I was in a meeting this week and discussion of the Provincial budget came up. I of course stated that I thought the McGuinty government did not go far or deep enough to cut its own spending and instead it was relying on public service workers to provide the bulk of the savings it had forecast to reduce the deficit. He did not reduce the size of government, in fact fourteen Ministries had an INCREASE in their spending.
During the provincial campaign the Ontario PC Party had stated that there were to be no cuts to Health Care and Education, but that every other ministry would have to find 2% savings in the budget as part of a PC Government in Ontario. We now find ourselves with growing debt and deficits, servicing the debt the government’s #3 spending item (Health Care and Education are one and two) this year. There are no sources of savings from the government on the costs of reducing the amount of spending Ontario does this year. The brunt are being borne by the public sector with a wage freeze and the freezes and delays on the benefits paid to those in this province that rely on that support each month. That the government finally realized that wages of the PS are out of hand and need to come into line with the wages of the private sector in Ontario is amazing. Though labour organizations are not happy with it they must accept that their workers are part of the cost of doing business here, it happens in the private sector – the government has just started to catch up on this thought.
Back to my meeting, in this talk of the budget “he” was brought up, the man that cannot be named, the unspoken one or the big evil man – Mike Harris! Mike Harris was blamed for this budget. WHAT? I could not believe my ears, the man that has not been Premier for almost 10 years (he left office April 2002) is the reason for the freezes and cuts and fee increases? I swear if that man had a dollar for every time he was named or blamed he would not have to work again. For as bad as many people think Harris was, he did what he had to do.
Dalton McGuinty on the other hand has done what he wanted and has blessed Ontario with a debt of $260 Billion and a deficit of over $15B. So while Mike Harris will ever be known for the cuts to save Ontario, McGuinty will be known for the spending that has put us back in the hole that previous PC governments had dug us out of . I hope that Dalton has the same resonance that Harris has 10 years after he leaves the Premiers’ office, I take that back I hope he doesn’t because he does not deserve it. Harris stands heads above McGuinty as someone who did what was needed and right for Ontario.
I haven’t even mentioned the name of the Premier before Mike Harris, what was his name again?