Kelly McParland wrote an excellent article in today’s National Post titled
Dalton McGuinty blames the dog for eating his province (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/02/28/dalton-mcguinty-blames-the-dog-for-eating-his-province/) wherein he comments on McGuinty’s dismal management of the Province since his election in 2003.
“In that time the provincial economy has fallen from among Canada’s strongest to one of its saddest: increasingly dependent on equalization payments and other handouts from the federal government, which Mr. Duncan now regularly complains are inadequate for his needs. Unemployment, at over 8%, rivals the U.S. and Britain. The deficit, now at $17 billion, could reach $30 billion in five years according to a recent analysis by economist Don Drummond. The debt, now at $250 billion, is spiralling with every year of added borrowing.”
Just to put this in perspective, here is a comparison of Ontario and California:
Ontario has a population of 13,372,996
California has a population of 37,253,956 almost 3 times that of Ontario
Ontario has a Gross Domestic Product of US $612.494 Billion or US $45,800.81 per person
California has a GDP of US $1.85 Trillion or US $49,659.16 per person
Ontario’s debt is CDN $250 billion
California’s debt is US $26.9 billion or 9.29 times smaller than Ontario’s
Ontario’s debt per capita is CDN $18,694.39 which is more than some people make in a year
California’s debt per capita is US $722.13 or 25.89 times less
Ontario’s debt was CDN $138.8 billion in 2003 when McGuinty was first elected. In 8 years he has increased the debt by CDN $111.2 billion and is running a CDN $17 billion deficit. Worse, these numbers don’t include the liabilities represented by the 20 year FIT contracts and other sweetheart deals the Liberals have doled out.
McGuinty is unable to deal with the economic and social issues facing Ontario. His only solution to date has been to propose no longer sharing slot machine revenues with the race tracks where they are set up.
His blind implementation of the Green Energy and Economy Act is symptomatic of cognitive dissonance. Here we have a man who has relied on an unrealistic ideology to guide him in all the decisions he has made since being elected Premier. However ideology uninformed by pragmatism is worse than useless.
McGuinty has pinned this Province’s future, without due diligence, a cost/benefit analysis or a fundamental understanding of the Province’s strengths and weaknesses, on a radical transformation of the electricity sector. It escaped him however that an electricity sector is more than an archetype or a source of revenue for the Provincial Government and its friends.
First and foremost an electricity sector must provide cheap and reliable power in order to sustain a competitive economy and not reduce portions of the population to energy poverty.
Since 2003 Ontario has gone from a jurisdiction with one of the cheapest electricity rates to one with the most expensive. By 2015 Ontario will have by far the most expensive electricity in North America while its debt and deficit spiraled out of control and businesses shut down or moved away. The latest census revealed that Ontario residents are relocating to other Provinces and immigrants no longer want to settle here.
The impact of McGuinty’s policies are only starting to be felt and his paralysis and inflexibility in the face of Ontario’s economic and social problems will only exacerbate and prolong the damage he has created.