Thursday, October 22, 2009

Haldimand "Warning, Reading this Could be Hazardous"

Make yourself a coffee before you read this, or maybe something a bit stronger. This is the hard core reality, and we will all be paying the price. Both articles are very well written.

This might just clarify why even though the people of Ontario seem to not want McGuinty to implement the new HST come July of 2010, it seems that there is a substantial reason why he is still persistent that this tax will come into force.

What is really interesting is the second article had 154 comments when I read it, if you have the time read some of the comments that are being posted they are quite interesting, just go to the link at the end of the article.

Consultants cost '$1M a day'
Dalton McGuinty blasted over 'bloated fees' to experts and hushed-up pay for top bureaucrats
Rob Ferguson Queen's Park Bureau
Published On Wed Oct 21 2009

The Ontario government's consultant "habit" extends further than the $1 billion eHealth scandal, with new figures showing the provincial ministries alone spent $389 million on help from consultants last year, the NDP charged Tuesday.

The payouts gave the opposition parties another financial weapon to use against the Liberals, also under fire for hiding the salaries of highly paid bureaucrats in hospital budgets. That includes Premier Dalton McGuinty's $320,695-a-year climate-change guru.

The cash for consultants shows a free-spending attitude that taxpayers can no longer afford as the provincial deficit deepens in the recession, said New Democrat MPP Paul Miller (Hamilton East-Stoney Creek), who got the numbers in a request under freedom-of-information legislation.
"When is this premier going to say enough is enough? When is he finally going to end this government's $1-million-a-day addiction to consultants and their bloated fees?" Miller said during the Legislature's daily question period.

McGuinty brushed aside the questions, saying the government has reduced spending on consultants by 34 per cent since coming to power in 2003 and noted "governments of all stripes" have been relying on consultants "for some time" when special expertise is needed.

"I don't think it's particularly news."

The premier also defended the salary of his associate deputy minister Hugh MacLeod, who heads the climate-change secretariat, but was unable to point to any tangible achievements of the man who reports directly to him.

"That's a very important responsibility. It's one that hasn't received a lot of attention lately but as somebody once said, `the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment' and we've been spending a lot of time talking about the economy lately. But as the economy grows stronger, more and more of our attention, that is the attention of humanity, will focus on the single greatest long-term challenge confronting us, and that is global warming and climate change," McGuinty told reporters Tuesday.

"So we think it's very important to have the capacity as a government to understand what is happening in the world, to understand our contribution to this challenge, to develop plans where we assume responsibility to reduce our contribution to climate change," he added.

"We're funding an office which is carrying out a very important responsibility for all of us."

An official in McGuinty's office said MacLeod coordinates the government's policies on climate change and sits on a cabinet committee studying the economy.

The new consultant figures, for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 and the latest available, served as a reminder of the eHealth Ontario scandal, which saw consultants who were paid up to $3,000 a day expensing for snacks like tea and cookies.

In a report two weeks ago, Auditor General Jim McCarter found the province has spent $1 billion to create electronic health records for patients – with little to show for it.

As well, McCarter found a too-heavy reliance on consultants who can cost more than hiring staff.
McGuinty agreed with that point and said the government is bringing more experts to work in-house.

Miller noted the $389 million does not include money spent on consultants at provincial agencies, boards and commissions, which could push the actual total higher.

Ontario faces "cuts to vulnerable kids, to unemployed workers, to community hospitals ... while well-connected consultants feast at the McGuinty government trough."

The biggest bill – $104 million – was for the ministry of government and consumer services. The health ministry, which was in charge of eHealth, spent $89 million.

"There are some things we need to hire consultants to do because it's a project" but other things should be done in-house to keep costs down, said new Health Minister Deb Matthews, appointed to the job earlier this month after the resignation of David Caplan over eHealth

Ontario deficit billions more than expected
Largest-ever deficit in province
$24.7B - means difficult choices ahead, says Finance Minister Duncan

Ontario's already record budget shortfall has ballooned to a staggering $24.7 billion – billions higher than economists expected – and "difficult choices" loom, warns Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.

In the fall economic statement tabled Thursday in the Legislature, Duncan revised the deficit projection upward from the $18.5 billion he had announced in June (and the $14.1 billion in the March budget.)

Until earlier this year, the ignominious record was a $12.4 billion shortfall in the 1992 budget introduced by NDP finance minister Floyd Laughren.

"Due to this global recession, our economy is now the same size as it was in 2005. Tax revenues are also now at 2005 levels," Duncan told the House.

"Corporate tax revenues fell last year by an unprecedented 48.1 per cent – or over $6 billion," he said.

"At the same time the recession has driven up demand for government services."

That accounts for the deficit being far worse than the $22 billion leading bank economists had anticipated.

"The governments of Canada, the United States and some other provinces have all adjusted their deficit projections upward for the coming year," said Duncan, noting Ottawa's is $56 billion and Washington's is $1.5 trillion.

"Due to the impact of the global economy on Ontario and our government's desire to invest in the people of this province, the projected deficit is $24.7 billion in 2009-10," he said.

That's on a $113.7 billion budget, which includes $104.3 billion in spending on programs and $9.4 billion on interest paymentsto service a provincial debt that has skyrocketed to $137.9 billion.

Despite the gloomy picture, Duncan emphasized that the Liberals would continue their focus on the big-ticket priorities of health-care and education.

To that end, the government will announce its long-anticipated plans Tuesday for all-day junior and senior kindergarten for four- and five-year-olds.

"This initiative will further increase the competitive advantage already found in our highly skilled and educated workforce," the treasurer said.

"Full-day learning for our four- and five-year-olds will also help parents take advantage of new job opportunities," he said, conceding that the government will be "phasing in" the program, which could take years.

"Making this investment will require difficult choices on our part," said Duncan.
"And we will make them."

While he was vague Thursday, in a speech on Tuesday, the finance minister said a sweeping review of government programs would be coming in the next few months to determine where cuts can be made.

"We will call on our partners in the public and the broader public sector to help us sustain public services in the long term. We will also review all agencies, boards and commissions to ensure they are meeting Ontarians' needs and expectations," he said.

"We made the right choices for today. As Ontario comes out of the recession, we will eliminate the deficit and pay down debt to ensure the sustainability of the public services we all value."
However, Duncan did not offer a timetable for deficit reduction and elimination.

Opposition parties were flabbergasted at the new $24.7 billion deficit figure, which Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak called "a historically dismal performance" and warned it would boost each Ontario household's share of the total provincial debt to $13,500.

"The government was living high off the hog," Hudak thundered in the Legislature. "The McGuinty government is the problem. The problem will not be fixed until we replace the sad, worn out McGuinty government."

New Democrat finance critic Michael Prue said a deficit this large cannot come without dire consequences for both the public and public sector workers.

"I can read the code words," Prue said. "They can expect to get whacked in the months ahead."
On Wednesday, Premier Dalton McGuinty left open the possibility of unpaid furloughs for public servants, including teachers, bureaucrats, and nurses.

That echoed former NDP premier Bob Rae's "social contract" in 1993, which introduced the phrase "Rae Days" into the vernacular.

While the Liberals privately insist "Dalton Days" are not on the horizon, McGuinty has steadfastly refused to rule them out.

"We're just beginning this discussion," the premier said Wednesday when asked about Rae's response to a recession.

"I don't know. We've all got our own particular approaches obviously. I'll let people judge, but what I would say is that ... the next several months will be very important as we come up to our own particular approach to this."

Wayne Samuelson, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, said Wednesday he's worried the Liberals "are so freaked out about the deficit" they will force workers to take involuntary leave.

"They're heading for a $20 billion deficit and it doesn't look like they're ready to raise taxes and it's pretty clear that the economy is not going to grow so there's not going to generate extra money there," said Samuelson.

"You can (have furloughs for public servants) or you start privatizing services and selling things off."

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) urged the Liberals to resist the temptation to privatize or cut.

"Every dollar spent in the public sector not only provides a service that people need, but also provides income that supports families, communities and local businesses," OPSEU vice-president Patricia Rout said in a statement Wednesday.

"The track record of privatization is one of higher costs, reduced services, poorer jobs and structural deficits," said Rout.


  1. Dalton "Titanic" McGuinty and Dwight "Hindenburg" Duncan have finally jumped the shark with their latest confessions. I wonder how many provincial Liberal ridings got stimulus cash? They both share the same boundries as their Federal cousins?

    In their haste to condemn the Conservatives the Federal Liberals forgot about Dalton McGuinty and all his doppelganger Liberal ridings in the Province of Ontario.

  2. "Despite the gloomy picture, Duncan emphasized that the Liberals would continue their focus on the big-ticket priorities of health-care and education."

    Well said Duncan, but I hope to goodness that the people of Ontario are not believing.

  3. News release from Toby Barrett;

    $24.7 B – how did things get so bad so fast?

    It’s official – Canada’s worst government is now running Canada’s worst deficit. In the wake of the billion dollar eHealth scandal, the McGuinty government has announced that Ontario’s 2009/2010 deficit may ring in at a record $24.7 billion.

    Last year Mr. McGuinty projected a half billion dollar deficit, but in March it skyrocketed to $14.1 billion. Now we hear $14 billion will almost double to $24.7. The McGuinty government’s addition to the debt will now stand at $65.2 billion bringing the total projected debt to $213.2 billion. Dalton’s debt translates into $13,500 on the backs of every single household in our great province, a massive new burden on families whose household finances are already stretched to the limit.

    How could things get so bad so fast?

    Quite simply, this government taxed and spent during the boom times and saved nothing for a rainy day, Even a squirrel is smart enough to save nuts for the lean times – this government lacks the foresight of a rodent.

    It was this government that imposed the so-called health tax, the largest income tax hike in Ontario's history, and are now planning to one-up themselves with the largest sales tax grab in the history of our province. As well, in its first year, the McGuinty regime jacked up business taxes -- taxes that killed jobs and crippled Ontario's competitive advantage.

    How can a government, which imposed new taxes so rapidly and so regularly, still manage to squander this revenue and amass the most debt in Ontario's history?

    The truth is Mr. McGuinty remains hard-wired to higher taxes and higher spending. In just six years, this government upped spending 60 per cent when the economy only grew by seven per cent. While middle-class families are paying higher income taxes, higher fees, higher auto insurance premiums and higher electricity bills, this government is living high on the hog.

    Mr. McGuinty does not have a revenue problem, Mr. McGuinty has a spending problem.

    In last week’s Fall Economic Statement, Finance Minister Duncan warned that the government’s $24.7 billion deficit will result in a Treasury Board review of services. Earlier in the week, at a joint meeting of the Empire and Canadian Clubs, Duncan admitted the deficit will mean, “difficult choices” for Ontario.

    So in the same month that we hear of the extent of the billion dollar e-Health scandal, and McGuinty’s million dollar a day addiction to consultant fees, we now hear the finance minister calling for a leaner and meaner government. That comes as cold comfort to those who have already lost their jobs, lost their government training programs, or are losing their hospital emergency rooms. McGuinty’s stampede to belt tightening will be far too little, far too late.

    Middle class families are forced to work longer and harder than ever, just to keep their heads above water, all the while, well-connected government-friendly consultants and insiders are getting rich on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of untendered contracts and sweetheart deals. Middle class families are seeing no results for their hard work beyond higher taxes and more of ‘Dalton’s Debt’.

    Clearly the McGuinty government has lost touch with the fact that government dollars are taxpayer dollars. And from what we read in this Fall Economic Statement, Mr. McGuinty now makes Bob Rae look like a fiscal conservative.

  4. "How did things get so bad so fast?"

    That's an easy question to answer and it doesn't take a politician to ask it either... Because nobody cares because it isn't on the broad spectrum radar.....really anyone that lost in their political leadership to believe that this representative will be anything more or less than he/she who will come after them in towing the party line to have Hudak look like a new 'messiah' of sorts?

    Spare me the rhetoric.

    At least the provincial elections offer individuals the opportunity to reject their right to vote for representation and have it counted as that. I personally think that the next ballot should provide voters with the option 'None of the above' to help take the guess work out of it for everyone while supporting the little known option to reject the rejects that will fill the ballot with their names begging for tax dollars to pave and pay their way while doing absolutely NOTHING.

    Next question please Mr. Barrett.........please make it better than the last. Thanks in advance.