If Ford and Kenney don’t deliver real fiscal conservatism, then no one will

by Anthony Furey

A funny thing happened in the Sun boardroom the other month. Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli stopped by to chat with the editorial board about the province’s finances and the budget that was at that time still being figured out.

While we pressed him to tell us when they’d bring the books back to balance, he declined to commit. Not in the first year. Not in the second, third or fourth years. The majority-wielding Progressive Conservative government under the leadership of Premier Doug Ford – the very people who had firmly criticized Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne for their fiscal misdeeds, the very people who had been chomping at the bit to tear apart the Ontario budget – refused to even hint at bringing the budget back to balance.

Afterwards, we stood around scratching our heads. Surely there was no way the Ontario PCs would allow themselves to let an entire term pass without getting the province out of red ink? Not only would it be a missed opportunity but it would go against the deeply help convictions of many of the caucus members and certainly party grassroots.

Maybe Fedeli was holding back for some grand reveal, to show their glorious pathway back to fiscal sanity. Yes, surely that must be it, we told ourselves. Then on Thursday we learned, nope, not really.

Doug Ford plans to run deficits for the entirety of his four-year term. This year’s deficit will be $10.3 billion and slowly decrease to $3.5 billion by year four. Only in the magical fifth year will there be a surplus of $300 million. Magical because there’s no guarantee Ford will even be re-elected to follow through on year five promises.

And as my colleague Lorrie Goldstein wrote from the budget lock-up: “Ford’s budget makes no serious effort to lower the province’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which many economic experts consider a more important measure of fiscal discipline, or lack of it, than deficits and debt.”

full story at https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/furey-if-ford-and-kenney-dont-deliver-real-fiscal-conservatism-then-no-one-will

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