Today's discussion:

Doug Ford’s disastrous budget

Given how little new money Ontario's new budget invests, there is minimal hope that spending restraint alone is a viable pathway to restore balanced budgets. Nor should we be optimistic that future economic growth can deliver the necessary revenue.

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Michael B

I departed Ontario over 30 years ago, so cannot comment directly on its current gov’t. What I will say is that Ontario does not have a monopoly on any of the issues presented in the article. Rapidly escalating housing costs, inflation, relatively high interest rates, inadequate infrastructure, unionised civil service personnel demanding exceptional wage increases, anemic economic growth, social service cost increases due to “newcomers”, deteriorating healthcare and education systems, divisive political posturing creating social divisiveness, a gradual breakdown of law and order, high taxes….
I’m not writing of Ontario. Pick a province, state or country. At least you don’t have farmers spraying liquid manure on gov’t buildings, yet.

28th March 2024 at 10:04 am
Kim Morton

It is not like Ontario is the only province to run massive deficits. That is the big problem with Ontario centric news, they think they are the center of the universe. For real debt problems, look to the disaster in BC, where an incompetent socialist government managed to turn a comfortable surplus into a massive deficit that our grandkids will be forced to pay for.

28th March 2024 at 9:31 am
Neil Beesley

I moved to what was then the Township of Etobicoke from West Toronto as a 9 year old in 1958; I lived there and worked there long enough to see it become first a Borough and then a City – before the Province of Ontario forced it to be swallowed by the gaping maw of the perpetually hungry and ever expanding Hog Town that is Toronto.

So I understand suburbanite, mercantile, tiny, tiny minds like that of Ontario Premier Tubby of Ford – who will NEVER actually “get it” or comprehend just what is going on!!! Par for the course; get over it and move on – pigs aren’t about to start flying, magically!!!

I have also personally met Dr. Paul Kershaw, spoken with him and heard him speak publicly; I joined his Generation Squeeze movement, because I am seriously concerned about the future for my Kids, Grandkids and their Kids yet to come in this vast and beautiful country and province that have given me so very much during my lifetime!!!

Premier Tubby doesn’t give a flying crap about any of that; his primary concerns are consuming ever increasing amounts of calories provided to him by his developer cronies and by paid lobbyists who suck up to him, and planning for the next “free” FordFest blowout to reward his stunned and mindless “base”!!! That and building useless and unnecessary superhighways to nowhere, that no one – other than Tubby and his brain dead caucus, want!!!

28th March 2024 at 8:31 am
Paul Attics

Your use of the insult ‘Premier Tubby’ only hurts your otherwise reasonable and contributing comment.

28th March 2024 at 8:43 am
Ian MacRae

Sadly, Boomers (including myself) are more consistant voters than younger Canadians. Therefore Doug will continue to favour us oldsters with budget goodies.

Collectively Ontarians need to agree 1) we need to pay higher taxes if we want all the stuff we get from the province or, 2) we decide what we can do without. We’re all adults, we need to be honest with ourselves.

28th March 2024 at 5:23 pm

Some of it is voting rates, and some of it is real demographics. Boomers are still a slightly larger part of the electorate than millennials, even though they are not a larger part of the adult population. (This is because non-citizens are overwhelmingly young.)

Boomers were also just a huge generation in a much younger country. When the last baby boomers became adults, they were more than 45% of the eligible voters by themselves, and the median person eligible to vote was around 40. Today the median person eligible to vote is around 50.

28th March 2024 at 7:27 pm
A. Chezzi

“All the bragging about gas tax relief in Ontario’s 2024 budget should make us laugh if it weren’t so sad. By the government’s own numbers,1 that tax cut saves about $10 per month for the typical household. ”
For a change, some plain truth. When most economists and environmentalist agree, the Con premiers are hot to trot to spread misinformation about the carbon tax without putting a plan forward. Poilievre and his friends are playing games and hurting Canadians while speaking about affordability. The way forward is not to deregulate and allow industry to pollute for the sake of making money. There is no quality of life when the citizens are struggling to breathe, fighting forest fires which have not gone out since last winter, or floods caused by deforestation. Facts are staring Con in the face and yet they refuse to give up on their ideology for the sake of money. Ford and friends have shown over and over that it is not the so called little guy they support but their own desire to prosper. Trusting Poilievre to solve Canada’s woes is unrealistic.

28th March 2024 at 8:29 am
Ian MacRae

“Carbon tax without putting a plan forward”

This assumes we need a climate plan. I suggest, and I think many Canadians agree, that Canada’s 1.6% contribution to global warming brings no obligation to take expensive, economy-damaging steps. For 2 decades, Canadians have told polsters they won’t spend more than $100/year to remedy climate.

PP will avoid announcing a climate plan to avoid giving JT a stick with which to beat him.

28th March 2024 at 5:14 pm
Paul Attics

As a typical engaged citizen, it is difficult to assess, let alone predict, the performance of leaders and their governments. Special interests (i.e., legal corruption), unpredictable events, partisan spin machines, available relevant data, and sheer complexity make it difficult to judge competency in an accurate/fair way. A voting citizen is left to piece together an assessment with far less than the ideal information.

Our electoral system, and democratic practices writ large, favor charismatic and confident leaders with simple and absolute answers to our incredibly complex problems. Celebrity makes them even more popular in these shallow popularity contests. This is great for getting elected but has very little bearing on doing the job. Without a past track record for competence, it is a crapshoot whether we get it.

Premier Doug Ford is clearly not competent enough. Like PM Trudeau and others, he is an ideal campaign candidate for the reasons listed previously but the citizens have lost the crapshoot on the competence in-office part. We need demonstrably competent LEADERS in these roles. It is far too late to discover that they are not competent enough after they are in office…although that does not seem to stop them from getting reelected, nor arguably competent leaders, like Premier Notley, not getting re-elected.

In short, Premier Ford’s ongoing poor performance should not be a surprise at this point.

* Note: Leadership competency is by no means the only important attribute. Scrupulous, intelligent, open-minded, empathetic, and ethical are a few others. However, leadership competency is a prerequisite for getting the right people, to get the rights things done well.

28th March 2024 at 8:24 am
Charan Hundal


28th March 2024 at 12:55 pm
Peter D.

What happened to fiscal conservatism? Doug Ford needs to read the history of Ralph Klein and cut unnecessary bureaucratic spending and resize the administrative class without changing government services.

28th March 2024 at 11:34 am

How would provinces’ housing plans change if they were forced to make fair comparisons about affordability? It’s hard to see it as a win if affordability is solely coming from smaller units. It’s far from obvious that tearing down single-family homes to build four-plexes is going to lead to lower prices once you account for size, especially compared to allowing (or in Ontario’s case forcing) some cities to expand to accommodate population growth. (If those four units are, say, coming from basement apartment and accessory units they might pencil out better. Most young people would not like it if politicians admitted the plan is for us to live in boomers’ basements, though!)

Density is less ensuring affordable housing than incompletely compensating for the costs of restricting sufficient land for the kinds of housing, mostly houses and townhouses, that previous generations enjoyed. It might have some environmental benefits, although it would be nice if governments were transparent about whether their housing policy is genuinely providing the benefits (like reducing driving) that it’s purported to rather than just taking it on faith than density is better. But it’s certainly unfair to young people (and other renters) to be solely responsible for making environmental sacrifices that existing homeowners were not expected to.

28th March 2024 at 8:51 am
Charan Hundal

No one leader has a pragmatic plan for housing affordability. Just talk and make announcements at every level of government. Everyone talks about Poverty and no solutions as yet. Need better education and social structure to improve the quality of life.

28th March 2024 at 1:01 pm
Chris Marquis

My comment is on the anti-semitism quote. How about more anti-genocide, anti-ethnic-cleansing, anti-offensive-war as well as anti-terrorism by ANYONE! Once the past victim indulges in any of these, he or she has lost the right to a discriminatory label like anti-semitic.

28th March 2024 at 11:24 am