In the fall Ontario economic statement, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said, we must “control spending in a rational way.” How has the Ontario Legislature controlled spending?
1) The Niagara Health System recently opened a new hospital in St. Catharines. This facility amalgamates six health care sites:
- Douglas Memorial Site in Fort Erie
- Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls
- Niagara-on-the-Lake Site
- Port Colborne Site
- St. Catherines Site
- Welland Site.
The final bill for the new St. Catharines hospital is pegged at $1.56 Billion. The Niagara Region (with the blessing of the Ministry of Health) now proposes to build another hospital in south Niagara. Given that the St. Kitts facility was built to replace the region’s six facilities, why do they now want to build another hospital? Is this an absolutely essential, core, can’t-survive-without proposal?
After reading “Ontario residents never-ending wait list to blindness,” by Sun Media’s Christina Blizzard we have to ask: do we put too much emphasis on new, sexy buildings instead of actual essential, core care/services?
2) The Ministry of Health has allocated $2.5 million taxpayer dollars for “breastfeeding support.” Is this an absolutely essential, core, can’t-survive-without program?
Doesn’t your friendly nurses’ station at your physician’s office already have a wealth of information on this topic?
3) The Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities plans to spend $800-million on college and university “infrastructure.” (NB: how all-encompassing this word has become for governments.) Are Laurentian University’s School of Architecture and Sir Sanford Fleming College’s Kawartha Trade’s and Technology Centre absolutely essential, core, can’t-survive-without buildings?
Investments in essential, core infrastructure, such as roads, storm water and waste water systems, bridges and the electrical grid are good, but these investments must be affordable.
The province wishes to make it unlawful for the Ontario Legislature not to have “five or ten year infrastructure blueprints.” What about making it illegal to have a debt-to-GDP ratio greater than 25%? The current ratio is 37%. To his credit Minister Sousa said the legislature will, “work to reduce the net debt-to-GDP ratio to its pre-recession level of 27 per cent.”
This was the only reference to the Ontario debt.
If the legislature continues to overspend on non-essential, non-core projects and programs we may eventually get to an “aspiration future,” as stated by a government MPP, but it will require all Ontarians to take aspirin to prevent a heart attack from carrying the weight of the massive Ontario debt.