Getting our money’s worth by eliminating waste

By MPP Toby Barrett

There’s really no good reason why government can’t operate in a business-like manner – efficiently, effectively, and with a minimum of waste.

One tactic would be to stop doing unnecessary things. By eliminating that which is obsolete, duplicative, or just plain silly, we can eliminate much of the waste of taxpayer’s money.

By eliminating wasteful spending, we can help create government programs and services that make sense, get results, and give us our money’s worth.

Waste also means higher taxes, and less money in our pocket. Wasteful spending has stuck Ontario families with the largest consumption and income tax hikes in the province’s history. But even these tax hikes to increase revenue are not enough to prevent, what I refer to as, the ‘Dalton Deficit Disorder’ – a deficit pegged at $18.7 billion this year. This and other accumulated deficits, since 2003, will double Ontario’s debt by 2012.

Waste means less money for key services that Ontario families need most, such as frontline healthcare. Mr. McGuinty’s new regional health care bureaucracies have diverted $250 million away from frontline care. As well, the doubling of Ontario’s debt is probably the biggest threat to the future of our health care system.

Wasteful spending has seemingly become de rigeur with this Ontario government. Be it the $1-billion eHealth boondoggle, extravagant expenses at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, or the ballooning Ontario Power Authority. The Ontario Electronic Stewardship Program collected $44 million in eco-taxes last year while only achieving 2% of its recycling targets. Then there’s the subsidized secret energy deals, the $1 billion in subsidized electricity flowing to Quebec and the border states, and on and on …..

In an effort to tighten the belt on government’s waste-line, I am joining Opposition Leader Hudak in encouraging residents to check out, and relate their own tales of government waste at, www.WasteWatchers.ca – a website dedicated to getting Ontario spending into shape. I also encourage area residents to continue to forward ideas and tactics to eliminate wasteful spending by contacting my offices at [email protected]

In the end, government waste begets waste – creating a culture of wasteful spending that trickles down throughout the bureaucracy.

The fact is, the buck – our buck – stops at the top; at the Premier’s office where unaccountable, free spending ways create a snowball effect rolling our money and our economy downhill. In recognition of this fact, I note that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has honoured Mr. McGuinty as a Teddy award recipient. The CTF’s annual “Teddy Waste Awards” – named after former federal bureaucrat Ted Weatherill, who was fired for outrageous expenses in 1999 – recognize the best of the worst in government waste. .

According to the Toronto Sun, “Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty won in his category for paying out millions in severance fees to, provincial sales tax collectors who, the day after they got their provincial severance cheques, went to work in the very same offices as federal harmonized sales tax collectors.”

We offer our congratulations to the Premier for the recognition – it’s not often that one of our own – a Queens Park colleague – gets such a dubious honour.

Having said that, Ontario families are the ones’ stuck with the bill. They are not getting their money’s worth and they cannot afford this kind of wasteful spending.