Tim Hudak won't say whether he would eliminate TVO by Robert Benzie

May 15, 2014

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak repeatedly dodged questions Thursday about whether he would kill public broadcaster TVOntario, which produces such programs as The Agenda With Steve Paikin.

Source: Toronto Star

LONDON—Polkaroo may be one of the 100,000 public service jobs that Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak will cut to balance the books.

Hudak, who wants to eliminate the province’s $12.5 billion budget deficit by 2016-17, repeatedly dodged questions Thursday about whether he would kill TVOntario.

Operated by the Ontario Education Communications Authority, a Crown agency, and home to programs such as The Agenda With Steve Paikin, TVO receives about $43 million a year in provincial funding.

“Is Polkaroo?” said Hudak, with a laugh when asked if the network’s iconic children’s mascot would be among the 9,700 “non-teaching” education workers he will trim as part of his 100,000 public service cuts.

“These are recommendations as you know . . . of the Drummond commission,” he said, referring to economist Don Drummond’s 2012 report to former Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty on streamlining government.

“We’ll look at Mr. Drummond’s recommendations for implementation,” continued the PC leader.

There is no mention of TVO in Drummond’s report, which included billions on the cuts needed in education.

“If you’re asking me if we’re going to reduce bureaucracy wherever it exists in government to invest in front lines the answer is yes,” said Hudak.

“If we can find middle managers we don’t need so we can protect the front lines and improve them the answer is always going to be yes to that.”

Hudak made his comments at a 2001 Audio Video store where he was highlighting his promised 10 per cent reduction in income taxes starting in 2018 if he manages to balance the budget and win a second mandate.

Party officials said afterward it is too soon to say specifically what would have to be cut in the first term, including TVO.

© Toronto Star