Consider that in 2013/14 interest on the provincial debt was $10.6 billion. According to the province's fall fiscal update, that was just over half of all provincial sales tax revenue paid by Ontarians last year ($20.5 billion). So Ontarians should know that when you pay your provincial sales tax at the till, half of it flutters away just to pay your provincial government's debt interest.
On December 1, the Ontario Court of Appeal failed Canadians who are homeless or living in substandard conditions. By ruling that the Government of Canada has no obligation to provide "affordable, adequate, and accessible housing" to its citizens, the Court sanctioned the government's abdication of responsibility for housing and dealt a significant blow to vulnerable Canadians.
The government already spends 9.2 per cent of its revenues to service its debt and, according to its own estimates, this will rise to nearly 11 per cent in the next four years. Put plainly, Ontario spends $1 out of every $10 sent to Queen's Park to pay for past debt. This is money not spent on health care, education, transportation, or other public priorities. The increase in rates and the expectation for further hikes means even more tax revenues will go to paying interest instead of key government services.
The newest hot trend in the trying-so-hard-not-to-expend-one-iota-of-independent-self-guided-research crowd is declining your vote. In less than 24 hours all manner of articles have sprung up that read like the person writing them caught a case of spontaneous narcolepsy when forced to talk about the election. Nobody is going to argue the fact that the Ontario party leaders we've been presented with this time around come across as flat and less than engaging, but when was it ever going to be an option that Hudak's lifeless floating grin be the one I could hold accountable were something to happen to me in my own neighbourhood? Did everyone forget how our political system works?
The Conservative platform is off the economic track as it invokes analogies and comparisons that defy the economic fundamentals. Ontarians on June 12 have to vote on their future. They can choose to invest in Ontario's education, health, and infrastructure. Alternatively, they can choose to become the victims of false analogies.
Scandals happen to all governments at all levels, and I might speculate that the only reason the NDP hasn't been implicated in something deemed a scandal recently is that the last time they were elected Provincially was in 1990. They've never been elected federally. Jumping on other parties' scandals, as Ms. Horwath has, is a convenient way to avoid offering substantive policy alternatives and maintain the illusion of principled superiority. Scandal obsession dominates political discourse and freezes our governing institutions in wasteful bickering until the next scandal.
As Ontario inches closer to elections in June, two distinct visions emerge for the provincial economy. The Liberals propose investments in physical and social infrastructure, which will require running a deficit in the short run. The Ontario Conservatives, however, balk at the idea of deficit financing and propose stringent spending cuts.