Just when you thought it was safe to……

There is, of course, the overarching reason why self-sufficiency as a concept makes sense. This stuff is the best reason to focus on SS.

But Ontario taxpayers still funnel billions of dollars to supposedly needy provinces like Quebec, Manitoba and those in Atlantic Canada – even though those regions actually enjoy “gold-plated public services” compared to those here.

“In Nova Scotia there are 32 hospitals and, in P.E.I., eight – 40 hospitals for a population of 1 million. In the city of Vaughan, just above Toronto, there isn’t a single hospital for over 200,000 people,” noted MacKinnon.

MacKinnon argued it is time for Ontario’s federal and provincial politicians to reignite that crusade, “to get real and get tough.”

Weaning so-called “have-not” provinces off the Ontario- and Alberta-subsidized equalization teat would also benefit the country, he said, noting the “tidal wave” of funding from Alberta and Ontario taxpayers to recipient jurisdictions impairs economic growth by forcing labour costs to national levels and forcing unsubsidized enterprises to compete with subsidized ones.

And then just to put a little pizzazz to it, this guy says:

Against such an anti-Ontario backdrop, he said it’s a wonder Ontarians haven’t risen up the way American colonists did in 1773 against their British overlords.

“Perhaps we need to borrow an idea from the Americans and have the modern equivalent of a tea party in Toronto harbour to argue for the principles of representation by population and no taxation without fair representation,” he said.

Now, some of you will say this guy is an outlier but I have tracked this stuff for years. There is a fairly significant sense of resentment particularly in Ontario over Equalization. It would be almost impossible to conceive of a scenario where Equalization increases in the next 10 years – in New Brunswick – the way it did in the past 10. Eventually, these voices will become a chorus and change will be forced upon us. We can’t keep spending more than we take in (own source revenue). We can’t keep spending as much as fast growing provinces. We need to figure out how to simultaneously generate economic development and keep a lid on government spending.

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0 Responses to Just when you thought it was safe to……

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sure there’s resentment in Ontario against the Atlantic provinces and some of that has emerged against the backdrop of what is perceived to be a Maritime culture of entitlement out of proportion to need.

    A good example in New Brunswick is the astounding capital and operating expense associated with three competing airports in Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton when it would have made more sense to have created a single, centrally-located airport in Sussex. But politics dictated that all three cities — which collectively have a population less that that of Halifax — host a mediocre, expense airport facility rather than cooperate with one another and sacrifice their own self interests.

    If anything, I’m surprised that Ontario isn’t more in arms over the profligate spending that takes place in the Maritimes which has produced unnecessary hospitals, universities, airports and all forms of infrastructure. And all of it on someone else’s dollar.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There is something very wrong in this country when Ontario has the lowest per capita provincial spending ($6,432 for 2007-08), which is $1,400 lower than the national average, but one of the worst tax regimes compared to other provinces. I can understand smaller provinces having less economies of scale/efficiencies, but 20% lower than the national average is a way out of kilter.

    Backup data (chart 3 for provincial spending)
    http://www.taxpayer.com/pdf/ABPreBudget2008_WEB.pdf

  3. mikel says:

    I think the above is exactly what was stated in the article, and more than that, it has ALWAYS been the attitude of central canada. The maritimes have ALWAYS been called the pork barrel capital.

    But keep in mind its a false analogy. Yes, there are more hospitals, there are also smaller hospitals. If you go to the ontario government website you’ll find that virtually all the doctors who are taking patients are ALL in Toronto. I have my choice on any given day between going to four hospitals within an hours drive, or else I can choose one of a dozen clinics, several of them open twenty four hours-and none of them with that odd NB requirement of tying people to one doctor.

    I can go in one day and get tests done the next. Just because a physical building exists means nothing about ‘gold plated health care’. There is EQUAL health care, sort of, which is the whole point.

    There has ALWAYS been ‘resentment’ in ontario MEDIA. Thats how central governments work. Just because thats media doesn’t mean anything about the population, lots of people are ‘smug’ about where they come from, just listen to Graham’s state of the province address.

    In ontario, its a joke. Everybody knows the place exists because of subsidies to the auto sector, and everybody knows billions are being poured into R&D. Of course more appropriate is the fact that at least half of ontarians aren’t from ontario. You can usually tell by voter turnout, which is now approaching half (not always the case but usually a good clue).

    There’s a reason why every new subdivision here in waterloo has a street name “cabot trail” or “avonlea boulevard”, etc. Its actually quite creepy.

    But articles like that are meant the same way that Irving articles about ‘quality of life’ are meant-to distract people from getting involved in the serious political problems in their own area, and to keep regions divisive.

    Just look at the solutions, since equalization is enshrined in the charter, its virtually impossible for change, hell, they can’t even get an elected senate and virtually EVERYBODY has wanted that for over a hundred years.

    And of course if a serious debate were held nobody would say ‘taxation by representation’, that doesn’t even make sense. What everybody would say is ‘why not put more industry there’. Anybody that thinks ‘pork barreling’ is unique to the maritimes has obviously never been outside the maritimes.

    As for the future, like most things, it simply depends on the economy. And self sufficiency hardly enters into it as the provincial economy is tied into the federal one. It is primarily PIT and consumptive taxes that pay the way, so in the case that the federal government has less money to hand out (like in the nineties), it is highly unlikely that the same thing wouldn’t be happening to the provincial government.

    Of course ‘self sufficiency’ MAY be a laudable goal, if anybody ever bothers to try to explain what it actually IS. Both Alberta and Ontario get 15-20% of their budget from the feds, and its hard to take $1.5 billion seriously when the feds piss that away on any given day (and when Alberta tax credits for profitable companies add up to more).

  4. Anonymous says:

    Good going again Mikel.
    When we need Ontario telling us how to spend our agreed upon fair share of Canadian development from early NB,PEI.NS invested funds,we will definitely be going back wards.
    Ontario has wasted more money,and been more criminally involved,than some third world countries.Is it not Ontario and Quebec who sends their kingpin chretien ,yes him who keeps the criminal courts busy,to Alberta to sing,sing,”This land ain’t your land,dis lands tis mines land”

  5. Anonymous says:

    The Ontario government spends ninety-two billion dollars ($92,000,000,000) a year
    Some smart fellow said (Some Tolstoy),pain does not create a long lasting memory,but the memory of luxury exerts itself for ever.
    Presumably ,that means,when you try to take away from a province,tis the rich people that will retaliate with all guns blazing.

    I love what you can learn in a good book,something I am never without.(a book,rare are the good ones)
    Plus a fast google finger,and an eye for common sense.