Why reward bad behaviour?
(June 13, 2016) Normally when I write my Queen's Park Report I do so with the intention that it's my constituents who will primarily read it.
However, I know other people around the province also look at it, and find the information useful. I certainly get lots of feedback from readers who live outside Simcoe-Grey.
But with today's report, I have a favour to ask: I want you to share the report with someone living in a Liberal-held riding.
The reason being is I want you to get them thinking about how badly the Kathleen Wynne Liberals are running this province.
Better yet, after you've shared the report with them, start a conversation about why a change in government is needed.
You don't need to be pushy about it, just ask a simple question: Why reward the Liberals by voting for them in 2018 when we've seen nothing but bad behaviour?
For example, let's look at the Liberals' disastrous financial track record, which I've written to you about on several occasions.
The Financial Accountability Officer – an independent, non-partisan individual – has forecast a budget deficit of $580-million in 2017-2018, which is somewhat larger than the 2016 Ontario budget projections. However, Stephen LeClair, the FAO officer, also suggests the Liberals will reach a balanced budget next year by tapping into reserves and contingency funds, or by selling assets.
Does that sound like responsible fiscal management? Can you imagine how long you'd survive if you ran your household that way?
And things aren't going to get better with this government.
LeClair says expect to see deficits, including a $1.7-billion deficit in 2020-2021.
In addition to deficits, the FAO states the net debt will increase by $54-billion over the next four years – bringing the net debt over the $350-billion mark.
Yes, that's a pile of money. And it hinders the government from making the investments it should so that Ontario is well-positioned for the future.
Frankly, when it comes to finances this government can't do much right.
Case in point: the Pan Am Games. The other day, through Bonnie Lysyk, the province's auditor general, we learned there were $304-million in cost overruns for the games. But still – and this is the most galling part – top executives were paid millions in bonuses.
Paying executives bonuses for games that came in over budget is a terrible way to handle tax dollars. I can guarantee you Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal cronies wouldn't be so frivolous if it was their own money.
Another area the government is mishandling is the environment file.
The other day they finally unveiled their Climate Change Action Plan. The plan commits up to $8.3-billion over five years with the aim of pushing down greenhouse gas emissions. Now while we need to deal with climate change, the Liberal plan is a less-than-honest document. That's because confidential cabinet minutes note the Liberals might go further.
"The minutes direct several government ministries to come up with plans to get all new homes and small buildings to "zero" emissions of greenhouse gases in nine years and to "phase out" fossil fuels for heating by 2050," the Globe and Mail reported.
That would be extremely costly and hard to do. PC Party Leader Patrick Brown touched on it in Question Period, when he said: "A net zero energy home can cost $150,000 more. My question to the Premier is: Where does she expect home buyers to find another $150,000?"
Given the government's mishandling of so many other files nobody should have any confidence in their ability to implement and manage the Climate Change Action Plan.
Remember, the Grits are responsible for the e-health scandal, the ORNGE air ambulance boondoggle, the gas plants affair, the flawed Green Energy Act, the job-killing Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, healthcare cutbacks, cuts to education, and flawed infrastructure initiatives.
Of course, the question becomes what would a Progressive Conservative government do?
Well, let me start by saying we'd be far more responsible. We'd ensure the province's affairs were managed properly. And we'd get the financial books in order.
In terms of policy, our party is currently conducting a review and I encourage you to share your ideas. Let's find ways to make Ontario great again. If we continue on the current path, it'll be just more bad news down the road.
Jim Wilson is the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe-Grey.