The whoppers in Tim Hudak's "Truth" ad

This is the latest ad from the Ontario Progressive Conservatives. They call it “Truth”. But in fact, it features their leader saying at least one thing that is demonstrably and unequivocally untrue and one other statement that is unlikely to be true. Let’s break it down by looking at two key claims Hudak makes early in this ad. (I’m assuming by now, you’ve watched the ad)

“The truth is that a million people in our province woke up this morning in our province without a job.”

Nope. Sorry. That’s not the truth. Not even close to the truth. In some joints, that would be a called a flat-out lie. I’ve already de-bunked this wildly incorrect claim at this blog. You can read that de-bunking here. But here’s the basics: Statistics Canada says that there are 555,000 Ontarians who want a job but do not have one. Not a million. About half that many. But, say some Hudak apologists, what about those who have a part-time job but really want a full-time job? To you I say: Whether or not they like the job they have, those people still “woke up this morning” with a job. The Hudak apologist will come back at me with this: What about those who have left the province to look for work? And to you I say, well then they didn’t “wake up this morning … in our province”, did they? And even more so, if they left our province to find work they probably have a job so they don’t count as waking up “without a job.” Sorry, Hudak gang — you should just stop saying this because it’s just not true.

“I could tell you that if we do nothing, the jobs we’ve lost will just come back on their own..”

First: what jobs have we lost? Well, it’s true that since the Liberals were elected in 2003 until last month, 314,500 manufacturing jobs have vanished in the province. To put that in perspective, for every three manufacturing jobs there were in 2003, today there are only two. But it is also just as true that there are 157,100 more “professional, scientific and technical services” jobs; 9,600 more jobs in forestry and oil and gas; 188,000 more jobs in health care; 85,500 more jobs in construction. All these sectors pay at least as well as “manufacturing.”  They are good jobs.

Overall, there are 686,000 more jobs in Ontario now than there were in 2003, an 11 per cent increase.

And even if we count jobs just in the 31 months since the last Ontario election, the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals have seen 203,000 more private sector jobs while the size of public sector payrolls decreased by 19,800. So what his Hudak talking about when he says “the jobs we’ve lost”? Public sector jobs?

So it’s unclear what “jobs we’ve lost” Hudak is talking about. But what about the other idea he’s expressing here? If you watch this line in context, Hudak is really saying job creation will not happen if the government at Queen’s Park does nothing. But, in fact, an economist the Progressive Conservatives themselves are citing today as evidence that their Million Jobs Plan can work is actually saying quite the opposite, that doing nothing would at least create half-a-million jobs and would quite likely create a million new jobs. The headline on the article by Phillip Cross, a former chief economic analyst at Statistics Canada, reads “Tim Hudak’s Million Jobs Plan is easy to achieve”. In fact, what Cross argues (rather poorly but more on that later) is that if you did nothing, the Ontario economy of its own accord would create 1 million new jobs over eight years. So the headline might as well be “Million Jobs Plan is easy to achieve for Any Old Fool.”

Is Cross right? Well, he’s not right in the sense that, as he implied in the piece,  it’s “easy” to create those jobs or that Ontario routinely created a million jobs every eight years. In fact, a much better analysis of Hudak’s ambitious target was done by Western University economist Mike Moffatt who, before Hudak even announced details of his plan or showed off his faulty math, took a look at yearly changes in employment in Ontario from 1977 to 2013. Over that 36-year-span, there are 30 8-year periods, i.e. 1977-1984; 1978-1985, 1979-1986 and so on up to 2006-2013. Turns out if you look at the 30 8-year-periods over that time, the Ontario economy managed to generate a million new jobs just four times.  Four for 30. That ain’t easy. That’s long odds. Moffatt’s conclusion?  “Given this past performance, adding one million net new jobs is an ambitious — but not impossible — target. Policy, no matter how designed, alone will not get us there. Ontario also needs a great deal of luck.” And favourable exchange rates. And favourable commodity prices. And favourable interest rates. And many more favourable variables completely beyond the control of any government at Queen’s Park. No, Mr. Cross, a million jobs in 8 years is not “easy.”

In the meantime, Hudak has an election to win and, rather than focus on the abysmal Liberal record of waste ($1 billion thrown away on the gas plant scandal to win a few seats in 2011) or dubious ethical behaviour (OPP have an ongoing criminal investigation into activities during McGuinty’s final moths while this election is ongoing) or deadly incompetence (the Air ORNGE scandal resulted in at least three deaths), Hudak wants to make the ballot question his Million Jobs Plan.  And yet, anything Hudak says on this matter will continue to have little or no credibility until he acknowledges the “truth” of Ontario’s unemployment situation as well as the glaring holes in the logic and math on his job creation plans.


15 thoughts on “The whoppers in Tim Hudak's "Truth" ad”

  1. “Turns out if you look at the 30 8-year-periods over that time, the Ontario economy managed to generate a million new jobs just four times.”

    It just so happens that all 4 of those times happened the last time the PCs were in government. Not a coincidence.

    In fact, look at the trend line that Mike Moffatt published in the article that Mr. Akin linked to.

    The 8 year change in Ontario Employment started improving shortly after the PCs took over, and started getting worse shortly after the Liberals took over. The line is stunning.

    1. It’s quite plausible that it is just a coincidence that periods of job creation appear to coincide with periods when PCs were in power.
      Correlation does not imply causation.

      A million new jobs cannot be created quickly. It can take years for businesses to establish themselves, expand markets and product lines, build new facilities and find larger premises – all before significant numbers of new employees will be required.

      Perhaps those historical periods of enormous job growth were a result of the policies of the previous Liberal governments, naturally time delayed by the complex logistics and business planning which will necessitate creating new jobs.

      It’s also quite plausible that the periods of enormous job growth in Ontario have little to do with government policies and political parties. Much of Ontario’s economy and job market are dictated by events, economic factors and corporate decisions in the US and Europe.

    2. Over that same time period, our dollar was not strong. This creates an excellent market for exports, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Mr. Harris’ policies.
      Furthermore, correlation does not indicate causation. Did our economy benefit from investments in things such as infrastructure by the previous regime, for example? Investing in public infrastructure with public money is a long-proven fix for economic woes (for example, that’s what broke the Great Depression). Perhaps Mr. Harris’ policies didn’t create the increase in job creation, in fact, is it possible that his policies slowed down the economic engine of the day? Also, what type of jobs did he create? That’s important too. I don’t know the answers to all of these questions, but they are all important things to consider when looking at these trends.

    3. There are tonnes of cranes in the sky in Toronto right now that Rob Ford wants everyone to believe are there because of his amazing skills at mayor-ing.

      A large ship at sea can’t turn on a dime. The captain sets a new heading and eventually the ship will achieve the new course.

      What does this have to do with your comment? The cranes in the sky in Toronto they can be attributed to the economic climate inherited from a previous administration. So by that example we can draw the conclusion that your statement as ill conceived.

    4. If I remember correctly we had a strong Federal government at the time. The Liberal government were providing surplus budgets year after year. I think it was their actions not the Mike Harris government that lead to the job creation.

  2. Thank you for pointing out the lies from the Hudak camp. As someone from Niagara, I have had to listen to spin and lies for far too long from this guy. I can honestly say outside of photo ops and critiques this man has done nothing to make Ontario a better place!

  3. I fully expect that we will witness #hudaks nose growing in real time during the debate tonight. He is quite frankly in to deep to change course now, so the truth will not be uttered by him during the dabate on jobs.

  4. “Statistics Canada says that there are 555,000 Ontarians who want a job but do not have one.” -Does that count those who are not on EI? How do the people who have run out of EI benefits but still don’t have a job get counted?

    1. Who is getting EI has nothing to do with it, Doris. If you want a job and don’t have one, then StatsCan counts you as unemployed. Period. Doesn’t matter if you’re on EI or Social Assistance or not. Do click through on the links I’ve provided for more information.

  5. Thanks for all of this info David even I know it”s alittle far fected I”ll still vote for tim because the fibs and the ndp just can”t be trusted esp the fibs scandle after scandle it”s just way to much

    1. Right Kevin…I cannot believe how quickly the Ontario people forget all of the lies and scandals of the Fiberals. They pass the buck on scandals and take credit for the PC’s fix ups when they get voted back in. MHF points out that each time there have been job increases, the PC’s were in power. David A says there are only 555K out of work, but that is now…every day we have young people becoming of age to work, and everyday we have immigrants coming in who need to work so over the next 8 years this can easily be 1 million. I like the PC’s point on getting immigrants working in their fields of expertise. It is something I have been saying for years. Rather than have them collecting assistance and/or working under the table, or retraining to do something totally different and taking spots in our university and colleges, why don’t we get them working in their fields instead of taking jobs that could be had by less educated people and/or students that want to work. Instead of having dentists, teachers, nurses, lawyers, etc cleaning toilets, have them in apprenticeship programs in their fields proving their skills and starting their own practices or joining existing ones, growing our economy, and reducing our deficit. I’ve heard of more than a few immigrants who were working under the table while collecting their government cheques. They were making more money than me, and not paying a penny in taxes.

  6. People like Kevin frighten me! We could show him exactly where the platform has giants holes and yet he’d still vote the self professed math man who has an obvious problem counting.

    Why not NDP?? If we vote conservative, we lose 100,000 jobs and we’ll won’t see 1 million jobs. I doubt we’d see a leader who want to step down WHEN his job plan doesn’t pan out.

    Governments don’t create one million jobs. The private sector doesn’t.

  7. Your article makes it sound like creating more jobs than we have people looking for work would be a problem. The ability for someone to move from a low paying entry level job to a higher paying position sounds like a dream come true to many, other provinces that have this issue seem to be doing quite well, and their economies and work forces are growing.
    The statement of a million jobs may be ambitious, it may be unreachable, but it is a goal, and I would rather vote for someone with goals than someone with no ethics and no plan.

    1. And what makes you think Hudaxe’s plan will result in moving people into higher paying jobs? One of his initiatives is to allow employers to hire apprentices 1:1 to journey-persons, instead of the current 5;1 ratio. He claims this will create more opportunities – in fact the opposite is true. No-one is going to hire an apprentice to fill a non-existent job. If they don’t have enough journey-persons on site to meet the ratio, the employer can hire a journey-person instead of an apprentice. Hudak’s idea change won’t create opportunities, it will simply replace journey-person positions with lower-paid apprenticeship positions. Imagine that, 200,000 journey-person positions replaced by apprenticeships! Furthermore, with a 1:1 ratio, just how good is the training for the apprentice going to be? How good is the service for the customer going to be? I don’t foresee positive answers to either of those questions. That ought to put a big monkey-wrench into the trades portion of our economy. Replacing good jobs with crap jobs is NOT job creation, and it will only slow economic growth, because it’s people with good jobs who have money to spend that stimulate the economy, not corporate welfare in the forms of tax breaks.

  8. I can’t believe that people think just because the Liberals have lied to is that the other parties don’t. It doesn’t matter who is in power, they will lie and cheat us. I have always liked what the NDP stand fir but I don’t think they can do much in power. I think the liberals are big fat liars and cheaters. But to have Tim Hudak in power really scares me. He has lied to us right now. If you watched the debate, you can see that the other parties have ideas to increase employment but just not lying and saying a million jobs. Privatization and contracting out does not work. I have family in the government and they have facts to show that after a few years we, the taxpayers, pay more for those services than if it was a government run. Think about it, we can cap a government employees wages but we can’t in a private company. The cuts the Harris government made in the public sector have affected us all you just are not aware of them. Snow removal is one example. Do you know how many claims the government has had yo pay put to victims of accidents on our highways because the contractors did not clear the snow quick enough or efficient enough? Millions bad growing.
    Wake up people, the PC work for big business and can care less about the middle class. I say vote for the lesser of the evils bad to me and many I have spoken to, Tim Hudak is the most evil.

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