Ontario Economy

Balanced budget for a strong Ontario


In mid-April, the Ontario PC Party proposed an Opposition Day motion (which was decisively defeated) on the debt that Ontario incurred while rebuilding the Province’s essential infrastructure in the years since the recession began. I spoke about the Ontario economy, and the moves that the Province has made to grow its GDP, and reduce the proportion of our GDP that is net debt.

Ontario is well on its way to being the Great Lakes Basin’s first trillion-dollar economy. Ontario’s current net debt to GDP ratio is lower than it was on the last day of the last government’s watch, and has been falling for years. Ontario’s budget is back in balance, right on schedule. Here is what I said about the Ontario economy.


Energy Policies

NDP ludicrous; Conservatives MIA

As we look at the critical area of energy policy, the contrast between Ontario’s evolution to sustainable, non-polluting energy policy, and the mess proposed by the NDP, and the utter vacuum of the Ontario PC Party could not be more stark. Let’s look at the opposition ideas on energy:

NDP: mind-numbing, ineffective waste

The centrepiece of the NDP’s energy policy is to utterly waste more than $8 billion in taxpayer’s money in a re-nationalization of the partly-privatized Hydro One. Such a move would be a wholesale diversion from such infrastructure projects as the re-development of Trillium Health Partners hospitals at the Credit Valley and Queensway sites; cancellation of the Highway 401 widening; and a standstill on public transit projects that keep Mississauga from being trapped in gridlock.

For a complete analysis of the NDP energy policy mess, click here.

Four-point PC Party energy boondoggle

Don’t look for an Ontario PC Party energy policy, plan or program anywhere. It doesn’t exist. Instead, look at what the PC Party has done in the past, and says it will do in the future in the Legislature. Here is the de-facto four-point Ontario PC Party energy program:

  1. Do Nothing. Run all energy-generation and transmission assets into the ground. Don’t invest. Don’t spend. It is what they did in government in the 1990s, and in the years prior to that;
  2. Burn coal. During the Harris-Eves years, the principal electricity generation added by the Conservatives came from burning dirty coal. By the end of the last term of the last PC government, some 25 percent of Ontario’s electricity came from burning coal. Each year, the Greater Toronto Area endured more than 50 smog-alert, dirty-air days;
  3. Buy expensive electricity on the U.S. spot market. When Ontario ran short of power during the Harris-Eves years, which it regularly did, the last Conservative government bought expensive electricity (more than $1.00 per kWh on the U.S. spot market), which it re-sold at a whopping loss at 4.3 cents per kWh);
  4. Blame the Liberals. When all else fails, and under the Conservatives with electricity, all else always fails, they turn to ideology and incendiary rhetoric, and just blame the Liberals.

Get the facts about energy in Ontario

 


Windsor

Meeting with Liberals in Windsor

It was a delightful reunion with my good friend, and former Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza, and members of the Riding Executives from Windsor-Tecumseh and Essex, in Ontario’s southwest. Business sometimes brings me to the Windsor area. It was good to spend an evening in conversation with key people in three ridings that were recently solidly Liberal.

I enjoyed hearing their perspectives and suggestions on what the Party might be doing differently, or better. We talked about what activities the three Riding Associations could do to enhance their chances in 2018.


The Agenda

Electricity in Ontario on TVO

Bob on TVO

Ontario Parliamentary Assistant to Energy Bob Delaney dismantles PC and NDP energy critics and explains the Province’s price reductions on electricity on TV Ontario in March 2017.

Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney knows TV Ontario’s host of The Agenda, Steve Paikin, best as a backchecking hockey player who protects his goalie (which is Bob). On March 2, 2017, Bob appeared on The Agenda to talk about electricity in Ontario with the energy critics of the PC and NDP parties. It wasn’t even close. Watch Bob handle both critics and discuss Ontario’s price reduction on electricity.

Ontario has bought tomorrow’s electricity system, paid for it with yesterday’s money, and financed it at rates close to zero. The rest of the world is scrambling to catch up, seeing its own electricity prices rise faster than ours in Ontario, and needs to buy today’s electricity system, pay for it with tomorrow’s money, and finance it at interest rates that are on their way up.


Membership Renewal

Join your Liberal Party Riding Association

The Mississauga-Streetsville Provincial Liberal Association is looking for a few energetic people who want to help us shape Ontario’s future to join us on the Mississauga-Streetsville Provincial Liberal Association Riding Association Executive.

Together, we organize Liberal political life in northwest Mississauga. Want to see what we do? Click here. When you get right down to it, our Riding Association team has won four consecutive elections together, become good friends, and continue to have a lot of fun doing it.

Interested? Call Riding President Tom Lewis at (289) 929-4881.

This is a good time to renew your Ontario Liberal Party membership. You can renew on-line now. Click here. The Riding Association hosts regular events through the calendar year. Be a part of it. See the Events Page on this web site. Become a Mississauga-Streetsville Liberal. Read more.


Intolerance

Celebrating our diverse neighbours

From a regular festival of our many and diverse neighbours, to resolutions passed by the City of Mississauga, the Province of Ontario and in Parliament, to the annual Family Day Walkathon to raise money for the Trillium Health Partners hospital sites, the families of Mississauga have made statements to celebrate their unity during 2017.

See also Bob Delaney’s MPP web site for more.


Tax Receipts 2016

When donations come home again

The Ontario Liberal Party’s most significant task in the year’s first two months is to issue its annual income tax receipts. You will receive your income receipts for donations you made in 2016 during February of 2017.

If you have not received a 2016 income tax receipt for an ABC membership or for a contribution you made in 2016 by the end of February of 2017, first call the Ontario Liberal Party at (416) 961-3800. If they have not resolved things, please leave a message for our Mississauga-Streetsville Treasurer, Rob Bezaire at (905) 542-3725.

Donating to Bob’s re-election

Find out how Ontario political contributions work. It takes money. It takes good people. We need them both.


Happy New Year 2017

Warm New Year wishes to our neighbours

t’s the time of year to give thanks for our blessings, great and small. The smallest blessings tend to be the most important: family and friends; health and peace; a chance to make a living and a life in a prosperous corner of the planet we call Ontario.

Bob Delaney's 2016 Christmas card photo

Happy New Year! We took our 2016 Christmas card picture in October in our back yard gazebo.

Andrea and I – and indeed our cats, Merlin and Bébé – extend our warmest wishes at Christmas time to one and all in Lisgar, Meadowvale and Streetsville. Whatever the problems of the past, and the challenges of the future, Christmas is a time for living in the here and now. Christmas carols, classic old movies, cards and turkey dinner, the holiday family legends, the anticipation of Christmas morning, and the gifts we give and receive, however small: these are part of what makes the Christmas season special.

As one who was single a long time, through living in four cities in three provinces, I have always been sensitive to helping people avoid being alone on Christmas Day. Remember to reach out to friends and acquaintances whose day would be special if only they spent some of it with you.

Thank you to all our Mississauga-Streetsville Provincial Liberal Association members, and to all our friends and supporters who have worked with us through more than 13 years, and four successful elections. It remains a pleasure, a privilege, and the career opportunity of my working life to represent our neighbourhoods at Queen’s Park, and to work on the projects that make a difference to us in western Mississauga. This coming spring, one of the projects on which I have worked, literally since the week after my first election, comes to fruition with the opening of three new centres for ErinoakKids: the headquarters in Mississauga, and new, state-of-the-art facilities in Brampton and Oakville as well.

Come for a New Year skate

During the autumn and winter, we host free family skates. In December, we all got out for some exercise at Meadowvale. On January 15, it was time for our annual New Year family skate at Vic Johnston Arena in Streetsville.

Sharpen your skates. Don’t want to spend all Sunday watching TV? Come for a free skate at Vic Johnston Arena with Mississauga-Streetsville MPP Bob Delaney. Free coffee and hot chocolate. Bring a donation for the Eden Food Bank, and brighten up the start of someone’s new year.

Please circle the date: Sunday January 15, 2017, at Vic Johnston Arena in Streetsville from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. For more information:

Bring a donation of non-perishable food for the Eden Community Food Bank, and come out for some exercise. Brush up on your skating, and have a chat with me on the rink. Happy New Year, and all the best for Canada’s – and Ontario’s – 150th anniversary of Confederation.

New web site!

Notice the new look and feel of the Riding Association web site?

Back in 1998, our Riding Association was one of the first in Canada to have its own web site and domain name. I did that one on Microsoft FrontPage. Shortly after my election in 2003, I upgraded it to a second generation web site. FrontPage software was old technology, and I used Microsoft’s new .Net technology and adopted a much-improved user interface. That web site saw us through the 2007 election and up to the threshold of the 2011 election.

At Easter of 2011, I put into practice what I had been reading about in my programming books, and designed a much-improved user interface. By the end of Easter week, it was up and running. My design was robust enough to see us through the 2011 and 2014 elections. But that third-version web site did not scale well into tablets and handheld (i.e. phone-based) browsers, which by 2013, accounted for more than half the views of web sites. It was time for a fourth version of the Riding Association web site.

This new website uses a piece of web software that is far and away the most widely used web site content management system on the world-wide web. It is called WordPress. The hard part was to make a piece of software that I did not write do the things I managed to make the last version (that I did write) do. There is still content to add, and functionality to implement. It is coming along fairly well. Christmas time and July are my annual time to brush up on my web developent skills.

The new site allows much easier use of pictures than the old site. It also allows Riding Association members to comment on posts, something the last version did not, largely because I did not know how to program that capability. It lets you stay advised of Ontario Liberal events and news. E-mail me if you’d like to have your name added to our distribution list. We need your first name; last name; and e-mail address. As our Riding Association manages all e-mails, occasional really does mean occasional, and not incessant. As well, we neithe share nor transfer any information about you to anyone else.

Explore the new web site. Please send along any suggestions, and add yourself to our keep advised list.


PC bafflegab 1

Behind the PC Party ‘fake-news’

Over lunch or at the water cooler, there is always a neo-con big-mouth who has bought the right-wing malarkey hook, line and sinker. I took some notes as I returned a few phone calls in recent weeks, and thought I would share the essence of the discussion on such topics as electricity rates; business; manufacturing; debt and pensions. Enjoy.

The Ontario Progressive Conservative opposition has blown four straight elections with a continuing litany of utter nonsense completely at odds with common sense, reality, and usually truth as well. Let’s look at the latest collection of rhetorical rubbish masquerading as Conservative policy. The PC Party is entitled to their own opinion. They are just not entitled to make up their own facts. And they do. Often.

Tories claim that “Ontario has the highest electricity rates in North America”
Wrong! The highest electricity prices in North America are in the New England states in the USA. Industrial power rates in Northern Ontario are among the lowest in Canada, and lower than 45 American states. The rates in Southern Ontario are lower than Michigan, Wisconsin and New Jersey and in-line with Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and  Minnesota. Ontario’s residential electricity rates are higher than in Manitoba and Quebec. Both of those provinces generate virtually all their electricity from existing hydroelectric plants long ago built and paid for. Both provinces have hydro electricity generating capacity well in excess of their own needs. Ontario has almost no remaining untapped hydro capacity. Ontario residential power rates are, however, lower than, or close to, the surrounding U.S. states. The U.S. states with expanding populations and economies, like Ontario, face the reality of replacing greenhouse gas emitting coal-fired plants with green energy, and refurbishing their nuclear reactors to extend their lifetime. Ontario is way ahead of our neighbouring U.S. states in renewing power generation. In essence, Ontario has paid for the same projects that U.S. states have not begun with yesterday’s money at near-zero interest rates. Our neighbouring U.S. states
are a decade behind us.
Conservatives like to claim that “Ontario businesses are struggling with red tape”
Wrong! In the Canadian Federation of Businesses’  2015 Red Tape Report
Card
,
Ontario received a rating of B+, tied for the second highest mark in the country. The truth of regulations in Ontario is that for every new regulation an Ontario Ministry proposes to generate, it must eliminate at least two others.
The Ontario Tories claim “Ontario is losing manufacturing jobs”
Wrong! Try singing that song in Meadowvale, home of the renaissance of Ontario advanced manufacturing. Since spring 2015, Ontario has gained more than 13,000 net new manufacturing jobs. Who says so? Statistics Canada, Table 282-008 – Labour force survey estimates (LFS), employment by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), seasonally adjusted and unadjusted, monthly (persons). In fact, Ontario’s manufacturing sector is leading Canada in growth while western Canada’s
resource economy languishes in low commodity prices.
Ontario Conservatives say “Ontario is faced with runaway debt”
Wrong! Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio is roughly the equivalent of looking at how much a family owes compared to how much it earns. Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio is about 39 percent. France’s debt-to-GDP ratio is 84 percent. Germany: 57 percent; Japan: 134 percent; South Korea: 32 percent; South Africa: 36 percent; the UK: 83 percent; USA: 88 percent. Canadian families average carry 160 percent of debt-to-income. Ontario did borrow a lot of money to get through the recession. There was a neo-con option: not borrowing the money. The USA largely took that option. It would have cost Ontario the auto industry; all the Province’s infrastructure renewal; and economists estimate between half a million and a million jobs. Now, Ontario has a lot of the state-of-the-art infrastructure that other jurisdictions put off to the future, and paid for with yesterday’s money at near-zero interest rates. And Ontario emerged from the recession more than three full years ahead of the United States. Borrowing and sensibly investing the money succeeded in growing the Ontario economy while other jurisdictions shrank, keeping the Province’s debt affordable.
The Tory mantra is that “pension reform is a payroll tax”
Baloney! By that reckoning, your home mortgage is a ‘housing tax.’ And your RRSP is a ‘retirement tax.’ The proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, which is now a reformed Canada Pension Plan, is a savings plan that stays with you, and moves with you as your career progresses, just like the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) currently does. The federal government and the provinces agreed to reform the CPP to stay in step with the times. Ontario won’t let working families in the early and middle parts of their career see poverty become inevitable after they retire. See my MPP web site for more details.

If a statement sounds outrageous…

Most intelligent people have pretty good ‘nonsense meters.’ Yet in politics, some of the most outrageous claims don’t get subjected to rigorous reality checks. For example, repeatedly in Question Period at Queen’s Park, both opposition parties repeatedly, and falsely, assert that, for example, local distribution companies and Hydro One can unilaterally raise its electricity rates. Despite even Hydro One’s Preliminary Prospectus contradicting both opposition parties, the patently false claims continue.

Residents sometimes tell me similar patently false claims. I ask where they had heard such nonsense. The answers range from chain e-mails to Facebook comments to talk radio. People ask where they should go to find the truth.

Credible sources:

  • Ontario: The Province has an official web site. It is a great place to start your research check out www.ontario.ca, which is the official Government of Ontario web site. From there, you can link to every Ministry within the government. Also see the Links Page on Bob’s MPP web site.
  • On Energy: Start with the Ontario Ministry of Energy web site. Locally, see the Enersource web site for billing and local service issues.

PC Jobs Cuts

A PC austerity plan that is a global failure

Ontario PCs still want to make living wages into minimum wages! If there was anything sillier than the Ontario PC comic-book platform in 2011, the Tea-Party Ontario Tories certainly found it in the last election, with a list of draconian cuts to programs and services that Ontarians want, like and need. Equating their signature policy with a ‘million jobs’ while providing no numbers and costing whatsoever, the Ontario PCs’ principal idea is to repeat a series of economic mistakes that have:

  • Failed utterly in the United States, and kept Americans from recovering the jobs they lost during the 2008-09 recession for six full years (Ontario had recovered its own lost recession jobs by spring 2011);
  • Driven the European Union into a sustained and stubborn recession, and countries within it to the brink of bankruptcy;
  • Even the Baltic states have found that no economically stagnant jurisdiction can (or has ever) cut its way to prosperity.

The Ontario PCs, and anyone considering becoming one, ought to read a 2013 book called Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth, Professor of International Political Economy at Brown University in the USA. The Ontario PCs remain committed to the deliberate deflation of wages (prices are set by markets) through cuts to public spending. Ontario PCs believe that slashing spending will spur private investment. Says Professor Blyth, “The results of the experiment are now in, and they are equally consistent: austerity doesn’t work.”

Concludes Professor Blyth: “The only surprise is that any of this should come as a surprise.” Cutting government spending in economies that are interlinked means taking money out of circulation at a time when corporations are not putting accumulated profits into the economy either. Every country and jurisdiction that has enacted policies of austerity has ended up with more debt than when it started, and less prosperity as a result.

Austerity is an easy concept to grasp (you can’t cure debt with more debt), even though it is dead wrong. The effects of austerity are felt disproportionately by low-income and middle-class families. And how can both businesses and government cut their way to prosperity at the same time? If nobody with money is spending, then how can everyone else earn, save or borrow?

Ontario PC plan to cut, cut, cut

The Ontario PC silly plan was actually introduced in the Ontario Legislature in 2014, by former PC leader Tim Hudak. He couldn’t sell it there. Even in a minority government (which means majority opposition), the PC bill was defeated. Then they tried it again through the back door, as an opposition day motion. It lost a second time.

That’s the thing about right-wing ideology. When people have told you a dumb idea is a dumb idea, Conservatives think that if you sharpen and purify the ideology more, it will somehow turn into a good idea. In the 2014 election, Ontario PCs tried the same bad idea for a third time! It was still rubbish, and voters saw straight through it.

The Ontario PC million lost jobs act is actually a compendium of job cuts, not jobs created.

  • Without any merit, the Tea-Party Tories remain devoted to killing Ontario’s green economy, a sector that generates and sustains 30,000 world-class jobs today, and produced about four percent of Ontario’s electricity;
  • Ontario PCs still plan to leave billions on the table by enacting tax cuts nobody has asked for to benefit large and profitable corporations and wealthy individuals. The truth is that in Ontario, businesses benefit from the lowest overall tax ‘burden’ anywhere in the industrial heartland of North America;
  • The Tea Party Tories plan to return to the very same regulations-cuts that brought us seven dead people in Walkerton, and a tainted meat scandal, in their last eight lost years in government;
  • The Tea Party Tories intend to prevent skilled trades from being able to implement the type of self-regulation, professional development and education that other professions have by killing the Ontario College of Trades;
  • The Tories think that one-off trade deals with individual provinces are better than a comprehensive interprovincial trade framework that the last two Premiers have worked on. They simply ignore the largest interprovincial trade partnership in Canada (between Ontario and Quebec);
  • If you thought the federal scheme on temporary foreign workers was unfair to Canadians and to those workers themselves, then be aware that Ontario PCs plan to use the same failed idea to bring down wages in Ontario.

That’s the plan the Ontario Tories have twice tried and failed to sell in the Legislature, and the plan that lost them the 2014 election. There is no job creation in it. Calling it a ‘fill-in-the-number’ jobs plan is nothing more than a cheap slogan. There are no jobs, no costing, no basis, and no numbers. It is for the right-wing ideologically-faithful who will close their eyes, grit their teeth and just believe anything. It is proven-dumb economics, and has failed everywhere in the world that those shopworn, ideologically-driven ideas have been tried.

Ontario Budget a real alternative

The Ontario Budget the PCs refused to read before opposing it actually offers real hope for Ontario’s economy, Ontario’s job-seekers, Ontario’s young people and Ontario’s businesses. It is also a well-written, well-illustrated and interesting read. If you have an Apple, Android or Windows tablet computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader installed, you can get your free copy of the Ontario Budget for 2016-17 by clicking the link at left.

Despite what the Ontario PCs say, Ontario has recovered twice the number of jobs the Province lost during the recession, and is Canada’s leader in jobs creation. Ontario is clearly and easily Canada’s number one destination for overseas investment. In North America, no state or province now attracts more foreign investment capital than does Ontario.

Ontario has lowered taxes on businesses since 2003, and has the lowest overall tax ‘burden’ in the industrial heartland of North America. Investment in Ontario’s schools, colleges and universities has been a powerful tool in attracting job-creators to come to Ontario and stay in Ontario. The Ontario PCs have dropped the pretence and nuance. The PCs would return to fighting with teachers and cutting education budgets.