Ontario, Canada’s biggest province and its economic engine just witnessed an extraordinary event. The day before Dwight Duncan the Finance Minister released his budget the Federal Minister, Jim Flaherty in an unprecedented stunt gave a news conference promoting the failed economic nostrums of a government he was part of,the Mike Harris Tories of late unlamented memory.
Flaherty who represents Whitby or WHITE_BY as some call it ( a white privileged community to the east of Toronto) never missed an opportunity to cut corporate taxes, beat up on the poor and give tax breaks to those who did not need them. While Harris and Flaherty held sway in Ontario the Common Good, one of the cardinal tenets of Catholic Social Teaching was trashed.
The Tories of the Seven Lean Years (1995-2002) eviscerated the public sector. We saw unprecedented line ups in hospitals, loved ones stacked in corridors, educational chaos, an extraordinary rise in tuition for students and utter disrespect for the poor.
Ontario’s well off received a cheap $200 rebate. The same amount put into public coffers would have ensured that every poast-secondary student would have free education—like the 15 European nations which guarantee this. Flaherty sold off the 407 highway for a paltry sum to balance his books and feed the corporate trough.
Ontario now has lost $16 billion every year in lost tax revenues because of Flaherty-Harris.We are terminally underfunded. The progressive tax system we had has been gutted.and now the arrogant Flaherty had the gall to suggest a drop in corporate taxes from 14% to 10 %.this would steal about $3 billion from state coffers.
While the Liberals slowly move toward this “Third Way” they still maintain a scintilla of the ameliorating role of the government in the lives of ordinary folks.