Conservatives have been reticent about their plans to cut public services after the blowback from Doug Ford’s cuts in Ontario. In keeping with this strategy, Andrew Scheer chose to release his party’s cuts late on the Friday evening before the Thanksgiving weekend. 

What were they worried about Canadians discovering? A promise to cut $53 billion dollars from government expenditures, including $14 billion of unspecified cuts which could include cuts to anything from healthcare to infrastructure.

Compared to the cuts Ford has made in Ontario, Scheer’s proposed cuts are astronomical. So far, Doug Ford’s government has made around $4 billion in spending cuts.  Scheer is promising $53 billion in cuts, a figure more than 13 times larger. To put that number in perspective, consider that British Columbia’s entire public expenditures for this year were also $53 billion.  

Scheer’s cuts would, at current spending levels, constitute 15% of Canada’s annual federal budget. Ford’s $4 billion of cuts only constitute about 2.5% of Ontario’s annual budget.   

Andrew Scheer has insisted that these cuts will not affect funding to critical programs like healthcare, education, and pensions. Ford also made similar promises prior to his election in 2018. “I want to assure our public sector workers, to our nurses, to our teachers and to our doctors, that no one, and I repeat no one, will lose their job,” Ford promised Ontarians.

Of course, that did not end up being true. Over $1 billion, or 25 percent, of his cuts came directly from slashing social services.  Ontario has been left with larger class sizes, fewer teachers, longer hospital wait-times, and a slew of axed programs that were meant to help the most vulnerable.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy asserts that Scheer’s platform would create a $67 billion shortfall from current spending. Their analysis of Scheer’s proposals state that there is “no consideration of the feasibility of reducing the size of government by this amount.  Due to the size of the spending reduction, it can be expected that there will be a negative impact on the quality of government services to Canadians and/or public service layoffs”

Despite this, Scheer sought to assuage Canadians concerned that his cuts will eat into healthcare budgets, benefits for seniors, or other key programs, claiming that he will find savings by reducing public servants’ cubicle sizes