Monday, June 4, 2018

To The Finish - Ontario LIberals Are Still Out of Touch With Ontarians. The Liberals' Record Below...

I have tried to find a concise excerpt that would set the tone and give some sense to the magnitude of the gaffes, arrgonace, incompetence, values bending, financial absuridty and recklessness this provincial governnent has exuded over the years.  However, that was impossible.  Here is MOST of the article with all credit due to Financial Post author, Kelly McParland

"...Wynne ran as an upgrade from her predecessor, Dalton McGuinty. She didn’t like the scandals, the gas plant closings, the dirty little deals. She’d bring transparency and openness. She promised to be better, and didn’t deliver — not even close. She blatantly sold access to herself and her top cabinet members to the highest bidders, treating the payments as “donations.” When exposed she refused to back down until public pressure forced it on her. No one pays big bucks to politicians unless they expect something in return, and Wynne’s blatant use of her office to fill party coffers only exacerbated the cynicism and distrust that had grown up during the McGuinty years.

She pandered shamelessly to public-sector unions, especially the teachers’ unions that poured tens of millions of dollars into campaigns to keep her in office. To retain their support she used public funds to finance generous contracts, including millions of dollars quietly handed over to help the unions pay their negotiating costs. Her education minister didn’t ask for receipts, and — when caught — responded with a hauteur that came to be a government characteristic. “We know what the food costs. We know what 100 pizzas costs. You don’t need to see every bill when you’re doing an estimate of costs,” said Liz Sandals. They handed over the money despite learning the secondary school teachers had a $65 million reserve fund to pay bargaining costs. Did that sway Wynne’s ministers? Not a chance: Deputy Premier Deb Matthews admitted she was unaware of the fund, and wasn’t all that interested: “I don’t know if that fund exists. I don’t know what it’s for. I’m not going to comment on OSSTF finances,” she said.

Wynne’s government treated critics with disdain. When Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk ruled that Liberals were breaking their own rules by using government advertisements to promote the party, Wynne took away her veto power. When both Lysyk and the Financial Accountability Office challenged the government’s budget math — suggesting they were off by billions of dollars — the premier ignored them. When Lysyk revealed a $2 billion hydro project had cost twice as much as expected, Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli suggested Lysyk was too dim to understand the complex issue — despite having spent 10 years at Manitoba Hydro. Such condescending behaviour by a non-Liberal would have had gender-sensitive Liberal “progressives” demanding resignations, but Chiarelli was a Liberal so the government let it go.

When she took over from McGuinty, Wynne stressed her concern over provincial finances. “It is obviously critical that we tackle the deficit and get to the point that we are paying down debt,” she said. Then her government racked up one staggering deficit after another, adding tens of billions of dollars to a debt that had already doubled under her predecessor. Finance Minister Charles Sousa insisted the government would eventually balance the budget, eventually claiming to have done so in the year before the election, but only by using accounting tricks that shifted tens of billions of dollars in borrowing off the official tally. Sousa pledged several more years of “balance,” then reversed himself 12 months later, announcing a return to borrowing so the Liberals could finance a raft of new spending promises in the weeks before the election.

Even then he couldn’t bring himself to be honest: the government’s projected $6.7 billion annual deficit was quickly shown to be $11.7 billion, with similar miscalculations stretching into the 2020s, eventually totalling as much as $50 billion. Lysyk, required by law to review the books before an election, found the numbers so dodgy she announced they couldn’t be trusted, and accused the government of deliberately hiding documents to keep her in the dark. It was a flagrant attempt to buy votes with borrowed money, so glaring that offended voters saw through the ruse and Liberal fortunes fell further. Yet it reflected once again the government’s astonishingly low opinion of is constituents, and its assumption they were too apathetic, ignorant or disengaged to know when they were being conned.

Throughout Wynne’s five years in office, her government regularly prioritized the well-being of the party over those of the province. Hydro One was sold off to produce some quick cash for transit projects, but at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue produced by the provincial utility. The debt so relentlessly piled up by the government will impact voters for a generation to come: the $1 billion Ontario spends on interest payments every 30 days is the equivalent of a new hospital every month. When the government complains it lacks the resources to meet demands from doctors, colleges and universities, think of that monthly billion-dollar tab and what it could be doing if it wasn’t being spent on interest..."

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