Op-Ed: A New Deal for the Public Sector

December 6, 2012

Ontario is in a deep fiscal hole. Without urgent action, we’re staring at a $30 billion deficit, and a $411 billion debt, in just a couple of years. The Liberal government has no plan to deal with this.
Instead we’ve lived through nine years of spending far more than we’ve been taking in, throwing money we don’t have at every problem that moves. However, the money’s run out.
This is why Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC Caucus released our latest white paper – A New Deal for the Public Sector. Our latest discussion paper is designed to guide and motivate Ontario’s civil service in refocusing government on the core services that matter most, while delivering more value for taxpayers for less money.
Our Paths to Prosperity papers clearly set out our goals as a party: patient-centred health care, a flexible labour force, affordable energy, sustainable pensions and a strong economy. The New Deal is our roadmap for achieving those goals as a government, by giving our public service the specific objectives, measurements and incentives they’ll need to help us deliver.
A New Deal does not measure the government’s success by the money it spends or the number of programs it delivers. That’s the old way of thinking and it’s helped get Ontario into the mess we’re in today. But the problem doesn’t rest with our civil servants. It lies with the political leadership that has no vision for government other than to make it bigger.
Instead, the Ontario PCs will measure productivity like the private sector. We’ll reward those who deliver results, and those who do not, won’t be on our payroll. We’ll end compulsory union membership for managers if they choose to bargain individually. And we’ll ensure all Ontarians can apply for government job openings – not only those already on the government payroll.
A New Deal points toward smaller government doing only the things it can do best, and getting out of areas better left to private sector innovation than inefficient bureaucracies. We need a return to government that sticks to its knitting – and that knows its business. Ontario needs a government that is refocused on its core responsibilities, like health care, education, and infrastructure. This also means that we need a government that stays out of businesses it has no business being in, things like selling lottery tickets and wine bottles.
Ontario’s budget problem is too big to be fixed by economic growth alone. Spending must be cut. It’s time to assess all programs, eliminating those with the lowest priority – while increasing competition and choice for consumers and better value for taxpayers.
A New Deal for the Public Sector will show the way to bringing the size of government back in line with taxpayers’ ability to pay. The result will be a more focused and innovative government that fosters a culture of customer service – and can safeguard the things Ontarians truly care about, like health care, education and infrastructure.
To read a copy of A New Deal for the Public Sector white paper, visit: www.ontariopc.com/paths-to-prosperity.