One of Tim Hudak’s boldest policy pledges is to scrap government subsidies to private corporations. He makes a principled argument, consistent with his small-government agenda, that it’s simply not fair for politicians to pick economic winners and losers.
The problem? It’s apparently hard to find a company in Ontario that hasn’t benefited from a little government largesse. So for two days in a row, Mr. Hudak has awkwardly staged his campaign photo-ops at businesses that took government subsidies.
On Monday, he went to Metalworks recording studio in Mississauga, which benefited from a grant under the Liberals’ Ontario Music Fund. In fact, Metalworks CEO Gil Moore had even helped the Liberals launch the fund (“You guys are number one on our charts!” he enthusiastically told Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Culture Minister Michael Chan at the announcement a year ago.) Given the curious contradiction, reporters asked Mr. Hudak repeatedly if he planned to cancel the Music Fund if elected premier. Mr. Hudak refused to answer, dodging the question a total of four times.
Then on Tuesday, he visited Automatic Coating Limited, a Toronto company that recently received a $50,000 business development grant from the federal government.
Peppered with more uncomfortable questions, he at first tried to dodge, before finally reiterating his subsidy-cutting policy.
“Instead of giving cheques out to the well-connected, actually lower taxes for all businesses to succeed on an even playing field, get hydro under control and stop with the government debt,” he said.