“Another day older and deeper in debt”–Merle Travis

“We will bring a laser-like focus to standing up for private sector job creation…” – Tim Hudak

By MPP Toby Barrett

One week into the new political landscape at Queens Park, and the direction of the McGuinty minority looks a lot like the same binge spending, debt-doubling path of the old McGuinty majority. Both government and people in Ontario are taking on ever-higher debt, looking for answers on the economic and job fronts that are not being delivered.

New and returning MPPs have been greeted with a Throne Speech and Fall Economic Statement leaving those looking for fiscal restraint disappointed. The McGuinty government’s wildly out of control spending, that single-handedly doubled Ontario’s debt, shows no indication of stopping.

Ontario’s budget deficit has climbed to $16 billion – $2 billion more than last year, and $1 billion more than provincial Liberals admitted to on the eve of the election. And here’s the kicker – government spending continues to skyrocket. While government revenue rose by $1.5 billion, Mr. McGuinty found a way to outpace that rate by increasing spending another $3 billion. As I have noted repeatedly, Ontario does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending problem.

To put it simply, with revenue the highest in the province’s history, it’s clearly the reckless and wasteful spending that has put Ontario out on a limb. Every year, for the past eight years, Mr. McGuinty has jacked-up spending by seven per cent. No wonder we are witnessing the explosion of government debt!

Amazingly, while the Fall Economic Statement outlined the impact of overzealous spending, the McGuinty Throne Speech promises more of the same – not a single new measure to control spending.

One week of legislative debate under the belt and we see continued failure to address the debt crisis, and the job crisis that sees Ontario lose 100 jobs each and every hour.

Those of us in Opposition continue to propose solutions to help boost our private sector economy.

In addition to supporting an NDP private members bill to remove the unaffordable HST from rising home heating bills, as Opposition we amend the Throne Speech as follows: “This House asks that the government create a legislated mandatory wage freeze to control the cost and size of government and reform apprenticeship ratios to create 200,000 jobs.”

Dalton McGuinty introduced a voluntary wage freeze some years ago, but it failed everyone except the government union bosses that helped get him re-elected. Therefore, a mandatory, legislated public sector wage freeze is required to find savings rather than cutting services. A wage freeze would save $2 billion over the next two years. As well, amending the journeyman to apprenticeship ratio to 1:1 would help create 200,000 new skilled jobs.

Ontario’s debt, now pegged at $240 billion, only grows larger with each and every deficit. It took just 8 short years, for the McGuinty government to double the debt.

Ontario has re-elected a colossal deficit, debt and promise-breaking machine that has run amok. The future does not bode well for employment, income, health, and education. What lies ahead will be difficult. More borrowing and spending is clearly not the answer to a big problem created by too much borrowing and too much spending!