In a speech to the Canada 2020 think-tank at Ottawa's Chateau Laurier Wednesday evening, Premier Wynne said the best way to create jobs and boost the nation's economy is by massively expanding public transit, building roads and bridges, and upgrading other infrastructure across the country.
Some towns, Wynne said, have gone for so long without new infrastructure dollars that their bridges cannot carry buses and their water supply systems have not been upgraded in 100 years.
"The lack of adequate investment is choking out those future possibilities in some of these small communities, just as it is paralyzing our urban and economic hubs," Wynne said.
The federal government committed $53-billion to infrastructure earlier this year, but Ontario contends its approach is too piecemeal. Under the federal model, municipalities or provinces would receive the money on a project-by-project basis.
Instead, Premier Wynne wants a more detailed plan that ensures continuous funding from the federal government every year.
Recall that in 2008, the then McGuinty government -- both verbally and in writing, according to Toronto Liberal Councilman Shelley Carroll -- signed a commitment letter to the City of Toronto in which the McGuinty Government committed itself for 10 years to pay the approximate sum of $150 million per year for 10 years to the City of Toronto through to 2018, to assist Toronto with its growing public housing costs and to compensate Toronto for the former Premier Harris downloading public housing costs to the City of Toronto.
To McGuinty's credit, at that time that was a great example of the province of Ontario committing itself to continuous funding for social housing to Toronto.
It is ironic that Premier Wynne does not practice what she preaches, as she and her government have reneged on their commitment of continuous funding of $150 million annually to the City of Toronto for its social housing. Starting in 2014 and for three years, the Wynne government will be paying $50 million a year, instead of $150 million per year. And even that payment will be terminated as of 2016, two clear years before the previously noted McGuinty commitment letter for 10 years funding was to elapse.
Oh well, I guess Premier Wynne and Finance Minister Sousa have bigger fish to fry. That is, finding additional borrowed funds to pay for a negotiated two per cent raise in elementary teachers' salaries.
Or for paying billions, to permit students in Ontario to attend full-day kindergarten, again with borrowed funds to pay for additional teachers (all with generous benefits), a loan which has to be ultimately repaid by the Ontario government sometime in the future.
Or for paying over $585 million to greedy American hedge funds and friendly power plant operators.
Is there no end to this Liberal deficit madness?
Follow Mitch Wolfe on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MWolfe9216