There is no question that the new government of Ontario is very different from the old one. Whether different means better or worse is an argument for those still fighting the last election or preparing to fight the next. For those of us looking to get things done in Ontario's Northern regions over the next four years, that debate is a luxury we cannot afford.
Speaking of being able to afford things, we better get used to talking about that, a lot.
This government was elected on pocketbook issues and their first few weeks in office have demonstrated that they take those issues very seriously.
Their first priority is saving you money; everything else comes second. Let's look at a few examples.
The new government is scrapping the cap-and-trade system. The first steps in that process were to cut all of the programs funded through those revenues, including a $377-million fund to help homeowners, businesses and renters make their properties more energy efficient.
In a "battle" with Ottawa, the new Ontario government is demanding that federal taxpayers cover the full costs of caring for asylum seekers and refugees who come to Ontario.
In another even more controversial move, three summer curriculum sessions were cancelled. This included one intended to continue the work of implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations on expanding Indigenous content and including Indigenous knowledge in the classroom.
As a result, the new government has been called racist and anti-immigrant.
They have been described as climate change deniers and their actions characterized as unCanadian. This is, at a minimum, an unhelpful response. Especially since the evidence is not unequivocally against them on many of these decisions.
A recent article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, for example, questioned the value for money of energy efficiency investments by government.
In terms of refugees and asylum seekers, the federal government was already moving to cover more of the costs. Ontario is simply arguing they should move faster and cover 100 per cent--something many experts agree they should do.
On the Truth & Reconciliation front, the government has committed to continue to implement the recommendations but will do so "in the most cost-effective way possible".
Write that down: "In the moscost-effective way possible."
That means they are prepared to spend, carefully, to get things done.
Consider the changes at Hydro One.
The former CEO...