The most populated province in Canada has a severe debt problem. Over the last 30 years, it has managed to rack up an astounding $325 billion tab, with almost $100 billion of it being added in the previous seven years.
In comparison, California, a heavily indebted American state with almost three times Ontario’s population has a debt of roughly $465 billion. The debt is so large that it surpasses the GDP of 75
As comedically broken down by the National Post, it would take Drake more than 2000 years to pay off that debt.
As a result of countless years of deficit spending and our inability to clone Drake, paying interest on that debt now represents the fourth most substantial portion in the Ontario government’s budget.
It cost taxpayers $12.5 billion in 2018 alone.
For the quite sometime pundits, accountability watchdogs, credit agencies, think-tanks, and NGOs have all voiced their concerns in regards to the consistently expanding debt pile. Interestingly, it seems Ontario’s new PC government actually intends to reverse the province’s descent into never-ending interest payments.
According to Ontario’s finance minister Vic Fedeli, $1 billion in higher sales and income tax revenues have already pushed the province’s deficit down to $13.5 billion.
Ontario’s financial accountability officer has said the deficit is actually about $2.5 billion lower.
None the less, that means there is somewhere between $12.5-$13.5 billion in savings the province will need to find before they can start to pay back the actual principal itself.
If you are wondering just how big that deficit is when it comes relative size, here is an interesting fact, the entire province’s revenue for 2018-2019 was projected to be $152.5 billion. The remaining deficit represents almost 10% of the government’s entire annual budget.
Realistically fixing that wide of a budget deficit won’t be easy, as cuts to public services or contracts normally affect the least well off within society.
Already the province has announced 3,475 teaching positions will be cut in order to save $851 million, as well as potential look into finding savings in the provinces largest expense area, healthcare.
Here is the worrying part, this is all likely just the beginning. Normally fixing a provinces financial mess comes partially from taxes paid by the business elite, and partially from citizens themselves in the form of service cuts.
At this moment, Ontario’s business environment remains so noncompetitive globally that new taxes or regulations would likely only make the financial problem worse. For example, when you look at the combined total tax rate for Ontarians in the higher brackets, it stands as the second highest in North America, according to the Fraser Institute.
While these institutional constraints exist, there are even more worrying forces that will radically challenge Ontarians, namely technological change.
A 2018 RBC report claims. automation will likely affect over half of the Canadian job market in the next decade.
That kind of rapid on-set disruption is not likely to provide a smooth base to build economic growth. As a result, governments may have to invest drastically in order to modernize and compete. In that rapidly changing world, Ontario could be left short-handed due to its gargantuan debt. Which I suppose brings us back to why cuts may be just the beginning.
If over the next decade the government must make massive cuts, while also investing immense amounts to modernize, the results will likely be an extended period of austerity, especially in the public service sector.
Now, this sounds horrific, and for most, it may them into giving up on any real plan to fix the mess. But the ultimate truth is, that like any severe addiction, the problem cannot be fixed until it is declared, and the patient chooses to go to rehab.
Ontario’s debt is an addiction built quintessentially of the premise that future generations will pay the sobering and painful come down. At some point, citizens will have to bite the bullet and pay for their consumption, or else risk throwing away the future of their children.
What do you think about Ontario’s debt? Join the conversation by commenting below!
Jack Moon, 33, died in a car accident just days after he had lost his house to a fire. The car accident was part of a multi-vehicle pileup on Highway 401 near Brockville.
He was the sole person to lose their life in Wednesday’s crash that came during a blizzard. He was identified by a family member and the OPP.
OPP told the Kingstonist that the collision happened near Brockville and was one of a total of 22 passenger vehicles damaged.
There have been a series of accidents along the highway between the Napanee and Brockville area. A separate thirty car pile-up happened near Napanee earlier this week. Fortunately, there were no fatalities.
Moon leaves behind his three children as well as another child yet to be born with his partner Krystiannah Summers.
Global News had interviewed Moon after his home was destroyed by the fire that killed two pets and left him and his family homeless on Dec. 2.
Krystiannah’s sister, Aisha Summers started a GoFundMe page with hopes to raise money for the Moon family. The Kingston community was quick to rally behind the family with donations. The page also confirmed Moon’s death
Moon’s Facebook page revealed that he travelled to Ottawa on Wednesday to get a passport. It is presumed he was returning to Kingston when the accident occurred.
The OPP is advising everyone to drive with caution over the holidays.
A raccoon was spotted on a city bus in London, Ontario last night around 8 pm. One passenger was able to snap a picture of the along route 19 in the Masonville area.
The LTC replied to the tweet saying,
No one quite knows how the little guy managed to board the bus and the LTC has yet to comment.
Word on the street is after failing to present a valid ticket he was asked to leave, begrudgingly he waddled off muttering something about the LTC.
Four Ontario men have been arrested for vandalizing a memorial plaque that commemorates the École Politechnique massacre according to CityNews.
The vandalism comes a week after the 30th anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 women.
Arrested are Ahmed Sido, 20, Muhammed Nanaa, 19, Abduallah Al-Mosuli, 21, and Adnan Noumayri, 18.
The plaque was vandalized on December 3rd according to police. The plaque is located in the lobby of Scarborough’s Centre for Alternative Studies. The Centre is on Midland Avenue near Danforth Road. The plaque was vandalized with misogynistic slurs and damaged.
The following day police managed to arrest three of the four perpetrators, the fourth being arrested a day later on Dec. 5.
They have all been charged with mischief under $5000. All four are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 14, 2020.
The vandalism comes a week after the 30th anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 women.
The Environment Minister is closing a $200 million project by Nation Rise Wind Farm near Finch, Ontario. The Stormont County town windmill project was nearly complete with many of the planned 29 turbines already constructed. That came to an abrupt halt on Monday when Minister Jeff Yurek revoked the approval, citing a threat to the local bat population.
Several of the turbines were ready to begin generating power and the project had been previously approved by the Environmental Review Tribunal. Nation Rise Wind Farm is a subsidiary of the multinational EDP Renewables, their North American headquarters is in Texas.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” Yurek said in a press release. “While I agree with most of the conclusions of the tribunal, I disagree with the tribunal’s conclusions with respect to the degree of harm that will be caused to local bat species by the project.
“I am therefore altering the tribunal’s decision based on my conclusion that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to bats, and I revoke the approval.”
The Environmental Tribunal held weeks-long hearings to look at objections to the project that covered a range of issues. It’s been a rather divisive issue in the community and the township has twice voted against being a “willing host” for the project.
There are a variety of reasons people complain about wind turbines in their community. The eye sore, the claim that vibrations caused by them bring on migraines, the price of real estate drops instantly and as well the effects on the local wildlife.
Yurek decision came seven months into the projects construction, telling EDP Renewables that he had the authority to “confirm, alter or revoke” the Environmental Review Tribunal’s approval, “as I consider in the public interest.” His reasoning was also based on the potential harm to the wildlife “in the context of the minimal contribution the project is likely to have on the electricity supply in Ontario.”
The tribunal had ruled such risks to the various bat populations were negligible.
“I am therefore altering the tribunal’s decision based on my conclusion that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to bats, and I revoke the approval.” said Yurek.
The colonies of bats include big brown bats, hoary bats and little brown bats, which are on the Species at Risk Ontario List. The fear is that the bats will fly into the turbine blades. Yurek admits that one while one can’t know the full extent of the harm, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
“This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow,” said Maragret Benke in a statement. a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. The group appealed the approval and reached out to the Minister for help.
In a statement provided to the Standard-Freeholder, EDP wrote. “This unprecedented decision means the (approval) that was issued by the minister’s own staff, defended by ministry legal counsel and subsequently ratified by the Environmental Review Tribunal is no longer in effect,” reads a statement from the company. “Decisions of this nature should be based on science and law, yet there was no expert testimony or evidence presented at the tribunal or to the minister that would provide a reasonable rationale for the minister’s decision.”
The issue of what risk the wind farm poses to bat populations was discussed at length during tribunal hearings held in Finch, in August of 2018.
“This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow,” said Maragret Benke, a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. The group appealed the approval and reached out to the Minister for help.