In a news release today, the Fraser Institute tells us that Ontario ranked only fifth in its Canadian Provincial Investment Climate 2010 Report, while Alberta led all provinces with an overall score of 8.1 out of 10—Ontario scored a disappointing 5.2 out of 10.
“The Western provinces, led by Alberta, have cemented their positions as the best places to invest in Canada,” said Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute senior policy analyst and co-author of the report.
“Business investment is a powerful driver of economic growth, providing the necessary resources to acquire new machinery and equipment, introduce new technologies, create new job opportunities, and improve productivity. Citizens, politicians, and bureaucrats are becoming more aware of the importance of business investment as a critical determinant of current and future economic prosperity.”
– Fraser Institute
In contrast, the report cites “lack of fiscal prudence, driven by runaway government spending and massive deficits” as some of the reason for Ontario’s mediocre ranking.
The news release concludes with this cautionary note:
“Failure to embrace these kinds of policies means lower rates of job creation, high levels of unemployment, and slower income growth. It’s time for Ontario… to get on the fast track to economic success.”
Sad isn’t it that Ontario—our most populous province and the one that was once considered Canada’s economic engine—should now find itself a have-not province and be so far behind Alberta in providing the fundamentals necessary for an attractive investment climate.
New Brunswick scored ahead of Ontario—yes, New Brunswick!
This pathetic performance of Ontario is not unexpected: In November, Ontario’s Liberal government’s own Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress (TFC) released a study, which points to troubles with productivity in Ontario’s economy. It states that Ontario ranks 14th of 16 equivalent-sized North American states and provinces, and that Ontario businesses invest less in research and development and produce fewer patents as those in comparable jurisdictions in the United States.
We have long known that big government, excessive red tape and high taxes do not create prosperity—private investment does. Central planning of the economy is a failed strategy as most of Eastern Europe discovered in the last century and is not a formula for prosperity—private investment is.
Premier McGuinty should know these things. But apparently he does not as his job-killing Green Energy Act demonstrates. The TFC’s November report shows Ontario’s government underestimated the the Act’s cost to electricity consumers and points out that rising electricity costs could nullify some of the 50,000 new jobs the Liberals claim will be created.
“Trust Dalton McGuinty to continue pushing bogus ‘green’ energy alternatives—and charging Ontarians a huge premium for the privilege—at a time when the centrally planned green economy is collapsing.”
– Lorne Gunter
It’s a simple case of economics 101.
When we switch to green energy we may produce 50,000 new jobs, but the higher energy prices provoked by the Green Energy Act will destroy as many (or more) jobs in existing energy-intensive industries such as manufacturing and agriculture—there go our car-parts makers and industrial farms as their input costs rise by 10 per cent or more, forcing them to close plants and lay off workers. Net effect on jobs? If we are lucky, nil. If not, we’ll have a net loss of jobs.
So much for McGuinty’s centrally-planned job-making boom. All around the Western world, the pipedream of a carbon-free energy future is dying, but in Dalton McGuinty’s province, it’s alive and well, at least, as far as his Liberal government is concerned.
As Lorne Gunter of the National Post recently observed, “There will be green initiatives that make money, but they will not be mandated into success by governments. They will arise from yet unknown places, driven by private-sector ingenuity as prices and scarcity for carbon fuels make innovation necessary.”
But how’ll we get that private sector ingenuity if we continue to score a dismal 5.2 out of 10 on investment climate in the province of Ontario?
Change of government anyone?