Queen’s Park - Sarah Campbell, MPP Kenora-Rainy River, says Wednesday’s report from The Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services is a turning point for the province of Ontario, and that it is up to all parties to ensure that it is used to lead the province in the right direction.
While many have labelled the report as controversial, Campbell says the document lays the groundwork for important discussions that need to happen in the coming months. Those talks need to involve all three political parties, government officials and most importantly the people of Ontario.
“The government has spent a great deal of money on this advice and I think there needs to be a very public discussion on its contents,” she states. “When such sweeping changes are recommended the government has a duty to sit down with the public and ask ‘what is your vision of Ontario’s public services, what standards do you expect, and which services are you willing to see reduced given our current financial situation.”
Campbell says the government owes it to the people of Ontario to take its time to review the recommendations and to not make any hasty decisions.
“The report highlights a number of instances where money is being wasted and programs are not being properly coordinated because they were implemented as quick fixes and knee-jerk reactions. That is the type of response we need to avoid,” she explains.
She adds that while not all recommendations should be acted on, such as scrapping full day kindergarten, which would have far too much of a negative impact to consider, others such as revisiting the delivery of healthcare services, the creation of regional hydro utilities and a push to provide fair funding for First Nations' education can be a step forward for the province.
“These are things I have been pushing for since being elected, and the government’s own consultant is saying these are steps that need to be taken,” says Campbell. “Hopefully this is the push we need to move forward on these issues."
She says the responsibility for ensuring this advice is not wasted lies in the hands of MPPs, the civil service and the public. Campbell says she will do her part to ensure all parties work together to bring the province’s spending under control without dramatically sacrificing public services.