TORONTO - Maybe Finance Minister Vic Fedeli really has discovered what no one knew before: that Ontario’s real deficit numbers pointed to a sum of $15 Billion, not as his Liberal predecessor – who was it … seems so long ago - claimed. Or he was lulled into a stupor of mind-numbing indolence by the Legislature’s atmosphere when he was the Shadow Minister (Opposition Critic for Finance) during those “crime generating years” of the Wynne government.
Anyway, for those who were awake in the first half of 2018, citizens of Ontario delighted in a very public pre-election campaign between the Auditor General and that then Minister (his name will come to me… please wait) on this very topic. The campaign itself was all about “putting money IN our pocket” – and “taking [it] out of theirs”.
That ended three and a half months ago. But not for everyone.
Suddenly, on Friday, after three and a half months in office, Vic Fedeli and his trusted colleagues woke up to the fact that “jeez, government is serious business, how do we cope now?” Quick, blame the previous landlords for leaving the cupboards bare. Those crooks (who called them that?) in the previous government must be responsible!
They’re a convenient and easy target. Everyone is convinced that the Wynne and McGuinty Administrations were run by lying thieves. Every talk-show host and anglophone newspaper said so. Over, and over, and over – so it must be true. Let’s launch an investigation, said Premier Ford. Maybe the money will turn up. It must be somewhere.
Let’s check Wynne’s bank accounts. Does she have some offshore? What about her former Cabinet Ministers? Did they establish some Family Trusts or private Pension Funds to salt away the cash?
We’ll leave no stone unturned, Doug Ford reassures us. There are 15 years of rot and corruption to weed out. We’ll launch an Investigative Committee of MPPs.
Maybe the Minister for Correctional Services, who already walks around in a bullet-proof vest, can chair it. He used to be president and CEO of a company found guilty of defrauding investors of $39 million; however, he personally was exonerated on appealing a guilt verdict. His partner/Board members didn’t fare as well: fines and/or jail terms for them.
If that doesn’t work, maybe we can hire Stephen Harper as advisor. The former Prime Minister magically turned a $13 billion surplus and declining debt into a $55 billion deficit in one year! One gets the picture: there is a difference between bad decision-making and outright theft.
If Minister Fedeli and Premier Ford would have us believe that this is a question of the latter, why not call in the OPP? Or the Metro Police, instead? Maybe they can both grill Wynne. She is still an elected MPP. Maybe they can “break her” and she’ll confess. That way our MPPs won’t have to read the millions of pages of documents and balance sheets built up over the last 15 years in the 5-week timetable set up as a time frame for reporting. That way you can get the bad news out of the way before Christmas.
Speaking of 15 years, Vic, why announce that the operating expenses of the Province grew by 55% over that period? Oh my gosh, that’s a whopping 3.33% rate of growth average per year! Sarcasm kick in please! Over the same period, house prices, even adjusted for inflation rose by approximately 300%.
There’s some sort of plan unfolding Vic … tell us. Do you plan to cut service to the public or the number of civil servants, or both? Does it involve “taking money OUT of our pockets”?