Ontario Election: Economic Realities

Another fascinating TVO discussion about the Ontario election, this time pivoting off some disparaging comments made several weeks ago by former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge in regards to political leadership with respect to prospects for the province’s economy…

Dodge slammed all three Ontario political leaders. Each, he warned, is promoting “impossible” economic plans that unrealistically promise lower taxes and improved services for a province that he believes is facing a shrinking tax revenue base.

“Whoever wins will be seen to have lied to the public,” he told the Globe.

As a former Ontarian occasionally tuning in to the election from another province, it’s interesting to contrast thoughtful discussions such as this at the “macro” level of things with the barking mad rhetoric and petty sniping of bloggers more closely invested with the political contest.

9 Replies to “Ontario Election: Economic Realities”

  1. I was offered a lateral move back to Ontario. Given the cost of living, and the reduced prospects for young people there, I declined.

    Alberta is far from perfect – and has its own roster of issues and problems – but in a resource-dominated economy, this is probably the best option for my children moving forward.

    Ontario got very arrogant in the 1980’s and in the main, helped Mulroney win the “Free-Trade Election”; which was inonic, because it was The National Policy that by and large created the conditions for Ontario to become an Industrial Manufacturing Power in North America. By turning their back on the NP, Ontario generated its own rather rapid decline. I clearly recall the wide range and number of US TNCs who announced they were closing their Canadian operations in that fateful year of 1990. Gillette was among the first to go, and they announced their departure one day after the law was promulgated and prior to the actual start date of January, 1990. Many followed suit …

    It was then that I gasped: “Oh God, what have we done!”

  2. Interesting the way you put that, Red. By and large, the right “owns” the mega-narrative. The whole world is drowning in debt and there is hardly anyone on the global financial stage who doesn’t see getting a grip on public finances as the priority, a far from painless or easy task with the very gloomy economic and demographic projections. Clueless about how to respond, the left has reacted in a truly “conservative” way of just arguing there is a huge reservoir of untaxed wealth that would allow us to keep everything humming–business as usual, so no need to change anything. In Canada, the debate is extremely parochial. I’ve noticed that at least on blogs and in some of the media, government cuts are often criticized, not as misguided macroeconomic policy, but as evidence of yet another one of Harper’s pathological hatreds, which seem to run all the way from science to Canada itself.

  3. Peter: Not sure that I agree entirely with your characterization of the reaction by “the left” in response to the current financial mess the world finds itself in, but there’s some truth to it. By the same token, I’m not sure that “austerity” measures together with the usual dime-store prescriptions of “the right” (i.e., cut taxes and government regulations) are the answer to the problem either.

    As for the hysterical criticisms of the Harper government by some bloggers and mainstream pundits, for the most part they are just absurd and probably speak more to the delusional paranoia of the individuals in question than to anything else.

  4. Oh, I agree, the simplistic slash and burn rhetoric on a lot of the right is naive and dangerous. I’m always amused by libertarian types who talk about “short, sharp correctives”, as if if debt reduction was like a bracing morning dip in an icy lake before we all sit down to a big hot breakfast. They should study Cauceascu, who successfully paid off Romania’s sizeable debt in record time by driving his people from penury to destitution. I’m just saying the big, creative ideas are coming mainly from the right and the left is circling wagons in response. That doesn’t mean visions can’t be dangerous.

  5. I think we can all agree that the present system is seriously broken. I’m surely not alone in being receptive to some creative solutions and fresh ideas to address the problem, no matter what political direction they came from. Unfortunately, all of the “experts” just seem to be chasing their own dogmatic tails at the moment.

  6. I’m not sure I would agree the system is “broken”, except perhaps in Europe, where the irrational gridlock inherent in one monetary policy and seventeen fiscal policies has been revealed. In fact, thinking in terms of broken systems may prove to be a danger. What is needed is for the left to get its head out of the sand and the right to stop with its John Wayne talk..

  7. Oh, man… that is too funny. 7% capital holding against risk is “anti-American”? Truly, we are completely fucked if this the asinine sort of thinking coming from the over-leveraged brain-trust of Wall Street.

    You say that “the left” needs “to get its head out of the sand”… Um, where is “the left” exactly in all of this muddle? They’re not in power in the largest economies of the EU and it’s questionable how much influence they have these days in Washington…

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