Wall Street Journal in Toronto Sun: Ontario worse off than California

Ford’s follies hogging criticism for Wynne

Simon Kent

By Simon Kent ,Toronto Sun


TORONTO – Come, let us annoy Kathleen Wynne.
The leader of the biggest province in Canada has never had her claim to be premier tested by the electorate, but she presses on regardless.
All rictus grin over outstretched arms, forever seeking to have yet another conversation (sigh) with voters, Wynne also happens to oversee the biggest budget and deepest debt this side of the Ottawa treasury benches.
The same person who recently entertained OPP officers investigating the destruction of gas plant e-mails in her office to help them “familiarize themselves with the operation.”
Meanwhile, the whole world — literally and figuratively — and its maiden aunt talk about Rob Ford’s personal foibles and not Ontario’s nominal leader and her appalling inability to manage the public purse.
I know that at a personal level because I have been inundated with media requests about Toronto’s mayor.
I’ve provided a newspaper op-ed for The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, fielded numerous television interview calls from Al Jazeera America, joined a radio debate on the BBC World Service, and had queries from ABC Radio.
Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford. Rob Ford.
The 64th mayor of Toronto is just about the only game in town.
All the time Wynne is able to pull her con trick and convince pretty well anyone who will listen that she is doing a just fine and dandy job at Queen’s Park, thanks for asking.
Which she isn’t.
Here is what the Wall Street Journal said a week ago.
“In the wake of the financial crisis, the state of California has been something of a poster child for fiscal dysfunction, with years of budget deficits, service cuts and public-sector job losses.
“By some measures, though, the Canadian province of Ontario’s fiscal situation is worse than California’s, according to Moody’s Investors Service.
“The bond-rating firm noted in an Oct. 21 report that California’s debt burden, for example, was about 50% of total revenues in 2012-13, while Ontario’s net direct and indirect debt was at roughly 226% of consolidated revenues at the end of March 2013.”
By any measure, Ontario has a massive liquidity problem. It will not be solved by Kathleen Wynne borrowing still more money.
Yet, that is exactly what she intends to do. Not cut spending, mind you, just put more on the tab.
She honestly thinks we can borrow our way out of debt, spend more taxpayer dollars and hope nobody will notice because … hey, look over there … Rob Ford!
Which is a betrayal of the future generations of Ontarians who will be saddled by the prodigious amounts of debt created by the fiscally illiterate McGuinty/Wynne duumvirate.
My Queen’s Park colleagues Christina Blizzard and Sue-Ann Levy have never stopped pursuing the Liberals about their casual approach to our taxes.
Where is the rest of the media attention?
Cue crickets.
For what it’s worth, Tim Hudak and his team have been trying to amend the media attention deficit disorder that spreads in the wake of Toronto’s mayor.
A full week ago, Ontario PC finance critic Vic Fedeli exposed gaping holes in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, but he was largely ignored. “The government is hiding the truth from Ontarians,” Fedeli said. “For one, the numbers in their Fall Economic Statement do not add up to being on track for their promise of a balanced budget for 2017.
“And, most telling of all, the government refused to provide the traditional three-year spending and revenue outlook in their statement in order to hide the true impact of a weaker economy.
“To put it bluntly, it tried to pull a fast one.”
Fedeli makes a good point. The Wynne government publishes numbers that don’t add up and it appears they have no chance of making a balanced budget by 2017.
All predicated on a conspicuous lack of forward fiscal projections, even to the accepted three-year mark for standard financial forecasts.
If we are supposed to get the government we truly deserve, you have to wonder what Ontarians have collectively done in a past life to have Kathleen Wynne foisted on us.
Now back to the Rob Ford show.

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