Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Drummond Report won’t fix Ontario’s fiscal mess

The McGuinty government has made such a hash of Ontario’s economy and its finances, I doubt it’ll ever find a way out. Ontario, instead, will continue along a road that leads to a Greece-like financial mess while looking to new taxes and to others to bail the province out.

I say this while knowing of the 362 recommendations offered up by former chief economist with TD Bank, Don Drummond, in his long-anticipated 543-page report released Wednesday.

The economist warns that the Ontario government needs to “swiftly and boldly” implement his recommendations if it wishes to eliminate a projected $30.2-billion deficit by 2017. Well, good luck with that; it’ll never happen under the Dalton McGuinty team. Not in a million years!

So recalcitrant are these Grits, that faced with financial disaster and a credit downgrade, they stubbornly implemented a $423-million program earlier this year whereby the majority of post-secondary students in Ontario will receive 30 per cent tuition rebates.

Can anyone, therefore, imagine they’ll do useful things like these recommendations contained in the report:

  • A zero wage budget for all public employees?
  • Cancel full-day kindergarten?
  • Phase out 70 per cent of 13,800 non-teaching staff by 2017-18?
  • Raise the retirement age for teachers. Currently, the average teacher retires at 59 after 26 years of service and collects a pension for 30 years?

I don’t. McGuinty will raise taxes, alcohol prices and other fees long before he does any of that. He may even cut back on the Ontario Drug Benefit program for seniors before touching privileged teachers and public sector workers wages and benefits.

Drummond warns that failing to follow his, or similar, austerity measures could cause Ontario’s debt to swell from $215-billion to more than $411 billion in five years.

But can you see McGuinty limiting annual spending increases on health care to 2.5 per cent or see education increases capped at one per cent?

It won’t happen, folks, McGuinty doesn’t do “harsh reality.”

Moreover, the public sector unions and teachers will never stand for this level of austerity. Look instead for more taxes, fees and more big government.

© 2012 Russell G. Campbell


  1. Drummond imo is used as a 'pacifier' but to say that Dalton is all of sudden going to cut spending and taxes ain't going to happen. Let the public 'THINK' that he is going about doing something.
    Oh and BTW, what Dalton created is not is fault it is Mike Harris's- you know 'don't blame me blame Mike Harris'

  2. I left Ontario in 1979 and have always thought it was the smartest thing I have ever done in my life. Watching the disaster that has been the McGuinty liberals only reinforces that opinion.

  3. Got to agree with you has they have already said they will not cut all day kindergarten. Also McLiar said again with a straight face he won't raise taxes. That won't stop him calling it something else. Look at AB there it is the education portion of your property taxes.

  4. Would love to see a reduction in the 'non-teaching' staff. Back in the dark ages, when I was a student, principals and vice-principals all taught at least one subject. Now, even elementary admin people never darken a classroom door. And I am seriously unconvinced that the quality of education has improved with the proliferation of 'non-teaching' staff.

  5. Can anyone do a dynamic analysis of a 30% tax cut (the Common Sense Revolution) on Ontario's economic growth? I suspect that a near future government that combined the Drummond report's spending cuts with deep tax and regulatory cuts might find enough dynamic growth to climb out of the hole, reduce unemployment etc.