wynne said at a stop in Markham, Ont., where she pushed her government's transit record.
"All of the things that Doug Ford has said would add up to a $40-billion hole and they have no idea how they would find that."
Horwath was equally incredulous, saying it wasn't good enough for Ford to write a "list of things he might do and put it on the internet."
People should know what Ford's plans are, what he's going to cut and what services might be at risk, the NDP leader said.
"His list of things-to-do that he put on his website is not going to help people to decide which way to vote and what's their best interest in this campaign," Horwath said.
While Wynne and Horwath have both published costed platforms, they were not without their problems.
In April, Ontario's auditor general reported that the Liberals low-balled projected deficits in the 2018 budget by some $5 billion. Wynne has categorized the auditor general's findings as "accounting disagreements."
Earlier this month, Horwath admitted that a mathematical error in her party's platform led it to underestimate projected deficits by about $1.4 billion annually.
"It was something that we had to fix and we fixed it," Horwath said at the time.
NEW: Ontario PC website has been revamped overnight. There are now costs listed with each promise. But they are not added up to give any bottom line deficit figure. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#onpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/v7kkM35IFC">https://t.co/v7kkM35IFC</a>—@CBCQueensPark
With files from The Canadian Press