BrianAlkerton.com

Hi, I'm Brian Alkerton. I work at a pretty cool startup called Shopify. This site is meant to serve as a collection of my thoughts on a range of subjects: politics, movies, stand-up comedy, and anything else that catches my eye.

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The Ontario Liberals Are The Lesser Of Two Evils - Posted June 09, 2014

It's weird to see a campaign run almost completely on negative emotions. The PCs biggest message is anger at Wynne, and the Liberals' is fear of Hudak. And weirdly enough, I think both are entirely valid emotional responses to each party. A couple months ago, I would've said a moderate PC platform was the right choice. Since 2011 I've been saying that I wish the PCs would express the same willingness to work with the Liberals to accomplish their policy goals that the NDP used to win increased social spending and taxes on the well-off.

I've never met a businessperson who, upon receiving some extra money from a tax cut, decided to hire people for the hell of it. Is the concern that we can't attract foreign investment? We already have among the lowest tax rates in North America, and more to the point, if the best thing we can offer as a place to do business is that we're cheap, we're entering into a race to the bottom that we probably aren't going to win against developing economies. Would we even want to, with the cuts we'd need to make to win that competition? 

But let's take the PCs at their word that their policies will work as intended, they'll add roughly 500,000 "years of employment" over 8 years, as the other half of the Million Jobs Plan's target will be achieved by normal growth assuming no changes. By using job-years rather than jobs to make up the other half million, a single job that lasts 8 years is counted as 8 jobs. Meaning that rather than creating half a million jobs, the actual number is closer to 65,000 jobs created. And that's if everything goes according to plan. That's if, given more money in their pockets, corporations decide to hire people on a whim. I'm not saying this outcome is impossible, or even unlikely. What I am saying is that it's uncertain.

And there's no uncertainty or ambiguity about the PCs' intent to fire 100,000 public servants. To his credit, Tim Hudak has been exceedingly clear that if he's Premier, a lot of families are going to face the economic hardship of a job loss. And if it was a necessity to get to a balanced budget, I don't think there would be as much concern.  But if it's done to finance tax cuts, the utility of which is debatable, when Ontario already spends less per-capita than any other province? You can talk about a bitter pill, but this isn't Buckley's, it's Theodoric of York.

The Liberals have plenty of scandals to their name. They've wasted billions. If re-elected, they'll probably waste a billion or two more. They should be held accountable for that - not only would they ideally lose government, anyone found guilty of deleting emails to cover up Liberal scandals would go to jail. Unfortunately that won't be the only impact of a PC government being elected on Thursday. If it was, I'd be endorsing Hudak right now.

If your desire for retribution exceeds your concern for income inequality, for education, for social programs to help those in need, for transit funding that addresses the gridlock choking our cities... then the PCs will give you what you want and you should vote for them.

Telling 100,000 people that they're going to lose their jobs because there's one person that I think ought to go... is unacceptable to me from a moral standpoint. I'm frustrated that I have to choose between a couple billion dollars in likely waste or the pain and stress those cuts are going to inflict with a disproportionate impact on those least equipped to handle it. That's the choice I've been given to make, though, and I never want to be the kind of person who would choose the latter.

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