Monday, May 12, 2014

The Ontario budget no one asked for - from the Premier no one's voted for

For the Prince Arthur Herald and Huffington Post Canada

It's hard to imagine how the Ontario Liberals and Kathleen Wynne could have possibly thought their 2014 budget would fly with either the New Democrats or the Progressive Conservatives.
Increased payroll taxes would cost the average full-time worker $893 more per year.
A mandatory "Ontario Pension Plan" would become yet another deduction on your paycheque, just like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).
The "Debt Retirement Charge" -- to retire a debt that was paid off in 2010 -- would finally be taken off hydro bills by January 2016, saving Ontarians $70 per year.
Yet the "Clean Energy Benefit" -- the government hydro subsidy to offset the more expensive cost of producing "clean" energy -- would also disappear, costing Ontarians an additional $180 per year.
Tobacco taxes would be raised 1.6 cents per cigarette, or an additional $3.25 in taxes per carton.
A new high income earner tax bracket would be created for individuals making over $150,000 per year.
The list goes on. And what's noticeably absent is any plan to get Ontario out of its decade of darkness and put it back on track to being the Canadian powerhouse it once was.
As I said before, it's hard to imagine how the Ontario Liberals thought they could create a budget to the left of the NDP and think the NDP would support it.
Then again, the 21st century Ontario Liberals have never been good at working with other parties. Dalton McGuinty was used to getting his way -- in his days, he only had to answer to his Liberal Party and union buddies. Within a year of being elected with a minority government -- where he, appallingly, had to work with the PCs and NDP -- he resigned and fled to Harvard University.
Kathleen Wynne has not been any better. All those pesky Conservatives want to talk about is reducing taxes and creating jobs, and all those irritating New Democrats want to talk about is capping public sector salaries and raising taxes. The nerve!
Kathleen Wynne has never been given a mandate by the Ontario people to lead Canada's largest province. She's never had to stand before voters to justify what she wants Ontario to be and how we'll get there. All we know is that she loves running (on the wrong side of the road). She's been leading a government for 15 months without having to answer to those whom she represents.
And no Liberal has yet been held accountable for the $1.1 Billion gas plant scandal - let alone Wynne, who personally signed off on the decision as the Liberal campaign manager and a member of the McGuinty cabinet.
The 2014-2015 budget is only the latest example of how far out of touch the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals are from every day Ontarians.
This is the legacy of the McGuinty-Wynne Liberals that I write about in my new book, Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record. No author has written about the real legacy of Dalton McGuinty's near-decade in power, nor the continuation of that legacy under Wynne. Both have been obsessed with massive debt and deficit, expensive green energy experiments, and embroiled in scandal after scandal after scandal.
It was the Liberals who triggered this election. But they didn't trigger this election because they thought they could get a mandate for its new "revenue tools" or plans to expand some highways or to implement a new mandatory pension plan that no one asked for.
They triggered this election because they are really, really out of touch with every day Ontarians and their needs.
I hope this election brings them back to reality - by throwing them out of government.
Liars: The McGuinty-Wynne Record is available in paper copy through Freedom Press Canada and in paper copy and e-book format through Amazon.ca.