Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
It’s been a little more than two months since the Ontario provincial election and Yvan Baker, who lost his seat as MPP Etobicoke Centre, is still reeling from the loss. A young energetic MPP saw his future plans for this position having come to an abrupt end.
At the Team Baker Thank-You celebration on August 9, he shared his thoughts on what went wrong for him and for the Ontario Liberal Party at the last election: “One of the things is that the government spent a lot of time communicating about issues that were not the most important issues to people. Kathleen Wynne and the Ontario government should have spent more time communicating about what they were doing on the economy, healthcare, education, transportation and transit. We didn’t communicate to the people the good work that we were doing on those issues. For example, the Ontario economy right now, for the past couple of years, is the fastest growing economy in Canada, is the fastest growing economy in the G7, in part because the government has done some good work to attract investments, to build infrastructure and education. But we signaled that our priorities were elsewhere.”
At the celebration, Baker said that he is staying in politics – he is now playing a significant role in the efforts to rebuild the Ontario Liberal Party and will co-chair the party’s Provincial Counsel on September 29. Baker thinks that the party needs to spend a lot of time listening to people, understanding what went wrong in the last election, and then making sure that it is advocating on the issues that matter to people.
In his interview with the NP-UN, Baker said he was concerned about some of the initiatives from the new Ontario government, in particular, the social assistance reform, the ‘buck-a-beer’ policy and the reduction of the number of Toronto city councillors.
Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government has recently announced reductions to planned increases in social assistance rates which were introduced by the Liberal government. Baker thinks that this policy will hurt the most vulnerable Ontarians and is inappropriate.
At the same time, said Baker, the government is going to provide a subsidy to beer companies – he believes that a-buck-a-beer policy involves a government subsidy “because to encourage companies to sell their beer at a dollar the government is making the LCBO – which is government-owned – provide those companies with a premium shelf space in the stores. This means less revenue for the LCBO, less money for healthcare and education and is effectively a subsidy to these beer companies.”
Doug Ford’s decision to reduce the number of Toronto city councillors, believes Baker, should have been preceded by a debate. Another criticism of this decision is that it was made in the middle of an election campaign. Baker said: “Imagine I was running this last election campaign, and Justin Trudeau came along and changed the rules halfway through. It is completely reprehensible to me, you can’t move the goal post in the middle of the game.”