Ontario’s debt a selfish burden on future generations – These two pathetic premieres of Ontario will go down as the worst leaders this province has ever seen. Their greed and lust for political power, completely at the expense of the taxpayer and hydro rate payer is shameful.

The seeds of Ontario’s growing debt addiction were sown in the fertile soil of the 1999 provincial election campaign.

Dalton McGuinty, the future premier, entered the campaign an unknown rookie peddling a platform he later admitted in his autobiography was “full of generalities but not much detail.”

McGuinty was, however, clear and detailed in at least one regard — his contempt for the debt incurred by the government of then-premier Mike Harris.

“The Harris Agenda has threatened our future by adding $22 billion to the provincial debt, increasing property taxes and introducing new user fees,” McGuinty argued in his “20/20 Plan, A Clear Vision for Ontario’s Future.”

“We would never jeopardize our long-term economic well-being with the sort of shortsighted, irresponsible policies put in place by the Harris government,” his 20/20 document suggested.

But that’s exactly what McGuinty did after winning power in 2003, and what Kathleen Wynne continued to do since succeeding him in 2013 — become debt junkies.

A Fraser Institute report released Thursday details the ballooning of Ontario’s net debt under the Liberals — which has almost doubled since ’07 and is tracking toward a record $318 billion.

The report shows that even if the Liberals manage in their upcoming budget, as promised, to balance their books in time for an election next year, they expect to continue racking up $9 billion in debt annually thereafter “with no end in sight,” according to Fraser.

That’s because even if the government gets a handle on its operating spending, following nine years of deficits, borrowing for transit and other infrastructure is projected by the government to increase at least $9 billion every year until 2020.

By that time, our kids and grandkids will inherit a projected $370-billion debt and, no doubt, crushing new taxes and user fees to pay for the excesses of this generation.

Fraser describes Ontario’s current finances as “battered” and suggests a balanced budget is merely a first step in a “long journey” to sound management.

“The province faces serious fiscal problems, and it would be a big mistake to believe that a balanced budget solves those problems,” study co-author Ben Eisen said in a release.

Clearly it would not. All debt has consequences. More debt increasingly equals more taxes and fewer services.

It’s a selfish burden on future generations, rooted in the fundamental inability of the current Liberal regime to balance promises to “improve” education and health care with sound fiscal management.

That was the seed McGuinty planted, and Wynne nurtured — a mindset that paid lip service to fiscal responsibility but tolerated indiscriminate spending.

More than a decade of record debt and spending haven’t served us well. Instead, we’ve seen cancelled gas plants, bogus green energy schemes, road and transit chaos, troubled health care and education and desperate hydro rebates.

“He just doesn’t get it,” Harris said of McGuinty following a 1999 rally near London, Ont. “Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals want to take us back to high taxes and high spending.”

Harris, it turns out, was prophetic.

jawallace@postmedia.com

Ottawa Sun by James Wallace

March 31st 2017

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