Wednesday, May 28, 2014

None of the Above?

Pray for me. I'm about to talk about politics. Sort of.

It's about the jobs thing in the current provincial election. The leader of the Conservative Party, Tim Hudak, is promising a million new jobs if elected. This won't happen overnight, but it will unfold over the next few years. I like new jobs because there are lots of people in this province who are unemployed and making a living is a justice issue we should be concerned about as Christians. Folk should be able to find meaningful work with reasonable pay so they can support their households and pay taxes for the programs and projects which make our communities and province livable.

I am concerned though that the only promise Mr. Hudak can guarantee to keep is reducing jobs. He tells us that he will eliminate 100,000 public service jobs and I have little doubt that he can and will do so if elected. But from what sectors will those jobs be taken? Healthcare employs a lot of people, and we barely seem to be keeping up with the demands of an aging population. As a pastor I encounter this regularly with those waiting for surgery and outpatient support and lots of other medical services. Education employs plenty of people too, but again, as a minister, I have pastorally supported lots of young teachers who can't find work. As older teachers retire, who will replace them if we convince younger candidates to forget it?

The way I figure it, no political party can actually create jobs, other than the public service. They can't force companies and businesses to locate here or to hire new employees. Governments can create the economic climate to stimulate growth, and that's what Mr. Hudak and the other leaders are promising. But I am concerned that maybe what we are being told about getting the math wrong is true. Maclean's is saying so, as are others who aren't connected to other parties.

My concern with any political party is that it will appeal to our baser instincts to "skim off the gravy," and cut my taxes to make the world --meaning my personal world-- a better place. Maybe there are public service jobs which shouldn't exist. And maybe there are government employees who are paid too much. God knows I don't like how much OPG bigwigs make.

Here's what I know. I want honest government. Well, that's one party down. I want parties who stick to their social values. That's another eliminated. And I want parties which will not promise my benefit at the expense of others.

Hmm. Maybe "none of the above" should be on the ballot.

Thoughts? Anyone else in a muddle approaching this election?


Judy Mcknight said...

"In a muddle" - big time, for sure!

roger said...

I would like a government that genuinely cares about health care, education, employment and the environment, and will actually do what they promise.

I do not like Hudak whatsoever, and I feel it would be a huge mistake to have him as our Premier. Can you say Mike Harris?

And I agree 100% about OPG execs earning way too much. In fact, I know of a university student who is working at OPG this summer and earning $28/hr. That is ludicrous. If we want to look at how this province can save money, rather than looking at teachers, let's look at the insanely high salaries that are earned at OPG.