Jim Flaherty v. Ontario

by Aaron Wherry

Shortly after debate on the federal budget began yesterday, Jim Flaherty decided to take a swipe at the Ontario government.

The reality is that we have not reduced transfers for health. In fact, if the member wants to pay attention to what is going on in this country, he can look at the budgets of New Brunswick, Ontario, British Columbia and others that have been released in the past few weeks. He will see that every one of the provinces are planning spending increases for health care of less than 6% and, unbelievably, 2.1%, and it really is unbelievable because the province will be unable to do it, in Ontario.

After Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan cast doubt on the Harper government’s management, Mr. Flaherty apparently woke up this morning and felt the need to expand on his concerns.

“I’m waiting for the Ontario government to grow up quite frankly,” Flaherty said. “This is a sad government, badly mismanaged now for almost nine years. The result is the rating agencies around the world are looking at the Ontario government and going ‘actually, we don’t even trust your credit-worthiness.’ “




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Jim Flaherty v. Ontario

  1. hidden six  billion.

    • I wonder if he’s hiding anything now – nah – he’s the world’s bestest finance minister.

  2. Yes, the people of Walkerton remember all about the ‘grown-up’ management of Ontario finances under Harris.

    • Oh Gawd! Not the Walkerton thing again. Since you know and I know (and I know that you know) that Walkerton was the result of two criminally incompetent managers who took deliberate steps to hide the source of the water contamination, since we both know this to be true, I find it discouraging and dishonest that you are trying to pin the blame back on Harris again. 

      This is the Big Lie doctrine in action. 

      • The two ‘good ol boys’ running things were there because of policy….you don’t need education to run things. 

        On edit:

        Premier Harris immediately blamed the former NDP government for loosening water standards. Within a week he had announced a public inquiry that wound up laying part of the blame for the Walkerton disaster on cutbacks ordered by the Harris government.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walkerton_Tragedy#Summary

        • They were not there because of any Harris policy. They were there due to sloppy oversight by the municipality and plain old nepotism. The finding of the Public Inquiry into this matter is that the Harris government should have mandated that the private testing lab must notify the gov’t if bad samples are found. Since the Koebel brothers knowingly falsified the origins of the samples they submitted, such a measure would still not have saved a single life in Walkerton. What these gentlemen did was a criminal act that led directly to seven deaths.

          •  Cutbacks will do that….as the inquiry found.

            And downloading to municipalities….something we’re still trying to rectify….means munis have no money.

          • It wasn’t money – or the lack of money – that caused the Walkerton tragedy. It was the actions of two people who were find criminally responsible. 

            It’s dishonest – and kind of disgusting – to keep pretending that the Harris government was responsible for Walkerton. Books have been written, Documentaries have been made, the Inquiry report is available online. There is no credible reason to pretend confusion. 

          • Don’t a bunch of people die in hospitals every year in Ontario from infections ?

            Can we blame all of those deaths on McGuinty ? He does just happen to be premier when people are dying !

            And I could spin it into some broader narrative about e-health and ORNGE scandals !! YAY !!

          • Still no answer on how McGuinty wasting health care dollars on e-health and ORNGE has led to deaths from infections ?

            Big government kills people by wasting money that could be used on things we actually need.

            Answer that !

          • From what I understand, McGuinty hired the people that worked for eHealth and ordered them using one of those G20-like executive orders to infect hospitals all over the province. Those infections were rare imports that came from overseas on Canada Steamship Lines freighters and flown in on Ornge choppers. If you look closely at the eye of the loon on the loonie, you see McGuinty cackling maniacally.

            Harper appears in the eye of the queen on the 20 for similarly nefarious reasons. 

          •  @385f47c6b5e45446c647519e48f7d772:disqus

            Perfect….!  LOL

          • Thank-you Igarvin for your attempt to inject some truth into an old lie.

            However I don`t think truth will be enough ammunition to penetrate the obstiancy you are dealing with.

          • You got THAT one right!

        • He announced a public inquiry……

          A mistake that won’t be repeated by this Conservative government no matter what the issue

  3. I’m calling you out on this one, Mr. Wherry.  Although Flaherty did start this, Dwight Duncan responded Thursday calling the federal budget “penny wise and pound foolish” before Flaherty escalated this further this morning.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/love-it-or-hate-it-provinces-react-to-federal-budget/article2386803/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Politics&utm_content=2386803

    This would seem to be a critical detail missing from your post that rather substantially changes what it is trying to imply.

    • I did not see that. I will add momentarily.

  4. Well Wee Jimmie the Ambulance Chaser would know wouldn’t he, having helped cook the books in Ontario for a few years himself. From the annual of chutzpah…..

      • He always seems to have one foot in the provincial Tories fight.  It’s unseemingly for a Federal minister to be doing this.

        •  Yup, and wasn’t it Van Loan who called McGuinty the ‘small man of confederation’?

          It’s open season on Ontario apparently….I don’t recall any other premier being constantly belittled

          • I don’t believe they’d pull this with another province.  Maybe they think McGuinty might run for Lib leader and they’re  getting the attacks in well in advance. 

          •  Cripes….never thought of that, but it’s entirely possible

          • Wouldn’t it be something to witness a former NDP Premier of Ontario who devastated the provincial economy facing off against a former Liberal Premier of Ontario who devastated the provincial economy. All under the Liberal banner. These clowns would be lucky to get total votes in the double digits.

  5. “This [Ontario] is a sad government, badly mismanaged now for almost nine years…”

    So sayeth the inept little leprechaun who created a multi-billion dollar mess in the wake of his own failed career as finance minister in that province – again while spouting the usual neocon drivel about tax cuts creating jobs and stimulating the economy.

    • Do you have any evidence *at all* that tax cuts don’t create jobs and stimulate the economy? Or is this just more Communist drivel?

      •  The US has been cutting taxes for years…they should be awash in jobs.

        • If you’d been paying any attention at all, you’d have noticed that US Unemployment is starting to drop… which would be largely thanks to the tax cuts.

          Even your Liberal overlords understood that CIT cuts created jobs… at least they understood that until it wasn’t them doing it.

          •  LOL Taxes cut for 12 years straight…..but now you want to credit them for Obama’s  work on the economy?

            Rick….enough with the Lib schtick.

          • Exactly what work has Obama done on the economy that’s created jobs? Would there be more jobs right now if Obama hiked taxes? Of course not.

            And I’ll stop with the Lib schtick when you do.

          • You have no evidence for this claim. 

            It is facile to believe tax cuts cause absolute job growth. Clinton raised taxes and had record job growth. Believe it or not, but most of what happens to the economy has next to nothing to do with the big cheese in the capital.

            Same for Rae, Harris and McGuinty. Rae had awful economic conditions to contend with. Harris benefitted from the rebound in US demand, and McGuinty is now reaping the fall in US demand due to recession there and the rise in the Canadian dollar. All things firmly out of the hands of those leaders. This whole debate is BS.

      • Nice try, but since tax cuts are integral to neocon catechism, it’s incumbent on its proponents to prove that cuts work, not on skeptics to prove that they don’t.

        And as far as I can tell, the cause-effect relationship between tax cuts and job creation is little more than an article of neocon faith, not an empirically demonstrable connection. If you buy it, then you prove it, citing credible, impartial economic evidence (i.e., something other than Fraser Institute propaganda).

        • I don’t have to prove anything. If the state is going to take from people with the threat of violence, it’s incumbent on those who believe that theft to be morally justified to prove that it has any effect.

          But it’s not rocket science. More money in individuals/businesses hands lets them invest in what they want, not what some social engineering government thinks is best.

          Taxes go to “create” inefficient jobs that serve very little purpose for society. 

          • Attaboy…taxation as “theft” “with the threat of violence”. I request empirical evidence and get a simplistic, idiotic rant based on blind faith.

            The taxes you so cavalierly and naively dismiss as “[serving] very little purpose for society” created the civic infrastructure you rely on every day (unless you’re off the grid and living in a cave), the health care system that gives Canadians some of the best health care outcomes on the planet, the education opportunities that were evidently wasted on you, robust military and defense capabilities that helped protect democracy within the lifetime of many living today, a regulatory regime that provides acceptable standards in the water we drink, the food we eat, the banks we use.

            I think you’re ready to be ordained into the high priesthood of libertarianism. You’ve obviously been thoroughly indoctrinated into its ideology.

          • “the health care system that gives Canadians some of the best health care outcomes on the planet, ”

            Look, I don’t think I’m anti-tax in the way Rick is.  But that little gem of yours cries out for a rebuttal.  In most OECD surveys, our health care system does not fare well at all against our peers.  Last survey I recall, we came out 28th of 30 industrialized countries surveyed.

            Yes, we do well compared to the entire planet, but that’s when you’re up against competition like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, etc.

          • @OrsonBean: point taken, but something of a deflection from the central argument. That our “peers” in health care outcomes are, in fact, the top countries on the planet is a result of the tax system our friend Rick (Racknine) Omen categorically dismisses. That, I contend, is beyond dispute.

          • Health care existed long before governments got into the game, and the federal health care system is widely known to be unsustainable in it’s current form. Oh, and it’s supposed to be a provincial responsibility, but that’s just become a lie over the years. Again, education was around long before the government got into the game, which is another system we continue to throw more money at for diminishing returns.

            I’m not gonna argue about defense, that’s one thing I’m happy to pay the feds for.

          • Rick RackNine, in brief: taxes are only good to fight wars…pathetic.

            If you don’t want to pay taxes for all the other amenities you apparently take for granted, then stop freeloading and go eat nuts and berries in the wilderness.

          • If you think taxes are so key to a functioning society, why don’t you pay more than you’re share?

          • Because I believe in a progressive tax regime in which everyone contributes according to their ability. The model is, admittedly, skewed by the ridiculous array of tax credits that have attached to tax policy over time (and have become especially favourite little political baubles for your beloved Cons).

            I may have (and have had) disputes about the tax schedule and about its myriad exemptions but not about taxation in principle as a civic and social instrument.

            You appear to just want a free ride, period.

      • So Rick, why,  when I click on your name do I get the Racknine website?

  6. The Liberals inherited a $6.5 billiion dollar deficit when Mike Harris and Ernie Eves were defeated.  The Conservatives also sold the 407 for a ridiculously low figure of $3 million.  Think of the revenue
    lost.  Hospitals were closed and the list goes on and on.  The Liberals may not be perfect but what is the alternative – Hudak, a cabinet minister in the Mike Harris government??

  7. How do you “prove” a tax cut works without trying it first ?

    Keeping the rates the same, raising them, or lowering them are all proactive policy decisions.

    DO you need to “prove” that keeping the rates the same is the BEST way to go every year too ?

    Or how about we let governments try what they want, study the data, and adjust after the fact ?

    • Flaherty was paying – $90,000 (?) a day to consultants and you’re advocating experimenting?

    • “How do you “prove” a tax cut works without trying it first”

      Good question because, in Ontario, successive governments have been braying for the last 20 years about the number of times they’ve cut taxes during their terms. Inevitably, when the unemployment rate continues to climb, neocons say, “well of course, because we haven’t cut taxes enough. So, it seems, you can never “prove” it doesn’t work to the satisfaction of a believer.

      Not unlike the physician in the middle ages who, when his therapeutic bloodletting measures failed to restore a patient’s health, took more blood…until the patient died from loss of blood.

      • Not unlike the socialist government of the new ages who, when their incessant tax-collecting measures failed to restore the country`s economy, took more taxes… until the country died from the loss of taxpayers.

        •  And what government of what mythical country was that?

          • Harold Wilson’s Britain wasn’t far off the mark.  It’s why the Rolling Stones fled the country in the 70s and why the Beatles wrote the song “Taxman”, among other things, and why Britain was referred to as the “Sick Man of Europe” at the time.

          • Though certainly a significant contribution, most Western countries were also going through (or beginning to go through) something of a difficult transition from an industrial economy, to a [service, technology, patent-troll haven, etc]-based one. I’m not sure if we’ll really ever get appropriate numbers as to just how much of the damage was caused by each of them. 

            It was also no accident that those industrial jobs were beginning to be shipped out overseas. It’s popular to blame the unions (and they certainly hastened things a little), but it’s quite doubtful that many of us would be willing to work for their wages or willingly live in the conditions that they tend to (arguably better for them, huge step down for us).

        • Though true, it’s a little disingenuous because you’d be hard pressed to find a reasonably advanced jurisdiction that is either (a) maintaining tax rates that even approach the levels that Canada, the UK, or the US were charging previous to the Thatcher/Reagan years, or (b) retained them without locating other sources of revenue.

    • I’m not going to vouch for the accuracy of it in general, and not aimed at anyone, but there are many in all political tribes that seem to forget that the “Laffer Curve” is a curve and not a slope of some kind.

      With all that, policy experiments are vitally important to undertake at semi-regular intervals and it would be a shame and detrimental if we did not ever change things as part of an effort to improve things.

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