PC leader Tim Hudak has wrapped himself in the persona of being the jobs candidate. He claims that his government would create a million jobs in Ontario – a 15 per cent increase to the existing 6.9 million jobs (full-time, part-time, casual) that existed in 2013. Jobs are important, especially in the context of the social determinants of health, but the PC party platform would need to create closer to 1.2 million jobs to offset those it would first kill through cuts to the public sector and its subsequent spin-off impact on the private sector.
There have been many economists who have found the million jobs promise more than just a stretch. Just because you say something doesn’t make it true. The PCs believe if you say it a lot, it will make it so. Unifor economist Jim Stanford, writing this week in the Progressive Economics Forum, says to meet that challenge the economy would have to “significantly accelerate” real growth in excess of 3 per cent annually. There are times when we have done that – most recently in 2003, 2007 and 2011, but that isn’t sustained and consecutive growth.
Stanford notes eliminating the provincial deficit would negatively impact the economy by 2.4 per cent, which is a big hole to dig out of, especially if you plan on rushing that objective. What would a 2.4 per cent reduction in GDP mean for jobs? According to Stanford, en route to his million jobs promise Hudak would start by eliminating about 165,000 jobs in the province.