Allowing beer and wine to be sold in convenience stores, reforming the income tax system and creating a new tax credit for long-term care homes – these are some of the ideas Ontario Progressive Conservatives will consider adopting at a convention this weekend.
Proposed policies are available only to convention delegates and party insiders, but The Globe and Mail obtained a copy ahead of the conference. The list also contains 11 proposed changes to the party’s constitution, including the full text of the amendment that would allow for a review of Tim Hudak’s leadership.
There are 24 policy proposals on the list, covering everything from international trade to cutting the size of government to social issues. If these proposals are adopted, they could form the basis for the party’s platform in the next electoral campaign, widely expected in the spring.
One proposal, from the St. Paul’s PC Association and the party’s youth wing, calls for convenience stores and grocery stores to be allowed to apply for a licence to sell beer and wine. Another resolution envisions cutting the number of income tax brackets and reducing the income tax rate. To pay for this, the proposal says, other tax credits would be cut.
Several resolutions deal with bringing down the cost of government, including one that calls for the abolition of numerous agencies, boards or commissions. Which agencies would be targeted is not made clear. Another proposal says all government workers should be moved to cheaper defined contribution pension plans.
One proposal calls for a 35-per-cent tax credit for long-term care facilities. Another would reform securities law to allow non-publicly traded companies to crowd-source funding in exchange for ownership stakes.
PC spokesman Alan Sakach confirmed that the list obtained by The Globe is genuine. He said the party doesn’t publish its policy proposals publicly because it is the right of convention delegates to consider them first.
Of the 11 proposed constitutional amendments, five come from party brass and the others from various members.
Amendment 10, backed by a group of London Tories, is certain to be the most contentious. It lays out a process for the party to force a leadership review. Under the proposal, 50 per cent of caucus members, party executives and riding association presidents would have to agree to a review, which would then be conducted by mail-in ballot among all party members.
The move is an indictment of Mr. Hudak’s leadership, which looked particularly shaky after his Tories failed to win a by-election in London-West, a suburban riding they targeted hard. Instead, the seat was taken by the NDP.
Mr. Hudak sounded non-plussed when asked about the internal revolt earlier this week.
“Footnote in the history of the party,” he said. “Our PC Party has been known from time to time to get together at conventions, we have our quarrels and then we unite and we are a formidable force when it comes to campaigns and elections.”
Other potential constitutional amendments deal with routine housekeeping matters, including communications.
One amendment, moved by MPP Randy Hillier and 14 other party members, would ban political staffers and consultants from sitting on the party executive.