Leaders are supposed to think about building a strong foundation for both the present and the future, not wrecking the jurisdiction they lead in a desperate attempt to hold onto power.
It would have been very easy for Stephen Harper to win more seats in the 2015 election if he brought in gigantic tax cuts, brought the sales tax down to 2%, tripled all tax credits, doubled infrastructure spending, and forgave all outstanding student loans in an effort to win the youth vote.
So why didn’t he do it?
After all, Harper was a tough, often ruthless politician determined to win at almost all costs.
And yet, Harper recognized that part of being a leader is thinking beyond the next election and making decisions that will help not just now, but down the road.
Through his leadership after the Global Financial Crisis, Harper worked to balance the budget and set Canada on a more secure fiscal path.
Doing so definitely hurt his popularity, as spending restraint can often be a tough sell, especially against an opponent who promises the world without any pain.
Harper put his political power at risk to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, Kathleen Wynne lacks the same leadership wisdom.
Instead, Wynne has repeatedly shown that she is willing to destroy the economy of Ontario just to scrounge a few more votes in a desperate bid to maintain power.
The 2018 Ontario budget is a vivid example of that:
As noted by the Canadian Press, “As it braces to fight for re-election this spring, Ontario’s Liberal government has rolled out a spending package that targets nearly every demographic while plunging the province back into deficit, with the books expected to stay in the red for six years.”
“The $158.5-billion fiscal plan — the Liberals’ election platform for the June vote — projects the province will run a $6.7-billion deficit in 2018-2019 and won’t return to balance until 2024-2025.”
Also, the already dubious balanced budget promise has been betrayed:
“Last year, the government posted its first balanced budget in a decade, and vowed to stay in the black through 2019-2020, although two fiscal watchdogs — the province’s auditor general and financial accountability officer — had raised questions about its accounting practices.”
Left out of all this discussion, is the fact that Ontario has the largest sub-sovereign debt in the world.
The heavily-indebted state of California, with a population about 300% larger than Ontario, has about half the debt that Ontario does.
Ontario’s debt payments are the fourth largest category in the budget, and it’s only going to get worse with more debt being added and interest rates rising.
That level of debt is increasingly crippling the Ontario economy, and would leave the province with no room to maneuver in the case of a crisis, meaning any recession could quickly turn into a severe crisis that would devastate much of the economy.
So, Kathleen Wynne is putting the economic prospects of millions of people at risk, just so she can try and stay in the Premier’s chair.
If it wasn’t putting so many people in financial danger, it would almost be sad.
Photo – YouTube