The Greens had an in-depth party platform on health care in 2011. In this election they can barely bring themselves the say the word “health.”
The only mention it gets in the Greens streamlined platform is around poverty reduction and their commitment to double the exemption for small business to pay the employer health tax. That, incidentally, means less health care revenue.
Last time out they were raising warning bells about health care sustainability while promising billions more for seniors care and the interdisciplinary primary care sector. Despite the endless scandals around long-term care, they wanted to cut the number of regulations that protect frail residents in Ontario’s nursing homes. They also wanted to make the LHINs more responsive to their communities.
This time the Greens plan to tackle poverty reduction by setting a longer term goal of establishing a guaranteed annual income for all citizens, not just seniors. In the meantime they would double the Ontario Child Benefit for children of families who live close to the poverty line. There is also a vague commitment around youth unemployment, although it goes no further than urging young people “to tell us what they have to offer … we want to hear about their great ideas.”
The Greens did fill out the survey by the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Alliance, essentially taking a page from both the NDP and the Liberals. Yes they would stick with the Liberal mental health plan, but they would also add more community primary care clinics if given the opportunity.
Oddly while the Greens claim one of their core principles is decentralization – “distant administration cannot be responsive” – they none-the-less want to merge school boards across the province. They claim this will save money and keep open schools that would ordinarily have to close.
Green leader Mike Schreiner says he will cut the deficit by increasing revenues – including a one per cent increase in corporate taxes and by jacking up $1.7 billion in annual royalties on “aggregates, water-taking and mining”. On the other hand he says there is no program spending that is increased in their proposals.