The Ontario liberal party is on spin cycle and you're forgiven if you feel dizzy.
To listen to Canada's most unpopular Premier spin today's most monstrous budget, Ontario is either the economic engine of the country, with unemployment at a 40-year low. Or it could be something else altogether.
It might be an $800-billion economy facing unprecedented challenges, precarious employment and a gender wage gap. A major jolt is required, along with six more years of deficits and higher taxes.
The same government was crowing about a balanced budget just a few weeks ago.
Fair Free Caring.
For the better part of the last year the government has been test driving all that is fair and free.
It's offered "The Fair Hydro Plan." This is a 25% one-year savings scheme built on a mountain of borrowing, with accounting so complex it's been described as "bogus" by the province's Auditor General.
Housing has also been the getting the fairness treatment, with a "Fair Housing Plan" (a foreign buyers tax and expanded rent controls.) It's worked wonders sinking the Toronto housing market.
Jobs must be fair! This government made it the law with the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act. Its measures included a 22% spike in the minimum wage. One month later the province experienced the single largest drop in part time jobs in Canadian history.
(If you need a job, get into the business of making red campaign signs.)
The Plan for Care and Opportunity
Fairness having run its course, 'caring' is now in vogue and today's budget offers the electorate a cure for every ill. There's a $2.1-billion mental health pledge, $2.2-billion for 'free' daycare , 'free' tuition, 'free' prescription drugs.
Free is lovely price point if you can manage to ignore that the province will bleed red until 2024. Income taxes are going up for millions of middle class voters, the same cohort already hit by a cap & trade program that makes it painful to drive or turn on the furnace. Ontario's largest polluters will continue enjoy their cap & trade holiday.
These are the Ontario Liberals. This is their last ditch attempt to win you over, again. They believe everything they say.