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Things could be worse; but that doesn’t make it good

Published in the Toronto Sun

1 October 2017

Re: “Things could be worse,” (Omar Khan, Toronto Sun, September 25): Yes Mr. Khan, facts do matter and I’m glad that you pointed out that Ontario is the most indebted sub-sovereign jurisdiction. That fact does matter, even if Ontario’s fiscal and economic situation could be worse.

However, I still don’t think there is any reason to celebrate that fact, just as it’s not a great moment in fiscal management that federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s most recent budget came in $5.2 billion under his original forecast. That’s like your doctor saying, “The good news is we only have to amputate 5 of your frostbitten fingers instead of all 10.”

Happy days are here again!



Here is the original article that prompted this editorial:


Omar Khan, Guest Columnist

Don’t believe the naysayers. Ontario is doing quite well under Kathleen Wynne.

Most readers won’t be shocked to hear that the Ontario Liberal Party trails in most public opinion polls.

This is true. But why?

I would argue that it’s due, at least in part, to the fact that negativity sells.

Some firebrand columnists would have us believe that Queen’s Park is driving away jobs and impoverishing scores of working families. They would argue that Ontario Liberal policies are leading to something akin to the onset of a second Bolshevik revolution.

This hypothesis, however, doesn’t stand up to any objective analysis of facts.

Here are some worth pondering.

For the past three years, Ontario led all G7 nations in economic growth. This growth has led to increased government revenue that has given the Liberals enough flexibility to invest in programs like free tuition, pharmacare and energy price relief.

The economic growth has also translated into 760,000 new jobs since the last recession, and almost 366,000 jobs since Wynne became premier. This has driven the provincial unemployment rate down to 5.7% and has kept it below the national average for two and a half years. Ontario’s unemployment rate today is lower than it was under the supposedly business friendly governments of Mike Harris and Ernie Eves.

Some of this positive economic news can be attributed to global economic trends and federal policy decisions. Much of it, however, flows directly from specific policy decisions of the Wynne government.

For example, back in 2013, Premier Wynne, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and then Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment Eric Hoskins moved to create Ontario’s first-ever Jobs and Prosperity Fund to help secure private sector investments by allowing the government to partner with businesses to bring jobs to Ontario. Since its creation, this fund has doled out over $620 million to 25 private sector projects, leveraging $7.1 billion worth of new investments and creating 35,000 jobs.

These are real jobs for real people.

In Guelph, for example, auto parts maker Linamar was awarded a grant of $50.25 million in 2015 to support an investment commitment of $506.8 million. This enables the company to develop and produce components for the next generation of fuel-efficient cars and capture a growing share of the North American automotive market. The project will create 1,200 jobs over the next 10 years.

Furthermore, we know that infrastructure spending also adds fuel to economic growth. Apart from creating jobs, it increases the economic productivity. Under Premier Wynne, Ontario will see $190 billion in infrastructure investments that is supporting the creation of 125,000 jobs each year.

None of this means that all is hunky dory. Ontario remains the most indebted sub sovereign jurisdiction in the world. Economic growth remains uneven both regionally and amongst different socioeconomic groups. Sky high electricity rates, especially in northern Ontario, continue to hamper growth and cost jobs.

There is more to do to ensure that all Ontarians are able to benefit from a red hot economy.

But we cannot ignore the successes of recent years. We cannot take the doom and gloom of the naysayers at face value. Facts, do indeed, matter.

Omar Khan served as Chief of Staff to several Ontario Liberal cabinet ministers, including the Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. He is currently a Vice President for Public Affairs at Hill+Knowlton Strategies in Toronto and serves on the Ontario Liberal Party campaign steering committee. 


About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/things-could-be-worse-but-that-doesnt-make-it-good/

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