A post going around social media asks those who are bellyaching about Premier Doug Ford’s recent spending cuts where the heck they were when Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals were bankrupting the Ontario government. Except the word it uses isn’t heck.
It’s an excellent question. The answer is clear: They were nowhere. They were utterly silent as, year after year, the Liberals spent billions more than they took in and ran the province on a credit card. No, it’s worse than that. They egged them on. What the Liberals spent was never enough for them.
No matter how many times Ms. Wynne and her crew opened the public purse, they always wanted more. More for public transit, more for housing, more for hospitals, more for daycare, more for teachers. When Queen’s Park spent millions, they yearned for ten of millions; when it spent tens, they cried for hundreds.
They said not a word about how the debt that Ontario was piling up would weigh on future generations, not a syllable about how the interest on that debt was already eating into what the government could spend on urgent public needs. They stood by, hands covering their eyes, as what was once the solid citizen of Confederation built up a high-roller’s tab of nearly $350-billion.
That’s a third of the way to a trillion, for those keeping score at home. It is the second-highest debt, measured by proportion of GDP, in the whole country, trailing only Newfoundland. Even Quebec is in better shape.