When questioned about the defective math used to calculate employment growth in his million jobs plan, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has chosen an equally flawed defence: deny, deny, deny.
But it’s clear that Hudak can’t deflect the growing number of critics — many of whom are leading economists — who have all concluded that a simple arithmetic mistake has grossly inflated the number of jobs his plan would create. Hopefully voters are listening.
Critics such as Paul Boothe, a professor and director of the Lawrence Centre at Western University’s Ivey Business School, are all reaching a similar conclusion: Hudak’s plan to create 500,000 permanent jobs would only generate 75,000. The disparity is stunning.
Since the Tories are betting the election on their promise to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs while eliminating 100,000 permanent, full-time public service positions, those numbers are hugely problematic for Hudak. They’ll be even worse for Ontarians if his party wins on July 12.
As Unifor economist Jim Stanford argues, Hudak’s brain trust reached its mistaken conclusion by counting person-years of employment as full-time permanent positions when they should have been counted as temporary, one-year positions. It’s an elementary error that somehow got overlooked.
In other words, Hudak’s promise to cut 100,000 full-time public sector jobs and mitigate those losses by miraculously creating more than 500,000 permanent private positions doesn’t add up, even if you accept many of his assumptions.
Indeed, the economists’ deconstruction of Hudak’s policy showpiece should serve as a campaign game changer. If the Tories can get this wrong, what else can voters expect from their plans to cut government services and regulations?
On the iPolitics website, Scott Clark and Peter Devries, two former civil servants in the federal finance department, reached similar conclusions and found that overall, Hudak’s million-jobs promise is “quite bogus.” After all, economic growth will create new jobs no matter who runs the province.
Hudak, understandably, is rejecting the criticisms. But if it wasn’t already clear, a politician who promises to combine austerity with imaginary job growth risks sending Ontario into a tailspin.