No is not enough

Later today, Kathleen Wynne will sit down with media from across the province to talk about the transit funding tools she’ll push for. After that, Andrea Horwath will probably denounce her.

Metrolinx has said we need $2 billion per year to keep commutes just in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area from worsening. Andrea Horwath will say that new taxes and tolls will add to the burden of working families across Ontario and she’ll be right. She will then say that can get all that by closing corporate tax loopholes and that is crazy. Last year corporations contributed about $9.5 billion to the provincial budget; 20% is a lot to raise anyone’s taxes by. And we haven’t even done anything for Ottawa, London, or any of the dozens of smaller transit systems across the province.

When Andrea Horwath says that taxes will be burdensome, what she’s actually saying is that taxes are unpopular. If she repeats it today, what she’ll be saying is that she’s more interested in the leadership than in leading. And she’ll be saying that she lacks the courage or conviction to invest in this province’s future.

Tim Hudak and the brothers Ford act like they believe in magic words and talismans (efficiencies, casinos, gravy) that will pour out money for whatever ails the province. Andrea Horwath’s fixation on corporate tax loopholes is the same. If she actually wanted to make the funding plan for transit more progressive, she would do exactly that: work with the premier on a more progressive plan, and do the hard work of bringing the province around to it.

Later today, Kathleen Wynne will announce that she is willing to put her popularity on the line for the future of the province. After that, we’ll see whether Andrea Horwath is willing to do the same. If she isn’t, and her MPPs aren’t either, that should tell Ontarians all we need to know for the next election.

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