Transcript: Revamping Ontario's Public Services | Oct 23, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "Revamping Ontario's public services. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says PROCUREMENT.
STREAMLINING. USING TECHNOLOGY
TO DO MORE WITH LESS.
NOT EXACTLY THE KIND OF
THRILLING POLICY ANNOUNCEMENT
THAT EARNS SPLASHY HEADLINES OR
BRAGGING RIGHTS ON THE CAMPAIGN
TRAIL.
BUT FOR
THIS
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT,
WHICH PROMISED COST-SAVINGS
THROUGH EFFICIENCIES, IT'S
CRITICAL STUFF.
PETER BETHLENFALVY IS THE
PRESIDENT OF THE TREASURY BOARD
OF CABINET AND THE PROGRESSIVE
CONSERVATIVE MPP FOR
PICKERING-UXBRIDGE, AND HE JOINS
US NOW TO EXPLAIN THE NEW "SMART
INITIATIVES" PLAN ANNOUNCED JUST
TODAY, THAT HE SAYS WILL SAVE
TAXPAYER DOLLARS AND DELIVER
BETTER GOVERNMENT SERVICE.
MR. PRESIDENT, WELCOME BACK.

Bethlenfalvy says GOOD MORNING.

Steve says LET'S TRY THIS.
BECAUSE IN DISCUSSING WHAT YOU
ACTUALLY DO FOR A LIVING, WITH
MEMBERS OF OUR CREW, THERE
WAS... IS HE A CABINET MINISTER?
I MEAN, YOU DON'T CALL HIM
MINISTER, YOU CALL HIM
MR. PRESIDENT.
WHAT'S THE TREASURY BOARD?
WOULD YOU JUST TAKE A MOMENT AND
TELL EVERYBODY WHAT YOU DO?

The caption changes to "Peter Bethlenfalvy. Treasury Board Secretariat."

Bethlenfalvy says SURE, LOVE TO.
PRESIDENT OF THE TREASURY BOARD,
IT'S A CABINET POSITION.
THERE ARE SEVEN OTHER MINISTERS
ON THE BOARD.
I'M THE CHAIR.
AND EVERY OTHER GOVERNMENT
PROGRAM SPENDING DECISION GETS
LITIGATED AND APPROVED AT
TREASURY BOARD.
IT'S NOT JUST PROGRAM SPENDING.
THAT'S 150 BILLION DOLLARS PLUS
INTEREST.
IT'S ALSO THE 144 BILLION DOLLARS OVER
THE NEXT TEN YEARS OF CAPITAL
PROGRAMS.
SO WE HAVE TO... THE RIGOUR OF
TREASURY BOARD, HAS TO BE THE
MINISTER SITS ON THE OTHER SIDE
OF THE BOARD AND PRESENTS THEIR
CASE, WHY THIS HOSPITAL SHOULD
BE BUILT OR THAT TRANSIT LINE
SHOULD BE BUILT OR THIS PROGRAM
SHOULD BE ENHANCED, AND IT
ALLOWS FOR, I THINK, BETTER
DECISION-MAKING, AND OF COURSE
ULTIMATELY CABINET WILL MAKE THE
FINAL DECISION, BUT IT GOES
THROUGH THE RIGOUR OF TREASURY
BOARD.
SO ALL ROADS GO THROUGH THERE.

Steve says GOTCHA.
OKAY.
I WANT TO GO BACK TO BASICS HERE
TO START OUT WITH.
THE PROBLEM THAT THIS SMART
INITIATIVES ANNOUNCEMENT THAT
YOU MADE TODAY, WHAT PROBLEM
DOES IT AIM TO SOLVE?

The caption changes to "A problem to solve."

Bethlenfalvy says YOU KNOW, IT'S ABSOLUTELY A
GREAT QUESTION BECAUSE WHY ARE
WE DOING THIS?
AND I THINK THERE'S TWO REAL BIG
REASONS, AND ONE OF THEM IS
AROUND... AND A LOT OF IT IS NOT
IDEOLOGY, IT'S JUST PRAGMATIC.
I'M GOING TO MAKE SOME
PREDICTIONS.
WE'RE AT THE PEAK OF THE
ECONOMIC CYCLE.
TEN YEARS OF ECONOMIC RECOVERY.
SO I THINK JOHN MAYNARD KEYNES
WOULD BE ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE
RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T
KIND OF PUT THE TYPES OF
DISCIPLINE IN PLACE TO BE ABLE
TO ABSORB FUTURE SHOCKS.
SO THAT'S ONE... JUST THE MATH.
WE'RE ALSO AT THE HIGHEST
DEBT-TO-GDP THIS PROVINCE HAS
EVER HAD.
I WAS LISTENING TO YOUR PODCAST
THE OTHER DAY, YOUR SHOW,
TALKING ABOUT DEFICITS AND DEBT.
I WOULD REMIND YOUR VIEWERS, YOU
KNOW, WHEN BOB RAE TOOK OVER IN
1990, THE DEBT-TO-GDP, AND THAT
WAS A BIG PART OF YOUR FOCUS,
WAS 14 percent, AND OVER HIS TERM IN
OFFICE, WENT TO 32 percent.

Steve says NOW WE'RE AT 40...

The caption changes to "Peter Bethlenfalvy, @Pbethlenfalvy."

Bethlenfalvy says AT 40, WHERE DEB MATTHEWS AT
THIS TABLE SAID 40 IS THAT RED
LINE.
SO TO ABSORB FUTURE SHOCKS.
IN GOOD TIMES, I THINK YOU'VE
GOT TO BE PRUDENT.
I THINK THE SECOND THING IS, WE
HAVE AN AGING POPULATION.
AGAIN, THAT'S JUST MATH.
THAT'S NOT IDEOLOGY.
AND HEALTH CARE IS OUR BIGGEST
SPEND.
IT TAKES 40 CENTS ON EVERY
DOLLAR.
IT'S OUR FASTEST GROWING, THE
PRESSURE THERE, BECAUSE WE'VE
GOT AN AGING POPULATION.
SO WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THAT.
AND THE FINAL THING I'LL SAY WHY
WE'RE DOING THIS, EVERY
GOVERNMENT, WHETHER YOU'RE NDP,
LIBERAL, OR CONSERVATIVE, YOU'RE
THERE TO FUND SOCIAL PROGRAMS.
TOMMY DOUGLAS STARTED... HE WAS
A FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE PERSON
BECAUSE YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO
HAVE SUSTAINABLE SOCIAL
PROGRAMS.
PAUL MARTIN IN THE '90s, A BIG
PART OF WHAT HE DID WAS SO THAT
WE COULD FUND AND SUSTAIN SOCIAL
PROGRAMS.
WE'RE DOING THE SAME THING,
BECAUSE YOU JUST CAN'T GO ON AN
UNSUSTAINABLE PATH AND SPEND
MORE MONEY THAN YOU'RE TAKING
IN.

Steve says SO THIS IS THE
FOUNDATION UPON WHICH YOU HAVE
MADE THE ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE
SMART INITIATIVE PLAN.
WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO
DIFFERENTLY GOING FORWARD THAT
WILL ADDRESS THOSE ISSUES YOU
JUST REFERRED TO?

The caption changes to "Peter Bethlenfalvy. PC MPP, Pickering-Uxbridge."

Bethlenfalvy says WELL, YOU KNOW, OVER 30 YEARS
IN BUSINESS IN THE PRIVATE
SECTOR, I COME INTO GOVERNMENT,
AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE AS
A TEAM HAVE SEEN IS THAT YOU CAN
DO THINGS WAY MORE EFFICIENTLY
AND A LOT SMARTER.
YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT A NUMBER OF
INITIATIVES THAT WILL ALLOW US
TO DO SMARTER GOVERNMENT.
YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU DO THAT, YOU
FREE UP RESOURCES.
YOU FREE UP DOLLARS.
YOU FREE UP TIME TO BE ABLE TO
REINVEST IN THOSE THINGS THAT
MATTERS TO YOU.
YOU KNOW, IT CAN BE SOMETHING...
YOU'RE RIGHT.
IT MAY NOT BE ON THE FRONT PAGE
ABOVE THE FOLD AND REALLY
CATCHY, BUT THIS IS IMPORTANT
WORK TO TAKE THOSE SCARCE
TAXPAYER DOLLARS AND REALLY
SPEND THEM IN THE MOST EFFICIENT
WAY SO THAT THE MONEY CAN FLOW
WHERE IT NEEDS TO FLOW.

Steve says WE'LL GET TO SOME
EXAMPLES IN A SECOND.
I'VE HEARD YOU TALK ABOUT THE
NEED TO CHANGE THE CULTURE OF
GOVERNMENT.
WHAT HAS BEEN WRONG WITH THE
CULTURE OF GOVERNMENT THAT
YOU'VE SEEN?

Bethlenfalvy says WELL, I THINK... YOU KNOW,
YOU REALLY HAVE TO ALWAYS SAY
CAN WE DO THINGS BETTER?
CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT?
AND THE TONE FROM THE TOP, IT
REALLY MATTERS.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT TO THE
PREMIER.
YOU'VE HEARD HIM TALK ABOUT
FINDING EFFICIENCIES, PROTECTING
AND PRESERVING FRONT LINE JOBS.
HE WANTS TO ALWAYS INVEST IN
FRONT LINE AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS
THAT SUPPORT THE FRONT LINES.
IF YOU DON'T HAVE THAT MIND SET
AND THAT CULTURE OF CONSTANTLY
THINKING ABOUT, HOW CAN WE DO
THINGS BETTER, HOW CAN WE DO
THINGS SMARTER, YOU GET
COMPLACENT.
AND SO THIS IS AS MUCH A TONE
FROM THE TOP THAT ALLOWS FOR
THAT LEVEL OF CHANGE TO GO
THROUGH GOVERNMENT... IN THE
PRIVATE SECTOR, WHEN YOU DO
THAT, YOU JUST DON'T HIT A
BUTTON AND SAY, LET'S ALL
CHANGE, LET'S ALL GET SMARTER.
IT TAKES A LOT OF HARD WORK AND
YOU HAVE TO DO IT TOGETHER.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says GOVERNMENTS BUY A
LOT OF STUFF ALL THE TIME.
TENS IF NOT HUNDREDS
OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF
STUFF ALL THE TIME.
HOW WOULD YOU IMPROVE THE WAY
GOVERNMENT BUYS STUFF SO THAT IT
DOESN'T COST US SO MUCH?

The caption changes to "Buying stuff."

Bethlenfalvy says YOU KNOW, IT REALLY IS AN
IMPORTANT POINT.
YOU KNOW, WE BUY, AS GOVERNMENT
ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF
ONTARIO, MAYBE 20 percent OF OUR
EXPENDITURES, 30 BILLION DOLLARS,
ALMOST 30 BILLION DOLLARS EVERY YEAR TO
BUY STUFF, GOODS AND SERVICES.
AND WHAT WE'VE ANNOUNCED IS THAT
WE'RE ABLE TO USE BRACE
TECHNOLOGY, LEARN FROM OTHER
JURISDICTIONS THAT ARE WAY AHEAD
OF US.
BY THE WAY ONTARIO HAS A REAL
OPPORTUNITY TO BUY IN BULK, FOR
EXAMPLE.
YOU CAN HAVE SOMEBODY IN A
HOSPITAL BUYING FURNITURE AND
SOMEBODY IN A SCHOOL BOARD RIGHT
NEXT DOOR BUYING THE SAME
FURNITURE.
WHEN YOU POOL THIS, AND
TECHNOLOGY AND THE SOFTWARE
PLATFORM ALLOWS YOU TO KIND OF
COMBINE THAT SO THAT YOU CAN
FIND EFFICIENCIES AND SAVINGS
THROUGH THAT...

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON
THAT EXAMPLE, THOUGH.
IF YOU'RE RUNNING A SCHOOL AND
YOU'RE RUNNING A HOSPITAL,
YOU'RE NEVER TALKING TO EACH
OTHER AND YOU WILL PROBABLY
THEREFORE NEVER MIND OUT THAT
YOU BOTH NEED NEW FURNITURE AT
THE SAME TIME.
SO HOW DO YOU GET THE LEFT HAND
TALKING TO THE RIGHT HAND SO YOU
CAN ACHIEVE THOSE SAVINGS YOU
JUST REFERRED TO.

Bethlenfalvy says THAT'S WHY WE SAY YOU CAN'T
DO THIS ALONE, YOU HAVE TO DO
THIS TOGETHER.
AND WHEN TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS YOU
TO COLLABORATE MORE EFFECTIVELY
AND WHERE THE TONE FROM THE TOP
Bethlenfalvy says WORK TOGETHER TO FIND THOSE
SAVINGS AND EMPOWER PEOPLE TO DO
THAT, THE GENIUS OF INDIVIDUALS,
THEY WILL GET IT DONE.
BUT LET'S PUT THE CONDITIONS IN
PLACE THAT THEY CAN GET IT DONE
THROUGH TECHNOLOGY.
THERE'S BEEN... I MEAN, BANKS
AND OTHER LARGE ORGANIZATIONS,
MULTIPLE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE
INVESTED TO FIND THESE SAVINGS,
AND THEY DO.
SO WE'RE NOT THE FIRST.

Steve says HOW MUCH MONEY DO
YOU THINK, ONCE THIS SMART
INITIATIVE SYSTEM IS IN PLACE,
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOU CAN
SAVE ANNUALLY?

Bethlenfalvy says WE'RE SAVING, FOR EXAMPLE, ON
CENTRALIZING SUPPLY.
WE'VE SAID THAT WE'RE LOOKING
FORWARD TO MINIMUM SAVINGS OF A
BILLION DOLLARS WITHIN FIVE
YEARS PER ANNUM.
YOU KNOW, ALL THESE INITIATIVES
THAT WE'RE ANNOUNCING ARE NOT
JUST ABOUT SAVINGS.
THEY'RE FREEING UP TIME.
THEY'RE FREEING UP PEOPLE TO
SPEND MORE TIME ON THE FRONT
LINES.
SO IT'S A COMBINATION OF SAVINGS
AND A COMBINATION OF
PRODUCTIVITY GAINS.

Steve says IN THAT CHAIR... LET
ME THINK.
WAS IT EARLIER THIS SUMMER?
I THINK SO.
EARLIER THIS SUMMER WE HAD THE
FORMER PRESIDENT OF ESTONIA WHO
TALKED ABOUT THE FACT THAT HIS
COUNTRY HAS TRULY DEDICATED
ITSELF TO A KIND OF A DIGITAL
FIRST APPROACH TO GOVERNMENT IN
PROVIDING SERVICES, AND, YOU
KNOW, HE THOUGHT THERE WERE SOME
LESSONS FOR OTHER PLACES AROUND
THE WORLD TO PICK UP ON.
SO, YOUR GOOD FRIEND SHELDON
OSMOND IN THE CONTROL ROOM...

Bethlenfalvy says GO TO IT, SHELDON.

Steve says THERE YOU GO.
OKAY.
SHELDON, THE PRESIDENT OF THE
TREASURY BOARD JUST SAID, LET'S
ROLL THE CLIP FROM THE PRESIDENT
OF ESTONIA.
FIRE AWAY.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "June 11, 2019. Toomas Hendrik Ilves."
In the clip, Toomas and Steve talk in the studio.

Steve says I AM TOLD THAT THERE ARE NOW
ONLY THREE OCCASIONS ON
WHICH ESTONIAN'S ARE ESSENTIALLY
FORCED TO INTERACT WITH THEIR
GOVERNMENT FACE TO FACE, THAT
SO MUCH OF LIFE NOW CAN HAPPEN
DIGITALLY AS A RESULT OF THE
MEASURES YOU'VE TAKEN.
WHAT ARE THOSE THREE OCCASIONS?

Toomas, in his sixties, clean-shaven, says GETTING MARRIED.
I MEAN, YOU HAVE TO GO
REGISTER... YOU CAN GET MARRIED
IN CHURCH, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO
REGISTER YOUR MARRIAGE.
GETTING DIVORCED.
THAT'S A LITTLE MORE DIFFICULT.
YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP BOTH OF YOU
AT THE SAME TIME AND THE SAME
PLACE.
AND FINALLY, WHICH IS OF EXTREME
RELEVANCE I THINK THESE DAYS ALL
OVER, FROM LONDON TO NEW YORK TO
VANCOUVER, B.C., IS THAT YOU
CANNOT HAVE ANONYMOUS SHELL
COMPANIES BUYING REAL ESTATE,
AND SO IF YOU'RE A COMPANY THAT
WANTS TO BUY... IF YOU'RE A
PERSON, YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP.
BUT IF YOU'RE A COMPANY, A
MEMBER OF THE BOARD HAS TO SHOW
UP BECAUSE WE WANT TO KNOW IT'S
A REAL COMPANY WITH A REAL BOARD.

The clip ends.

Steve says SO THE SUGGESTION IS
THERE IS SO MUCH MORE OF HOW A
CITIZEN INTERACTS WITH HIS OR
HER OWN COUNTRY OR PROVINCE OR
WHATEVER THAT CAN GO ONLINE.
I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE
PLANNED IN THAT REGARD.

The caption changes to "Going digital."

Bethlenfalvy says WE'VE LOOKED TO ESTONIA AND
WE'VE TALKED TO A NUMBER OF
JURISDICTIONS.
YOU KNOW, IT STARTS... WHEN WE
GOT ELECTED, STEVE, WE
CAMPAIGNED ON FINDING
EFFICIENCIES, DOING THINGS
SMARTER, YOU KNOW, RESTORING
TRUST AND ACCOUNTABILITY.
SO WE HAVE A PUBLIC MANDATE TO
DO THIS.
AND WE HAVE A PLAN.
I MEAN, WHAT WE'RE REALLY
TALKING, WE STARTED ON DAY ONE
AND HIGHLIGHTED A BUNCH OF
THINGS, SAVINGS ON LANDLINES OR
MARCH MADNESS, DOING THINGS
DIFFERENTLY, BUT WE NOW HAVE A
PLAN... A SUITE OF INITIATIVES
THAT WILL DRIVE US FORWARD IN
THE 21ST CENTURY.
DIGITAL FIRST, YOU'VE
HIGHLIGHTED ESTONIA'S, IS NOW A
LEADER.
THEY'VE GOT MAYBE 3 MILLION PEOPLE.
WE HAVE 14 MILLION PEOPLE.
BUT THE OPPORTUNITY IS EXACTLY
THE SAME.
YOU KNOW, I WAS FLYING THE OTHER
DAY.
YOU SHOW YOUR BOARDING PASS.
WE JUST ANNOUNCED RECENTLY YOUR
INSURANCE SLIP.
YOU CAN PUT IT ON YOUR PHONE.
WE HAVE VIRTUAL MEDICAL
APPOINTMENTS NOW WHERE, YOU
KNOW, MY HOSPITAL IN UXBRIDGE,
THERE'S A ROOM DEDICATED.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO COME DOWNTOWN
TO MEET A SPECIALIST.
YOU CAN GET HOOKED UP.
THE OPPORTUNITIES, YOUR ANGLING
OR HUNTING LICENCE, YOU CAN GET
IT ONLINE.
PRINT IT AT HOME.
THERE IS JUST AN INFINITE AMOUNT
OF INTERACTIONS WITH 14 MILLION
CITIZENS AT CERTAIN POINTS IN
THEIR LIVES WHERE YOU CAN GO
DIGITAL FIRST.
NOW, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE THE
OPTION, IF YOU WANT TO SHOW UP
AND DO IT, YOU CAN STILL DO IT.
BUT WE'RE GIVING THE CITIZENS A
CHOICE AND CONVENIENCE ON THAT.
I THINK THAT'S JUST THE WAY
FORWARD, AND CLEARLY IN OTHER
JURISDICTIONS ON THAT PATH.

Steve says I SHOULD DO A
FOLLOW-UP ON THIS INASMUCH AS
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN I e-mail AN
MPP'S OFFICE, FOR EXAMPLE, IF I
WANT TO BOOK AN INTERVIEW OR
PHONE.
I THINK YOU GUYS HAVE RIPPED OUT
ALL THE PHONES.
YOU CAN'T CALL ANYBODY ANYMORE.
USUALLY WHEN I EMAIL, IT'S WE'RE
NO LONGER MONITORING THIS EMAIL
ADDRESS.
I APPRECIATE YOU ARE TRYING TO
BE EFFICIENT AND SAVE MONEY.
I WONDER IF YOU'RE LESS
ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC NOW AS
A RESULT.

Bethlenfalvy says I THINK JUST THE OPPOSITE.
BY THE WAY, JUST TEXT US.

Steve says CAN YOU GIVE ME YOUR
PHONE NUMBER AFTER WE'RE DONE?

Bethlenfalvy says HAPPY TO DO THAT.
YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT, YOU
KNOW, OUR INTERACTIONS WITH
CITIZENS NOW IS WAY MORE
PROFOUND.
OUR ABILITY TO... WHEN WE
DEVELOPED THIS PLAN THROUGH THE
ERNST and YOUNG LINE-BY-LINE
LAST YEAR, I THINK WE GOT
RESPONSES FROM 15,000 PEOPLE
ON HOW TO DO GOVERNMENT SMARTER.

Steve says WE SHOULD EXPLAIN.
YOU HAD ERNST and YOUNG DO A DEEP
DIVE, LINE-BY-LINE THING, AND
THEY GAVE YOU A BUNCH OF
RECOMMENDATIONS HOW YOU CAN DO
THINGS SMARTER.

Bethlenfalvy says ONE OF THE THINGS WE DID AS
PART OF THAT IS WE REACHED OUT
TO PEOPLE AND GOT THEIR IDEAS AS
WELL.
YOUR OUTREACH, YOUR ABILITY TO
GET PEOPLE'S INPUT, HAS VASTLY
INCREASED.
NOW, IF PEOPLE WANT TO IGNORE
YOUR TEXT OR YOUR e-mail... YOU
KNOW, THIS IS ABOUT CUSTOMER
EXPERIENCE.
ANY PRIVATE SECTOR LARGE
CUSTOMER-FACING ORGANIZATION, OR
SMALL, YOU'VE GOT TO SATISFY THE
CUSTOMER.
AND I THINK ONE OF THE BIG
THINGS THAT I'VE REALLY SEEN
FROM BUSINESS IS WHERE YOU WANT
TO GET YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
TO BE THE BEST POSSIBLE AT THE
LOWEST PRICE POINT.
AND GOVERNMENT TYPICALLY IS THE
OTHER WAY.
IT'S A HIGH COST OF DELIVERY AND
THEY'RE REALLY UNHAPPY.
BUT EVERY TIME YOU DO SOMETHING
ONLINE, THAT MEANS... IT MEANS
ONE LESS PERSON WAITING IN LINE
AND I THINK THAT'S THE MODEL
THAT WE'RE TRYING TO PURSUE HERE.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says OKAY.
ARE YOU READY FOR MY FIRST HIGH
TIGHT FASTBALL HERE?

Bethlenfalvy says SURE.

Steve says HERE WE GO.
I WANT TO TALK CREDIBILITY.
THERE IS AN INDEPENDENT OFFICER
OF THE ONTARIO LEGISLATURE
CALLED THE FINANCIAL
ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICER, AND HE
HAS ALREADY SAID IN A REPORT
THAT YOUR GOVERNMENT HAS
DRAMATICALLY OVERSTATED THE SIZE
OF THE DEFICIT WHEN YOU CAME IN,
PRESUMABLY SO THAT YOU COULD DO
WHATEVER CHANGES YOU WANTED TO
DO AND THEN SHOW THE PEOPLE OF
ONTARIO, LOOK AT ALL THIS
PROGRESS WE HAVE MADE ON THE
DEFICIT.
LOOK HOW FISCALLY PRUDENT WE
ARE.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT YOU'RE NOT
DOING THAT HERE?

The caption changes to "Proving political credibility."

Bethlenfalvy says WELL, I THINK WITH GREAT
RESPECT FOR PETER...

Steve says PETER WELDMAN.

Bethlenfalvy says PETER.
I'M IMPRESSED WITH HIS FIRST
NAME.
I LIKE HIM ALREADY.
YOU KNOW, WHEN... THAT
INDEPENDENT COMMISSION THAT SAID
THE DEFICIT IN AUGUST 2018 WAS
15 BILLION DOLLARS.
THAT WASN'T OUR NUMBER.
THAT WAS AN INDEPENDENT GROUP'S
NUMBER.
IN APRIL OF 2019, WE SAID THE
DEFICIT WAS 11.7 BILLION DOLLARS.
THE FAO SAID THEY THOUGHT IT WAS
11.7 BILLION DOLLARS.
SO WE'VE MADE PROGRESS.
THE BIG STORY HERE... AND HE'S
INDEPENDENT.
AND THEN THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS,
WHICH WE RELEASED BACK IN
SEPTEMBER, SAID IT WAS
7.4 BILLION DOLLARS.
SO WE HAD THE FINAL NUMBERS IN.
THE AUDITOR GENERAL SIGNED OFF
ON THOSE NUMBERS.
SO THOSE ARE THE FACTS.
I THINK THE BIG NEWS HERE IS
IT'S GOOD NEWS FOR ONTARIANS
THAT WE'RE REDUCING THE DEFICIT
BECAUSE WHEN WE REDUCE THE
DEFICIT, WE ARE BORROWING LESS.
YOU KNOW, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE
THAT THESE PROGRAMS, THESE
SOCIAL PROGRAMS, ARE
SUSTAINABLE.
THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT.

Steve says BUT MY QUESTION IS
ABOUT CREDIBILITY, THOUGH.
MY QUESTION IS: IF YOU ARE
TELLING US THAT YOU'VE MADE THIS
MASSIVE PROGRESS ON DEFICIT
REDUCTION, WHICH THE FINANCIAL
ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICER HAS
SUGGESTED, MM, YOU'VE OVERSTATED
THE CASE...

Bethlenfalvy says HE HAS SAID THE SAME THINGS
WE'RE SAYING, THAT THE REVENUES
ARE MUCH HIGHER THAN WE
ANTICIPATED.
HE THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE LOWER.
WE THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE LOWER.
I GIVE A LOT OF CREDIT TO
PREMIER DOUG FORD AND THIS
GOVERNMENT FOR PUTTING THE
CONDITIONS IN PLACE FOR THE
GREAT ENTREPRENEURS AND SMALL
BUSINESSES, MEDIUM-SIZED
BUSINESSES... THE NUMBER OF JOBS
THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED OVER THE
LAST YEAR, OVER 250,000 NEW
JOBS.
NOT ONLY IS THAT GREAT FOR
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK... THESE
ARE GOOD JOBS... BUT ALSO THAT'S
MORE TAXPAYERS.
THAT'S MORE CONSUMERS.
SO OUR REVENUES ARE HIGHER THAN
EXPECTED.
THAT'S A GREAT NEWS STORY.
AND GETTING THE OTHER SIDE OF
THE EQUATION, THE SPENDING,
WE'RE DOING THINGS SMARTER.
WE'RE FINDING THOSE SAVINGS.
I TALKED ABOUT MARCH MADNESS...

Steve says BETTER EXPLAIN WHAT
THAT IS.

Bethlenfalvy says OKAY.
MARCH MADNESS, YOU MIGHT THINK
BECAUSE YOU'RE SUCH A SPORTS
AFICIONADO.

Steve says NOTHING TO DO WITH
BASKETBALL, I KNOW.

Bethlenfalvy says IT'S THE PRACTICE AT FISCAL YEAR END WHERE YOU HAVE SOME
ROOM LEFT IN YOUR BUDGET AND
SAY, WELL, IF WE DON'T GO SPEND
IT, IF WE DON'T USE IT, WE'LL
LOSE IT, SO WE BETTER BUY THOSE
CHAIRS OR CELL PHONES BECAUSE WE
MIGHT NOT GET APPROVAL FOR THAT
NEXT YEAR.
WE SAID, WELL, SIX WEEKS BEFORE
FISCAL YEAR END, WE SAID, IT'S
GOT TO GO THROUGH ME FIRST.
WE SAVED 153 MILLION DOLLARS THROUGH
THAT SORT OF EXPENDITURE PROGRAM
JUST BY A TWO-PARAGRAPH MEMO.
THERE ARE OTHER THINGS.
BUT THOSE ARE THE TYPES OF
SAVINGS.
THERE'S PENNIES BUT THERE'S ALSO
DOLLARS.
WE TALKED ABOUT SUPPLY CHAIN.
SO THE EXPENDITURES ARE COMING
IN LOWER.
THAT'S AT THE SAME TIME WHERE
WE'RE INCREASING INVESTMENTS IN
EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE AND
OTHER THINGS.
SO I THINK THAT'S WHAT THE FAO
REPORT SAID, AND THAT'S WHAT
WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO.

Steve says I CAN'T HAVE A
SENIOR CABINET MINISTER AT THIS
TABLE IN THE SAME WEEK IN WHICH
CANADIANS WENT TO THE POLLS
WITHOUT ASKING YOU SOME
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FEDERAL
ELECTION.
HOW MUCH DID YOU PARTICIPATE
PERSONALLY IN CAMPAIGNING DURING
THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN?

The caption changes to "Looking back at the Federal campaign."

Bethlenfalvy says WELL, FULL AND PLAIN
DISCLOSURE, I LOVE THIS COUNTRY,
AND I THINK PARTICIPATING,
REGARDLESS OF STRIPE, IS SO
IMPORTANT.
I WAS OUT THERE, I KNOCKED ON
DOORS... AFTER HOURS AND ON
WEEKENDS.
DIDN'T SLEEP FOR A COUPLE OF
WEEKS AND MONTHS.

Steve says HOW MANY RIDINGS?

Bethlenfalvy says I DID NINE RIDINGS.
KNOCKING ON DOORS.
IT'S GREAT TO CONNECT WITH
PEOPLE AND HEAR WHAT'S ON THEIR
MIND.
SO IT WAS... AND THAT'S PART OF
DEMOCRACY.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON
THAT BECAUSE YOU REPRESENT A 905
RIDING.
THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY FEDERALLY
AND FAMOUSLY MADE NO INROADS IN
THE 905 THIS TIME.
VIRTUALLY NONE.
WHY DO YOU THINK?

Bethlenfalvy says YOU KNOW, I'LL LET PUNDITS
AND OTHERS FIGURE THAT OUT.
I'M SURE THERE WILL BE BOOKS
WRITTEN AND PEOPLE ANALYSING
THAT.
WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS DEMOCRACY
WORKS, AND WE'RE GOING TO WORK
COLLABORATIVELY WITH THE NEW
GOVERNMENT.
I CONGRATULATE PRIME MINISTER
TRUDEAU.
WE HAVE A LOT TO DO TOGETHER
BECAUSE, AS I'VE SAID BEFORE,
AND THE PREMIER HAS BEEN VERY
CLEAR THAT WE'LL WORK WITH
PEOPLE TO GET THINGS DONE.
OUR TRANSIT PLAN WITH MAYOR JOHN
TORY, THE MAYOR OF TORONTO,
WE'LL WORK WITH WHOEVER THE NEW
FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION MINISTER
IS.
WE'RE GOING TO WORK TOGETHER
BECAUSE TOGETHER WE'LL GET
SHOVELS IN THE GROUND AND WE'LL
GET THINGS DONE.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE FOCUSED ON.

Steve says WHAT WERE YOU
HEARING AT THE DOOR?

Bethlenfalvy says I THINK AFFORDABILITY,
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY WAS... IS
HUGE.
I MEAN, PEOPLE ARE... THEY'RE
WORKING HARDER... WORKING HARD,
SO FOCUSING ON THE ECONOMY,
GETTING THOSE JOBS THAT WE SAID,
I MENTIONED EARLIER, THE AMOUNT
OF JOBS THAT ARE BEING CREATED
BY ONTARIANS HERE.
THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT.
THEY WANT GOOD JOBS.
THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD
HOUSING IS TOUGH, SO WE'VE GOT A
PLAN ON THAT.
THAT'S THE MAJOR THEME.

Steve says HOW OFTEN DID YOU
HEAR, WHEN YOU WERE KNOCKING ON
DOORS IN THE 905, "I DON'T KNOW
MUCH ABOUT THIS ANDREW SCHEER
BUT I KNOW DOUG FORD IS A
CONSERVATIVE AND I DON'T LIKE
WHAT I'VE SEEN IN DOUG FORD SO
FAR SO I CAN'T VOTE FOR ANDREW
SCHEER"?

Bethlenfalvy says DIDN'T HEAR THAT VERY OFTEN
AND, TO BE FRANK, DIDN'T HEAR
THAT VERY OFTEN, AND THAT MAY BE
FOR MANY REASONS, BUT I CAN TELL
YOU THAT THE PREMIER AND ALL OF
US IN CAUCUS HAVE BEEN WORKING
PRETTY HARD AT KITCHEN TABLES,
ROUND TABLES... YOU KNOW, THIS
JOB IS 24-7.
I DON'T THINK... I WOULD SAY TO
YOUR LISTENERS, AND THAT'S
ACROSS ALL PARTY STRIPES.
YOU'RE OUT THERE TALKING TO
PEOPLE, YOU'RE GETTING THINGS
DONE, AND THAT'S WHAT OUR
GOVERNMENT AND OUR PREMIER AND
OUR CAUCUS IS FOCUSED ON.

Steve says I KNOW YOU SAY THAT
YOU LIKE TO LEAVE THE
INTERPRETATIONS TO THE PUNDITS
BUT I'M MAKING YOU AN HONORARY
PUNDIT.
WAS IT A GOOD DECISION TO HAVE
PREMIER FORD STAY ON THE
SIDELINES FOR THE LAST 40 DAYS
OF THE CAMPAIGN?

Bethlenfalvy says STEVE, YOU'LL HAVE MANY
PEOPLE AROUND THIS TABLE TO
DISSECT IT.
BUT WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT IS
THAT, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LOT OF
OPPORTUNITY IN THIS COUNTRY TO
DO THINGS TOGETHER.
IT'S NOT JUST ONTARIO FEDERAL...

Steve says I GET THE FEELING
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO ANSWER THAT
QUESTION.

Bethlenfalvy says I'LL TELL YOU THE FEELING I
GET, AND THIS GOVERNMENT IS
GOING TO BE... OUR GOVERNMENT IS
GOING TO BE FOCUSED ON IS
WORKING WITH OTHER PROVINCES,
WORKING WITH THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT, WHETHER IT'S HEALTH
CARE, WHETHER IT'S TRANSIT...
THERE'S MUCH THAT WE NEED TO DO
TOGETHER FOR THE PEOPLE, NOT
JUST OF ONTARIO BUT OF ALL OF
CANADA.

Steve says I'M TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT...

Bethlenfalvy says THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO SEE.

Steve says A YEAR AGO YOU GUYS
WON, WHAT WAS IT, 76 SEATS ON
BASICALLY THE SAME BOUNDARIES.
NOW HERE WE ARE 16 MONTHS LATER
AND THE LIBERALS WIN 79 SEATS.
SO I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT,
HELP ME UNDERSTAND HOW YOU GOT
FROM X TO Y THERE?

Bethlenfalvy says YOU KNOW, AGAIN, YOU'RE RIGHT.
I'M NOT GOING TO GET INTO THAT
BECAUSE I'M FOCUSED AND MY
PREMIER AND OUR PREMIER AND THE
WHOLE TEAM ARE FOCUSED ON
GETTING THINGS DONE.
WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO,
WHETHER IT'S THE TRANSIT, IT'S
THE HOUSING...

Steve says OKAY.

Bethlenfalvy says SO ON AND SO FORTH.
WE HAVE A PLAN...

Steve says YOU'RE TRYING TO
KILL THE CLOCK ON ME.
THE PREMIER SAID A COUPLE OF
MONTHS AGO, THE PEOPLE WILL
DECIDE THROUGH THEIR VOTES IN
THE FEDERAL ELECTION AS TO
WHETHER OR NOT WE PURSUE A
CHALLENGE TO THE CARBON TAX IN
THE SUPREME COURT, AND I NOTE
YOUR ATTORNEY GENERAL CAME OUT
YESTERDAY AND SAID, ACTUALLY,
THE COURT CASE IS GOING FORWARD.
THAT SEEMS TO BE TWO DIFFERENT
MESSAGES THERE.
HOW COME?

Bethlenfalvy says YOU KNOW... BRINGING THE
ATTORNEY GENERAL ON, I'M SURE HE
WOULD LOVE TO COME AND BE ON
YOUR SHOW, STEVE, JUST AS I AM.
I'M HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE PLAN,
THE SMART INITIATIVES THAT WE
HAVE, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE IT'S
IMPORTANT TO THE PEOPLE OF
ONTARIO THAT WE HAVE A
GOVERNMENT...

Steve says OKAY.
I'M CUTTING YOU OFF AGAIN.
I'M CUTTING YOU OFF AGAIN.

Bethlenfalvy says IT IS A FACT.

Steve says ONTARIANS HAVE,
SINCE I'VE BEEN SPECTACULARLY
UNSUCCESSFUL SO FAR IN ASKING
THESE QUESTIONS, I'M GOING TO
TRY ONE MORE.
ONTARIANS HAVE A HABIT OF TICKET
SPLITTING.
THEY PUT TORIES IN OTTAWA.
IT HAS WORKED MUCH MORE OFTEN
THAN NOT THAT WAY FOR THE LAST
50 OR 60 YEARS.
ARE YOU GOING TO BE BRUTALLY
HONEST WITH US AND SAY YOU'RE
NOT DISAPPOINTED THAT TRUDEAU
WON THIS ELECTION, ADMITTEDLY
WITH A VERY WEAK MANDATE, BUT HE
WON THIS ELECTION BECAUSE HAVING
LIBERALS IN OTTAWA DOES ACTUALLY
OPEN THE DOOR FOR KEEPING TORIES
AT QUEEN'S PARK.
WOULD YOU AGREE?

Bethlenfalvy says I DON'T KNOW.
I DON'T KNOW.
BECAUSE WE COULD HAVE ANOTHER
ELECTION IN A YEAR OR TWO AND
THE CIRCUMSTANCES COULD BE VERY
DIFFERENT.
LOOK, I'M NOT TRYING TO BE CUTE.
YOU HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER.
YOU DUKE THESE THINGS OUT AND
THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN AND WE
HAVE A LIBERAL MINORITY
GOVERNMENT IN OTTAWA.
WHETHER IT'S THE CARBON TAX OR
WHETHER IT'S HEALTH CARE OR
TRANSIT, WE HAVE TO WORK
TOGETHER TO GET PROBLEMS DONE
FOR THE PEOPLE BECAUSE IF WE
DON'T DO THAT, WE'LL JUST
CONTINUE TO HAVE DIALOGUE... I
REMEMBER PRESTON MANNING TALKING
ABOUT WE HAVE THESE GREAT POLICY
CONFERENCES BUT HE SAID WHAT'S
SO IMPORTANT YOU GO AWAY AND YOU
DO.
THE DO IS SO IMPORTANT.
AND WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY NOW
TO DO THINGS TOGETHER.

Steve says CAN I GET YOU TO AT
LEAST SAY YOU WOULD HAVE
PREFERRED TO HAVE SEEN ANDREW
SCHEER WIN THIS ELECTION?

Bethlenfalvy says I WILL BE VERY CLEAR THAT I WOULD HAVE PREFERRED TO SEE A
CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY IN OTTAWA.
I THINK THAT THAT WOULD REALLY
HAVE HELPED MOVE THIS COUNTRY IN
THE RIGHT DIRECTION, WHETHER
IT'S ON THE ECONOMIC SIDE,
WHETHER IT'S ON THE FINANCIAL
SIDE, AND MAKING SURE THAT OUR
HEALTH CARE, ALL OUR SOCIAL
PROGRAMS ARE SUSTAINABLE,
BECAUSE AS WE'VE TALKED AT THE
BEGINNING, THAT'S WHY WE'RE
DOING THIS.
WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE... I KNOW
THE NUMBERS.
YOU KNOW, PEOPLE USED TO ASK ME
HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT AND I
SAY I SLEEP LIKE A BABY.
I WAKE UP EVERY TWO HOURS AND I
CRY.
I'M SLEEPING A LITTLE BIT BETTER
NOW BECAUSE WE'RE MAKING
PROGRESS.
BUT I THINK THAT WE HAVE SO MUCH
MORE TO DO... I'LL LET YOU KNOW
WHEN I'M HAVING A GOOD NIGHT'S
SLEEP.

Steve says APPRECIATE THAT.
YOU'LL GIVE ME YOUR TEXT AND
PHONE NUMBER, YOU'LL TEXT ME.
IN OUR LAST 30 SECONDS, LET'S
TRY THIS. YOU BASICALLY GOT INTO
PUBLIC LIFE... WE DID A PODCAST
WITH YOU, THE ONPOLI PODCAST,
WHICH YOU EXPLAINED TO US WHY
YOU GOT INTO PUBLIC LIFE AND WHY
YOU THINK MAKING GOVERNMENT MORE
EFFICIENT AND GETTING OUR FISCAL
HOUSE IN ORDER IS SO IMPORTANT.
WHAT'S NEXT ON YOUR AGENDA?

The caption changes to "On the horizon."

Bethlenfalvy says WELL, THE PLAN WE'VE JUST ANNOUNCED.
THIS PLAN IS A VERY... IT'S ALL
OF GOVERNMENT, SMART INITIATIVES
THROUGH ALL OF GOVERNMENT, WE
HAVE CLEAR LINES OF
ACCOUNTABILITY, WE HAVE A TASK
FORCE THAT THE MINISTERS WHO ARE
RESPONSIBLE ARE GOING TO REPORT
INTO SO WE'RE GOING TO KEEP
PEOPLE'S FEET TO THE FIRE.
THESE ARE THE TYPES OF
INITIATIVES THAT I THINK ARE
SMART.
WE TALKED EARLIER ABOUT HOW
THEY'RE GOING TO PROVIDE
SAVINGS, HOW THEY'RE GOING TO
FREE UP RESOURCES, HOW THEY'RE
GOING TO ALLOW FOR
SUSTAINABILITY IN OUR SOCIAL
PROGRAMS.
THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO
CONTINUE WORKING REALLY HARD ON.
I KNOW MY COLLEAGUES IN ALL OF
CAUCUS WILL DO THE SAME.

The caption changes to "Producer: Steve Paikin, @spaikin; Producer: Harrison Lowman, @harrisonlowman."

Steve says THAT'S PETER
BETHLENFALVY, HE'S THE PRESIDENT
OF THE TREASURY BOARD OF ONTARIO
AND THE PC MEMBER FOR PICKERING
UXBRIDGE AND WE DO APPRECIATE
HAVING YOU ON YOUR PROGRAM
TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH.

Bethlenfalvy says HAPPY TO BE HERE, STEVE, AS ALWAYS.

Watch: Revamping Ontario's Public Services