COLUMN: Desperation at Queen’s Park

SOUTH DUNDAS — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s frantic look at selling off Crown assets to fund her transit and infrastructure plans, is akin to checking the couch cushions for spare change or looking for old jewelery to hock at the cash-for-gold place. It smacks of desperation and its Ontarians that are going to pay in the long run.

Reports are due out today that will recommend that the Ontario government sell off 15 per cent of Hydro One each year, over the next four years, to fund new government spending. On top of this, will be changes to operations at the LCBO, which will see the LCBO try to get a better deal for its government owners (not the customer mind you) and more licensing and sales of beer and wine, but not in corner stores.  All to fund transit and infrastructure in the urban areas of the province.

This is insanity. There is no clear plan to this, just like there is no clear plan to the new Cap-and-Trade carbon emissions scheme. Just smoke and mirrors. The already announced agreement has one of the largest manufacturers in Ontario, Toyota, looking at the future, announcing a move of Corolla vehicles to Mexico in 2019. The Ontario plant will be “retooled” for a new model then. If anyone still believes Toyota’s announcement is a coincidence, this writer has some carbon credits to sell you.

The next Ontario election is in 2018 and if the Cap-and-Trade system stays after that election, one could wager a good bet that Toyota is going to have a “Strategic realignment” of its manufacturing supply chain and Ontario’s plant will just close. High energy, labour and taxation has already taken its toll on Ontario’s industrial economy, Cap-and-Trade will be the final nail in the coffin.

None of these “revenue tool” solutions have fixed the fundamental problem at Queen’s Park, spending. Ontario has been at a structural deficit since 2004, that’s 12 years. The Ontario Liberals have spent more than they have taken in. You cannot spend more than you earn. It does not mean you increase revenue by taxing people and business, it means you have to cut costs. The Liberal solution to cutting costs is increasing bureaucracy, paying inflated amounts for software that doesn’t work, creating government agencies to fix problems that don’t exist, and pour money down the drain on every activist cause and group, all in the name of progress.

You cannot progress as a group, if you do not have the ability to pay for it. Ontario is broke, flat broke. In 2004, Dalton McGuinty stated that the previous government had cooked the books and instead of a surplus, they had a six and a half billion dollar deficit. Since that time, the Liberals have dug this province into the fiscal grave.

The people of Ontario can no longer afford what the Liberals have done, and are doing, to the province. The Liberal fiscal model is the 180-degree opposite of reality. The Liberals are either oblivious to reality, or willingly ignorant to reality. Either way, what is going on at Queen’s Park is not sustainable. There are only so many assets that can be sold, then what?

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