Posted September 24, 2015
It has been 15 months since Kathleen Wynne took the Ontario Liberals to power, and the record shows it was a shallow victory.
This is a premier who has consistently failed to get the handle on managing the people’s money. She ignored the demolition of the two gas generating plants in Mississauga and Oakville that the audit showed cost the province a billion dollars.
The province has operated with a deficit for six years that now stands at $8 billion. Even with a prime lending rate of 2.5 per cent, that amounts to an annual estimated cost of $200,000,000. That’s what must be paid first before any other expenses.
We cannot run our own finances this way so why does the Ontario Liberal government get away with it? Just figuring the continued deficit the province has been running for the past seven years, and the debt load, is almost impossible to calculate. Those deficits drive up the provincial debt which in turn increases the annual costs of running Canada’s largest province, by population.
And yet, Ontario Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, keeps saying the deficit will be gone by 2017. Maybe he should call former Prime Minister, Paul Martin, who knows how to cut costs and balance the books.
One keeps thinking about the former Montreal Mayor Drapeau stating that chances of the cost of the Olympics exceeding the budget, was eqivalent to man having a baby. Well, we know how that turned out.
After the McGuinty years of making bad deals to restructure Ontario Hydro, Wynne inherited a financial mess that only David Copperfield could make disappear.
It’s a carefully coordinated illusion that has driven electricity rates to among the highest in North America. It was caused by deals made with private industry to build wind farms, solar panel farms and renovate aging nuclear plants. These decisions, each given 20-year guarantees in many cases, of 20 cents per kilowatt hour, has exponentially driven up the retail cost of supplying power to homes and businesses.
These sources now generate too much power that cannot be stored, that Ontario sells to U.S. jurisdictions at a loss. This is voodoo management at its best.
The beer sale fiasco
The latest fiasco is the new scheme of marketing beer in Ontario. With great fanfare the Wynne government has said that beer will be available in a select group of major supermarkets by Christmas. Left out was the supply would be rationed to those selected stores and only six packs would be available. By rationing, there is a quota and if it exceeded, there will be fines. There is no provision in this new arrangement for outlets to set prices according to the market. The consumer has no opportunity to shop for a better price. This is another example of supply side management by our own government. The price is set and the consumer has to pay.
The six-pack rule also applies to the LCBO outlets. Only the famed Canadian 24 is available at the Beer Store. Remember them? Molson- Coors (U.S), Ambrew (Belgium), Sapporo (Japan), own the Beer Stores in Ontario. Outside of the LCBO outlets, the Beer Stores have the exclusive right to sell beer in Ontario and fix the prices.
So this deal was about distribution of beer, not the competitive marketing of beer. If you can buy 24 cans of Molson Canadian in Quebec for $24 why not in Ontario, where the product is brewed? Same beer, same packaging and is available throughout Quebec in stores, gas stations, and supermarkets at competitive prices.
Why was the premier afraid to allow the free sale and distribution of beer in Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario? It’s all about the money. She needs every penny she can find to pay for past terrible financial decisions that have almost destroyed manufacturing in the province.
The automobile plants in the province are constantly negotiating financial assistence to stay. They’ve all bellyed up to the trough to get funding with the dire threat of moving to Mexico where operating costs are much lower.
The one area that one would believe is the premier’s strength lies in the province’s education system. In 2013, just after winning the Ontario Liberal Leadership, she and her fellow school trustee, Liz Sandals, paid off the teacher’s unions with $463 million to settle the work-to-rule tactics being employed by the disgruntled unions.
Most of those union contracts expired nine months ago. Education Minister, Liz Sandals, has failed to settle contracts with one of the largest, the Elementary School Teachers of Ontario. The other unions accepted an offer of cumulated 2.5 per cent plus increased benefits, including sick days and professional days.
Yet, with a straight face, both Wynne and Sandals said the increases were “net zero” in terms of budgeting. What both failed to say was what programs would be chopped to provide that “net zero” demand from more than 250,000 teachers in the province.
If you cannot get the teachers to work, why do we need a Minister of Education?
A strategic political alignment?
With the public discord over Kathleen Wynne’s stewardship of our province, why would federal Liberal Leader, Justin Trudeau, tie his tale (sic) to Wynne? Undoubtedly she is a good campaigner but her performance as premier has negated that shill (sic) set.
Trudeau desperately needs winning seats on Ontario. But tying up with Wynne is not going to encourage Liberals to support him, based on that association and her performance.
The governing Ontario Liberals are dying from overburdening debt, mismanagement, operational costs and misguided policies.
With friends like that, Mr. Trudeau should ask, who needs enemies?