By Jim Romahn
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is waging a phoney war on the province’s budget deficit, and it’s hurting many of our neediest marginalized citizens.
He wants us to believe the deficit is the result of spending too much on social programs, so his administration has announced cuts to funding for children with autism, children battling cancer and in need of nutritional supplements that cost more than $400 a week, libraries, schools, conservation authorities, tree planting, etc., etc.
He would not be short of money if he had not cut taxes by $3.6 billion this year.
He would not be short of money if he raised taxes to a normal level – from about $10,400 per capita to what other provinces charge at about $12,400 per capita.
Ontario was already at the bottom among 10 provinces in spending on social programs, and at the bottom in per capita provincial taxes before Ford took office. That is according to the Financial Accountability Office.
Every time another budget cut is revealed, Ontarians need to remind themselves that this is a result of the Ford government’s failure to take responsibility, a failure of political courage to address the lack of revenues.
Cutting budget is not a sign of courage and toughness. It’s evidence of weakness.
More discouraging is the realization that the tax cuts go mainly to the wealthy among us, both individuals and corporations.
The Trudeau-government Liberals are also guilty of robbing from the poor to bless the rich.
There have been many cabinet ministers – and Trudeau himself – in Southwestern Ontario this spring to announce grants and loans to companies.
Why is money that could be helping needy people being squandered on corporations that pay inflated salaries to chief executives who ought to be among society’s most capable leaders?
Yes, we have deficits, but not because we are doing too much for the needy among us.
The writer is a veteran farm journalist based in Waterloo