EDITORIAL: Wynne robs Peter to pay Paul
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne attends attends the Confederation of Tomorrow 2.0 Conference in Toronto on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017.Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s re-election strategy for June 7 is best summed up by the cynical observation of George Bernard Shaw that, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
With one problem.
That’s that Wynne is actually robbing Peter to pay Peter because Peter and Paul are the same person.
Take Wynne’s Fair Hydro Plan to cut our hydro bills by 25%.
Wynne’s financing that with tens of billions of borrowed dollars.
But she’s keeping them off the province’s books, where taxpayers are responsible for paying them back, by putting them on Ontario Power Generation’s books, where electricity ratepayers are responsible for paying them back.
Never mind that the Auditor General of Ontario and the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario have both warned this fiscal sleight of hand is one way for Wynne to claim she’s balanced the province’s books this year, when the real deficit is $4 billion to $4.5 billion.
The other reality is taxpayers and ratepayers are the same people, since we all pay taxes and we all pay for electricity.
This underscores the simple reality that someone always has to pay for Wynne’s electoral largesse.
Take her latest hike to the minimum wage.
She just increased it from $11.60 to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, with a further $1 per hour hike coming Jan. 1, 2019.
That’s a staggering 31.6% hike in 15 months, since Wynne increased the minimum wage from $11.40 an hour to $11.60 on Oct. 1, 2017.
It will result in a net loss of at least 50,000 jobs, hitting teenagers, young adults and new immigrants the hardest, according to the independent, non-partisan Financial Accountability Office of Ontario.
Once again, there is no free lunch.
Somebody always has to pay, every time.
That’s indicated by the fact the Liberals inherited a $138.8 billion debt from the previous Progressive Conservative government in 2003-04, and have driven it up to $312 billion – or by almost 125% – in 2017-18.
To the point where Ontario is now the most indebted sub-sovereign (non-national) borrower in the world.
And guess who’s going to pay for that? Not Wynne.