Wynne’s Liberals masters of debt
Premier Kathleen Wynne. (JACK BOLAND/Toronto Sun)
If there’s one thing Ontario’s Liberal government is good at, it’s racking up debt.
Under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne, Ontario’s net debt soared by 89% from 2007-08 to 2013-14.
According to the Fraser Institute, that’s the fastest growth rate by far among all of the provinces and the federal government. (The next highest is Alberta at 68.4%.)
Ontario’s public debt in 2013-14 was $269.1 billion, up $126.7 billion from $142.4 billion in 2007-08.
This year, Ontario’s deficit is projected at $12.5 billion, higher than the combined deficits of all the other provinces and the federal government.
The Wynne government says its final deficit number for this year will be under $12.5 billion — the fifth year in a row the Liberals will beat their own deficit projections.
But that’s only because finance ministers underestimate revenues and overestimate expenses at the start of each year, so they can claim to beat their own numbers, which means nothing.
Ontario has the second highest per person debt in the country — $19,879 compared to $22,300 for Quebec. The feds, at $19,567 come in third.
In 2013-14, Ontario spent 9.1% of all government revenues, or $10.5 billion, paying interest on debt, without paying a penny of the principal.
That $10.5 billion is $400 million more than the Liberals spent on all community and social service programs, at $10.1 billion.
It’s just $300 million less than all infrastructure spending at $10.8 billion.
The Liberals didn’t cause the 2008 global recession, the high Canadian dollar that hurts our exporters, and, unlike Alberta and Saskatchewan, Ontario doesn’t have huge oil and gas reserves.
But however the Liberals fudge the numbers, the reality is this: Deficits are deferred taxes. At some point, they have to be paid.
The other reality is that July marked the 91st consecutive month under the Liberals Ontario’s unemployment rate (7.5%) exceeded the national average (7.0%).
The lesson, which the Liberals refuse to acknowledge, is that no government can spend itself rich.
And that by failing to address Ontario’s increasing debt load, they have put an anchor on our economy, until some future government has the courage to balance the books.