As has been widely reported, the Ontario NDP made a costing mistake in their platform budget — but was it the $7-billion mistake stated by Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford Sunday night?
Let’s break it down.
During the final Ontario leaders debate on Sunday evening, Ford said that the NDP budget included a miscalculation of $7 billion and argued the party could not be trusted to be fiscally responsible because of that.
“This comes down to who you trust with your money,” Ford said. “The NDP made a mistake of $7 billion in their budget. The NDP can’t do math, and the Liberals are cooking the books.”
He then stated shortly after that the mistake was $1.5 billion each year over five years.
The NDP did make a costing mistake in the budgeting of their 2018 platform.
That mistake, though, was to the tune of $1.4 billion annually.
It was a result of counting a $700-million reserve fund as a revenue for the government rather than an expense over several years.
The mistake was first pointed out by the Ottawa Citizen as was also touted by Ontario Leader Kathleen Wynne as a suggestion the party could not be trusted to be fiscally responsible.
Former Parliamentary budget officer and economist Kevin Page had costed the platform for the NDP and confirmed the mistake to media, summing it up as “a spreadsheet type of error.”
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath responded by saying her party would stay committed to its platform promises despite the additional $1.4-billion per year price tag as a result of that miscalculation.
The Ontario Progressive Conservatives have not released a costed platform.