Cornwall - February 14, 2012 - I’m off to Niagara Falls to our party 2012 convention. There are many pressing issues in our province today; unemployment, the economy, high cost of energy, and our failing infrastructure to name a few. At Dalton McGuinty’s speech to the Canadian Club on Thursday, he talked of the upcoming release of Don Drummond’s report, heralding it as a new plan to save the province from the brink of disaster. He spoke of the need to move on the report’s 400 or so recommendations that will cut spending increases to 1%. This from a Premier, who during his eight years in government, has increased spending by 7% per year and added over a hundred new taxes and charges, including Ontario’s largest ever tax increases; the health tax and HST. In spite of this huge revenue increase, he still managed to balloon the Ontario deficit from essentially zero to $16 billion per year and grow the provincial net debt from $138 billion to $240 billion. It is not surprising when he stated in this speech, “I sometimes think we’re too focused in public policy on the dollars....” From his track record, we can see that he is not concerned about the dollars, nor the health our economy and has placed many of our basic services in jeopardy.
Over the past month, we have seen a number of strategic leaks from the upcoming report, identifying serious issues in our economy that will require drastic and unpleasant measures. There is no doubt that McGuinty will spring from the gate with much more moderate solutions than the ones that are being mysteriously leaked to the press, making him appear as our caring savour. It is the type of deception that he is a master of. Let there be no mistake, the Drummond report will be a report card on McGuinty’s record as premier, with 400 failing grades. He created the huge debt and out of control deficit problem with his lack of focus on the dollars. He wasted our tax dollars on projects such as the billion dollar failed e-Health scandal, the billion dollar cancelled Mississauga power plant, the billion dollar cancelled Oakville power plant, and the hundreds of millions on the air ambulance scandal, just to name a few. Along with his union buying policies and settlements, he has placed us in a position where some of our core services may have to be unnecessarily trimmed back to help pay back some of the debt that the last eight years of waste generated.
It is easy to spend money, especially when you are just shoveling it out with little regard for return on investment. The tough job is to be strategic and get the results that benefit society as a whole and makes Ontario a better place to live and work. Instead of hiring an economist to tell us what we did wrong, the people of Ontario should be electing Tim Hudak, an economist, who is able and willing to make the tough strategic decisions necessary to get things right and make Ontario a “Have-Province” again.