There are signs that spring is really here. No, it’s not the lack of snow on the ground or the unusually mild temperatures we’ve had here in Ontario. It’s definitely not about the Leafs playing hockey beyond the regular season. My understanding is that’s when the Stanley Cup play-downs or playoffs or whatever the hell they call it begins. My memory fails me as I get older, and it’s hard to remember what hockey in the spring time is like in this city. It’s not about a new baseball season which begins in one week. No, it’s spring time because it’s budget time…isn’t that exciting boys and girls?
Our “Daddy Premier” in Ontario gave everyone some bad news this week, especially if you’re one of the 1.2 million public servants in this province. The Liberal government announced a wage freeze for all public servants, and they don’t mind biting the hand that voted for them. According to the Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, the government will legislate a wage freeze if one cannot be negotiated. There’s 4000 labour agreements in place today. This has job action, strikes, rallies and public demonstrations written all over it. The gauntlet may have been thrown down in the spring but this will carry forward and ensure a winter of discontent for us here in Ontario. Never mind that all the austerity measures are necessary, and that the minority Liberal government had no choice but to address the fiscal disaster which is the Ontario budget, the opposition will skewer the Liberals over this budget. That being said the Liberal government doesn’t believe the opposition has the stones to defeat the government over this budget, resulting in an election. This is a high stakes political game of chicken, and I suspect the Liberals are counting on the support of the NDP. I think a deal’s done already. The Liberals have changed their mind on reducing corporate income to tax to 10% by next year. The new budget states that corporate taxes will be frozen at 11.5% through 2017-2018. That’s reason to celebrate in NDP world, and it’s not as if the Liberal and NDP haven’t openly discussed being bed buddies in the past. Sure, those discussions have been at the federal level but I suspect their provincial siblings have taken note. The next part of the process is for the liberals to stand up and pat themselves on the back for being responsible and doing what’s necessary to fix the problems we have in Ontario. Really? That’s like an arsonist taking credit for helping to put out a fire he started.
I was reviewing all the cuts, wage freezes and cancelled programs when I came upon one initiative in the budget to increase revenue that made laugh out loud. The Liberal government plans on opening up 25 new and larger liquor stores in Ontario every year. Here’s what that means, “as a government we’re financially and morally bankrupt, we’re fiscally incompetent, we couldn’t organize a one car funeral…so come on Ontario…let’s get hammered”.
There’s another budget that we’ll be hearing about today, tomorrow and the day after and so on.
The Federal Budget will be introduced today, and there’s been a fair bit of speculation as to what it may contain. I’ll refrain from adding anything more to the speculation, and wait for the actual details before commenting any further. You may not be aware of this but Jim Murphy, CAAMP President, was invited to Ottawa by the Finance Department to participate in the budget lock-up process. These invited guests are sequestered in a room, and they get to review budget, spending plans, back ground papers and the actual speech before it’s delivered. It’s also an opportunity for Jim to speak to senior government officials who will also be present. It really is an honour for CAAMP, and Jim, to be invited to the sneak preview. For those of you who may have missed CAAMP’s most recent message about their government relations effort, I encourage you to watch the video below:
Until next time.