Lessons for Liberals from Ontario auditor report

The Liberal Party of Ontario is presumably engaged in a period of soul-searching.

What could we have possibly done to be reduced to non-party status in the Legislature? A mere seven seats.

What could have gone wrong?

Ungrateful voters were given free university, free drugs and all types of breaks, including magically reducing hydro costs by 25%. And more was to come by way of free daycare, if elected.

And it’s not as if they didn’t gloat about it. There was a lot of chest-thumping by way of spending tax money on advertising for political advantage.

In 2017/2018 the government spent more than $62 million on advertising, 30% according to the provincial Auditor General’s annual report tabled on Dec. 5 “was for advertisements we believe had as their primary objective to foster a positive impression of the governing party.”

In other words, your hard-earned cash was playing for more than $18 million in Liberal ads leading into the election.

So let me give you my two cents worth to help in the liberals’ soul-searching.

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk releases the 2018 annual report at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Wednesday, December 5, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

The AG’s annual report, a 770-page document divided in two volumes describes a power-hungry government led by Premier Kathleen Wynne that was spendthrift and whose reckless decision-making will likely mean decades to put us on a path to financial comfort.

The Wynne government stubbornly and without precedent changed accounting procedures to make the deficit artificially shrink. The AG, in her words for two years “was unable to give positive assurance to the Legislature and Ontarians that the state of finances of the Province was being fairly presented in the consolidated financial statements.”

Translation: there was no financial accountability for two years. I can’t think of any democracy that operates without independent financial accountability. It’s just not a thing you see.

There are many gems in the AG’s reports. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. For example, take the stairs in a building, if at all possible, because most elevators and escalators in Ontario are not safe and the situation is getting worse.

Maybe there’s a hidden nanny state message from Wynne that walking up stairs is better for your health, so do it. Why upkeep elevators? Don’t forget that her favourite motto is right there on her twitter account: “Run, don’t walk.” Wynne might want to add to that “Forgot the elevator, take the stairs.”

MARIN: Lessons for Liberals from Ontario auditor report