Doug Ford and Andrew Scheer seem to expect voters to believe that the two Conservative leaders simply haven’t found the time to be in each other’s company for the past many weeks.

Ford, we’re told, is too busy governing Ontario and Scheer is too busy campaigning for the prime minister’s job.

That, of course, is about as believable as the notion that either of their climate change plans will meet the necessary targets.

Scheer, the federal Conservative leader, is trying very hard to distance himself from Premier Ford because his governing of Ontario has been chaotic and deeply unpopular.

And while the outward demeanour of Scheer and Ford may be different, their core ideas on how to win elections and govern are quite similar. That’s something that Ontarians, and indeed all Canadians, can’t afford to forget when they go to the polls on Monday.

Flash back for a moment to last year’s provincial election campaign. Ford ramped up fears about the state of Ontario’s finances and runaway deficits under the previous Wynne Liberal government.

He promised tax cuts and new goodies to make life better and more affordable for ordinary folks (aka “the people”). And he said paying for it all would be no problem at all.

Ford vowed to end “waste” in government. He said jobs and services would not be slashed. He said $6 billion in easy “efficiencies” could be found. Indeed, he claimed the task would be so easy it was laughable.

There’s been no laughing since Ford’s easy efficiencies turned out to be debilitating cuts to education, public health, child care, legal aid and support for the poor.

Now, in the federal campaign, Scheer has tried to ramp up fears about the state of Canada’s finances and “massive, never-ending deficits” under Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.

He has promised tax cuts and new goodies to make life better and more affordable for “hardworking people.”

Scheer’s plan requires $35.6 billion in cuts over five years. On Thursday he said he’s different from Ford because he’s been upfront about where he will cut.

But that’s not the case at all.

Canadians can’t possibly know where Scheer’s cuts will fall because for most of the promised billions he hasn’t told them.

The biggest cut is $18 billion of infrastructure spending already committed by the Liberals that Scheer will push back. That means some cities and towns across this country won’t have the funding they need for transit expansion, bridge and road repairs, or waste-water upgrades.

Which ones? Well, that we don’t know because Scheer’s not saying. It’s only after the election, if the Conservatives were to be elected, that Canadians will find out what those cuts mean to them and their communities.

The other big basket of cuts, $14.4 billion, comes in a form that will sound most familiar and deeply troubling to voters in Ontario: unspecified reductions.

The Conservatives talk about cutting “non-personnel operating expenses.” That’s code for saying these are the kind of cuts that few people will notice and nobody will miss.

Scheer’s platform suggests a fortune can be saved by cutting back on travel expenses, spending on consultants and rent for office space. That won’t sound bad to most people. It might even be a good idea.

But, of course, we know those things don’t tend to add up to the promised billions in savings.

The Ford government made a big deal about cutting unnecessary landlines, travel expenses, printing costs and office supplies.

Then it found real savings — nearly $1 billion a year — through cuts to education. High school class sizes have risen dramatically, and course offerings are down to the point that some students are struggling to get even the basic classes they need for university. Once these changes are completed there will be 10,000 fewer teachers in Ontario.

At the federal level it won’t be eduction, but there is no reason to think that the billions in unspecified expense reductions Scheer is promising wouldn’t turn out to be similarly painful and involve government services and programs that many people rely on.

In fact, when calculated as a proportion of GDP, the cuts in spending that Scheer proposes have not been seen since the austerity years of the 1990s, according to Kevin Page, the former federal budget watchdog and now head of the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy in Ottawa.

“You shouldn’t underestimate (and think) it’s going to be easy to do,” Page said.

But that is exactly what Scheer wants Canadians to do.

Ontario voters gave Ford their support when he warned of troubled government finances that needed a conservative touch to right the ship. They trusted him when he promised to put more money in their pockets and to cut government spending in ways they wouldn’t notice.

We know how poorly that’s turned out, but Scheer is still hoping voters will buy those lines once again.

They really shouldn’t. Not in Ontario or anywhere else in Canada.