A man who did the right thing, not the easy thing. That's how I'll remember Dalton McGuinty's time in office. It is no secret that the province of Ontario is cash-straddled. Every province will be short on revenue in the coming decades as the cost of health care, in particular, increases. Yet Dalton McGuinty understood one of the key tenets of governance -- short-term pain for long-term gain. Yet it was not merely pragmatic decisions that characterized Premier McGuinty's tenure. Liberal values also defined his government, even after it was reduced to minority status. McGuinty said it himself the night he was elected to a third term as premier: Liberalism is still alive in Canada.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is boasting that its freezing of Public Service salaries has resulted in saving the province $34 million -- even though bonuses to practically all managers has cost the province over $35 million. With a $15 billion provincial deficit, it's obvious the province is in a financial crisis. Pay freezes are a necessity and bonuses justified as "performance pay" are an utter waste and insulting to those who do their job. That's not economizing; it's hoodwinking the taxpayer.
Canadians should not arrogantly assume that what has happened to Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh cannot happen to Brantford, Trenton and Windsor. It can happen, and it is happening. Like the U.S. Rustbelt, Ontario has been losing industrial jobs, and only new business investment can create the post-industrial jobs of the future.
On Monday, British Columbia premier Christy Clark was essentially slapped in the face -- politely but publicly -- by Alberta Premier Alison Redford -- who rejected B.C.'s demand for "a fair share" of royalties from Alberta's oil pipelines. It should make for an interesting backdrop to Canada's premiers getting together in Nova Scotia this week, where energy will be front and centre on the agenda.