PC Party ‘fake-news’ in your Inbox
Let’s get to the truth behind the latest batch of PC neo-con rubbish. 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. Here is a truth check on the latest Ontario Conservative ‘fake-news.’ The PC Party is entitled to their own opinion. They are just not entitled to make up their own facts.
- Tories claim that “Ontario has the highest electricity rates in North America”
- Wrong! 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. Actually, New England in the USA has North America’s highest electricity rates.
- 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 mortgage is a ‘housing tax.’ And your RRSP is a ‘retirement tax.’ The proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, now part of an enhanced and reformed Canada Pension Plan (CPP), is a savings plan that stays with a person throughout their working life. A responsible federal government and the provinces have agreed to reform the CPP to stay in step with the times. It would not have happened had not Ontario pledged to ‘go it along’ with the proposed Ontario Retirement Pension Plan. The Province 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.
- 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;
- Bob’s MPP Web Site: See the Links Page;
- On Energy: Start with the Ontario Ministry of Energy web site. Locally, see the Enersource web site for billing and local service issues.