Politics

Ontario, It's Time for the Resistance to Get Serious

If there was ever a time for all Ontarians of good conscience to wake up, get organized, rise up and actively resist the ransacking of our most cherished civic values, that time is upon us now.

By Ryan McGreal
Published September 28, 2018

Say it with me, everyone: Ontario has a revenue problem, not a spending problem. We are last in Canada on per-capita public revenue and last in Canada on per-capita public spending.

Chart: Total Provincial Revenue per Capita, FY 2016-17
Chart: Total Provincial Revenue per Capita, FY 2016-17

Chart: Provincial Program Spending per Capita, FY 2016-17
Chart: Provincial Program Spending per Capita, FY 2016-17

Our deficit is $5 billion or $15 billion depending on what accounting methods you prefer. Either way, the reason is clear: after 23 years of incremental corporate and income tax cuts under two major parties and four premiers, Ontario simply doesn't bring in enough revenue.

What the current government's political theatre of a line-by-line audit found is that nearly all of the new spending over the past 15 years has gone to health care and education - neither of which is directly managed by the Province.

The decades-long legacy of unrestrained neoliberalism is precisely the reason we have ongoing deficits (nine years into an economic recovery, no less) and starved public services.

We have the second-lowest corporate tax rates in North America (after Alabama). If cutting corporate taxes attracted business and created jobs, we'd already be awash in them. In fact, corporate tax cuts mostly just boost executive bonuses and share buybacks.

Trickle-down economics was a bad joke in the 1980s when Reagan/Mulroney/Thatcher first put it into practice.

We told them the wealth would 'trickle down'
"We told them the wealth would 'trickle down'"

More than three decades later, nobody should be able to claim with a straight face that giving more to rich people will somehow help anyone but the rich people.

Do you know what would help non-rich people? Getting more money into their hands. For example, by raising the minimum wage so that the working poor can afford to live and occasionally buy things. But Doug just announced he's cancelling the January 2019 increase.

Everything Doug Ford proposes to do will make our fiscal situation worse, not better. Cutting corporate taxes further will only exacerbate the revenue shortfall that has been starving public services in our manufactured fiscal crisis.

And he's only getting started. The most obvious conclusion from the political theatre audit is that the Province should take more direct control of health and education spending, but Doug is far more likely to do the opposite and hold a fire sale.

We Cannot Allow That To Happen.

If there was ever a time for all Ontarians of good conscience to wake up, get organized, rise up and actively resist the ransacking of our most cherished civic values, that time is upon us now.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Blotto (registered) | Posted September 28, 2018 at 11:22:56

Its a big club and we aren't apart of it.

'Meet the New Boss, same as the old Boss'

-The Who, Wont Get Fooled Again

Wake Up?

-The people of the western world are in a huge slumber - addicted to the latest useless electronic gadget, brainwashed by the controlled MSM and part of the group collective...and that's just scratching the surface.

Independent thinking is a dying art. Resistance is futile and you must assimilate.

But, lets go vote - the 10,000 coin flips we've lost in a row....surely, flip 10,001 we will win!

Either we are the unluckiest people in the Universe or our Life is one giant cosmic lie.

One open eye is king when two eyes are blind.

Comment edited by Blotto on 2018-09-28 11:33:47

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted September 28, 2018 at 20:11:50

I always find it weird that St. Joe's and Hamilton Health Science of CEOs.

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By BTH (registered) | Posted September 30, 2018 at 10:25:34

Back in the early 2000s after the .com crash and after the 2008 financial crisis it was fashionable for politicians to push for "tax cuts for job creators", as if the high unemployment rates and lack of prosperity could be cured by the government passing one more tax cut. This was galling to me that politicians were arguing this after the previous tax cuts had already clearly not worked and the phrase they kept trotting out at the time, "job creators", nailed exactly what the recipients of these tax cuts weren't doing with them. They're still selling the same nonsense that clearly hasn't worked over the last 30 years now and enough people suckered for it yet again.

It's been slow to sink in, but for a lot of ordinary, average people, when they finally start feeling the effects of Ford's policies, they'll eventually realize that he says he's "for the people", he's not for you.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 01, 2018 at 10:28:42 in reply to Comment 123836

They have CEOs because they are corporations. Canada has a hybrid health care system, funded publicly but actually delivered by private businesses and non-profit corporations that bill the government for their services.

Across OECD countries, there's a strong correlation between how public a health care system is and how well they control costs.

The most public systems - like Britain, in which every health facility is owned by the NHS and every health care provider is a government employee - have the lowest overall per-capita health care costs.

The most private systems - like the United States, which is the only OECD country that does not provide universal health coverage - have the highest overall per-capita health care costs.

Canada is in the middle both in terms of the public/private split and the overall per-capita costs.

If we want to reduce our health care costs - or at least contain them more successfully - we should be moving in the direction of countries like Britain. Instead, Doug Ford wants to move Ontario more in the direction of the United States, which will leave us with higher overall costs and worse care.

But it will mean a few people get a lot richer.

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By ASmith (registered) | Posted October 02, 2018 at 15:05:17

According to budget documents, Ontario's revenue as a percent of GDP was below 16% from 1993-2004. In 2004, McGuinty introduced the health care premium and revenue shot up to 16.25% for 2005, up from 15.04% in 2004. Since then, it's never dropped below 16% of GDP.

1) Revenue 2) Interest 3) Total Exp's 4) Non Interest Exp's 5) Ontario GDP 6) Non Interest Exp's % of GDP 7) Revenue % of GDP 8) Total Exp's % of GDP 9) Deficit % of GDP

     (1)     (2)      (3)    (4)      (5)    (6)      (7)    (8)     (9)

1993 41807 5293 54235 48942 285101 17.17% 14.66% 19.02% 4.36% 1994 43674 7129 54876 47747 291733 16.37% 14.97% 18.81% 3.84% 1995 46039 7832 56168 48336 309031 15.64% 14.90% 18.18% 3.28% 1996 49473 8475 58273 49798 327246 15.22% 13.85% 17.81% 3.96% 1997 49450 8607 56355 47748 335843 14.22% 13.27% 16.78% 3.51% 1998 52518 8729 56484 47755 357300 13.37% 13.24% 15.81% 2.57% 1999 55786 9016 57788 48772 372630 13.09% 14.97% 15.51% 0.54% 2000 62931 9497 61909 52412 396775 13.21% 15.86% 15.60% -0.26% 2001 66294 10873 64392 53519 440759 12.14% 15.04% 14.61% -0.43% 2002 72307 10337 71932 61595 453701 13.58% 15.94% 15.85% -0.08% 2003 74675 9694 74558 64864 477763 13.58% 15.63% 15.61% -0.02% 2004 74269 9604 79752 70148 493081 14.23% 15.06% 16.17% 1.11% 2005 83861 9368 85416 76048 516106 14.73% 16.25% 16.55% 0.30% 2006 90305 9019 90007 80988 537383 15.07% 16.80% 16.75% -0.06% 2007 96640 8831 94371 85540 560286 15.27% 17.25% 16.84% -0.40% 2008 103579 8914 102979 94065 585723 16.06% 17.68% 17.58% -0.10% 2009 96933 8566 103342 94776 587827 16.12% 16.49% 17.58% 1.09% 2010 96313 8719 115575 106856 597882 17.87% 16.11% 19.33% 3.22% 2011 107175 9480 121186 111706 630989 17.70% 16.99% 19.21% 2.22% 2012 109773 10082 122742 112660 659743 17.08% 16.64% 18.60% 1.97% 2013 113369 10341 122589 112248 680084 16.51% 16.67% 18.03% 1.36% 2014 115911 10572 126364 115792 695349 16.65% 16.67% 18.17% 1.50% 2015 118546 10635 128861 118226 727962 16.24% 16.28% 17.70% 1.42% 2016 128377 10967 131891 120924 763276 15.84% 16.82% 17.28% 0.46% 2017 133228 11250 134752 123502 798218 15.47% 16.69% 16.88% 0.19%

Sources... (10 year review numbers)

https://www.poltext.org/sites/poltext.or...

http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/en/histori...

https://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/onta...

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted October 02, 2018 at 23:46:24

The most obvious conclusion from the political theatre audit is that the Province should take more direct control of health and education spending

Be careful what you ask for, since you may be cursed with getting it. In particular, a big crack-down on health card fraud. I note that in 2006, Ontario's Auditor General found that there were 300,000 more health cards in circulation than the entire population of Ontario. A Google search does not turn up any follow-up, so I suspect that this may be a big Doug Ford initiative.

Of course, guess who will be disproportionately affect by a big insensitive crack-down on health card fraud? Precisely the people that Doug Ford hates anyway! Health care is the largest item of provincial government expenditure, at roughly half the entire provincial budget. There are huge dollars to be saved by legitimate, proper, sensitive investigation of health card fraud. But guess what Doug Ford will deliver?

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