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It’s really not that hard to find government efficiencies

May 2018

With one week to go in the Ontario general election, Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford has made it clear that he will not be issuing a formal costed platform as the party has released all their promises with expected costs on the PC party web site, much to the dismay of allies and critics alike.

Although it would be better optically if Doug Ford released a costed platform, given the alternatives in this election, it should not be a deal-breaker for anyone who hasn’t watched this province going down the fiscal drain over the past 15 years.  Ford has already made it very clear he plans to get government spending under control and get us back into a balanced budget by finding efficiencies.  Wynne and Horwath have already made it clear that they will continue the reckless spending that has seen this province become the most indebted sub-sovereign borrower in the world.

Maybe Ford has just decided to forgo the charade of pretending to present a “fully-costed” platform.  Since when have government budget projections ever come in on target?  On the other hand, if that’s Ford’s plan, he should just say that instead of looking like he hasn’t even tried to cost out his promises.

For those who question how Doug Ford could make spending cuts and find efficiencies without destroying the vital social programs we all enjoy, one place that Ford could start is by not paying outrageous prices for things that the government routinely purchases, from pens to construction contracts to bottled water purchased for staff meetings for example.  Governments at all levels frequently spend money with little (apparent) concern for getting value for the money spent.

I’m sure many will recall that the Wynne Liberals paid $650, 000 for the Ontario Cannabis Store logo, something that my daughter could have done a much better job on with her crayons from the Dollar Store.

Taxpayers would have been MUCH better off with the government launching an open design competition, with the winning designer getting a $1000 prize.  I have no doubt there would be dozens of aspiring or armature designers tripping over each other to submit proposals just for the portfolio-boost that being the winner would give them, regardless of any monetary award.

It’s long been known that the LCBO doesn’t use its purchasing power to get better deals from liquor suppliers, including asking some suppliers to charge them more money.  It’s basic economics that the lower the wholesale cost to a merchant; the larger the potential is for profit, a profit that means more money in the government coffers for social programs.

How about ordering government ministries end the practice of “spend it or lose it next year” budget practices.  If a department doesn’t need to spend the money, don’t spend it.

How about not spending taxpayer money providing things that the private sector provides, usually more efficiently.  Do we really need to provide “free” prescriptions those under 25 who are still covered under a parent’s workplace benefits?  Sure, provide “free” or low-cost prescriptions to those who really need them, such as low-income residents and seniors, but we shouldn’t be providing blanket coverage.

These are just four examples that took very little creativity for me to come up with, so I’m sure a businessman like Doug Ford could find a lot more.  Will ideas like these ones solve all our problems?  Not likely, but every little bit helps.

For most of us, if we had to cut some money out of our monthly household budgets, we could do it.  It may hurt a little bit, but we could probably do it.  Maybe we have one less coffee each day or buy the No-Name brand instead of a major name-brand item.

Why do we hold on to this belief that governments can’t make any cuts of any kind?

Or maybe a better question is why when governments do make cuts, the cuts are made to front-line services instead of on the bloated bureaucracy level?


About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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