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There is an alternative

Dear editor:

The Harris government seems to take great pride in telling the public that it always keeps its promises. This government has used a great deal of the public’s money to inform the voters of Ontario about the promised tax cuts and the promise to balance the budget.

The deficit has not been reduced to zero as promised.

Apparently the tax cut has been implemented but I have not seen any positive effect on my disposable income. In fact, due to the ubiquitous user fees (a form of tax), my family expenses have increased significantly.

In addition, my property taxes have risen, my son’s university tuition has risen, and my family faces unacceptable waits for necessary health care.

Never forget that this “tax cut” was implemented while the provincial budget had a deficit--the tax cut was paid for by borrowing money from the banks, which increased the provincial debt. We, the citizens of Ontario, pay interest on this money.

The cost of the tax cut is about $6 billion a year. By the end of the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the interest costs to pay for the tax cut will be $1.2 billion a year.

Premier Harris has said that he should be judged on his record, and I agree. Let’s examine the Harris record.

The Harris government, over its four years in power, has increased the public debt by $24 billion while slashing public services such as health care, social services, and education. The Harris government has shamelessly centralized power so that Harris could make the cuts and impose simplistic solutions without having to face those most affected by the cuts.

For four years, this government has attacked those who are most vulnerable and has created a culture of blame, on such groups as poor children, adult students, welfare recipients, and children who are challenged, among others.

The Harris government has pandered to “business bosses” in an attempt to allow them access to our schools in hopes of obtaining a market share. The Harris government has divided the province by attacking anyone who protests or disagrees, and accusing them of being “special interest groups.”

The Harris government has changed the look and feel of our province. We are experiencing many lost opportunities due to the cuts . . . cuts to music programs, closing of schools and hospitals, shortage of affordable housing, environmental losses due to deregulation and lack of enforcement, and reduced standards for skilled trades education and training.

We can afford a more responsive and compassionate province. There is an alternative. Teach Mike Harris a lesson. Vote smart on June 3.


Andrew Hallikas

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