Onlookers in more fiscally stable regions might have sat back on the couch with a bowl of popcorn to chuckle as the results poured in.
“Will it be ‘Welcome to Hell: The Sequel’? or will they dodge the bullet?” they might have asked their spouses.
But when one province makes up more than a third of the country’s population, we’re all in this together.
For starters, if energy prices in Ontario continue to rise and jobs leave the province, that’ll impact the general economy.
People in Ontario will pay less federal tax, buy fewer domestic goods and cut back on vacations among other household spending.
Then there’s the more direct money drain of equalization payments. In 2009, Ontario became a “have-not” province. It takes out of the pot more than it puts in. For 2014-15, Ontario will get $2 billion.
Provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta, which have a greater median family income and lower debt per capita than Ontario, are paying for this.
We’re in trouble when Canada’s most populous province is on the “takers” list. Yet Ontario voters just gave the Liberals — who presided over Ontario’s negative turnaround — a four-year majority. Yikes.
To paraphrase the Iron Lady, sooner or later we’re going to run out of Alberta’s money.
Besides, the very people who think reducing our spending is wrong tend to be the same who think our resources sector should be shut down.
Even if the Toronto latte crowd is morally okay with turning Albertans upside down and shaking them for cash, they should at least understand that without resource extraction there won’t be any wealth to share.
Restraining spending and growing the economy is the only way to move forward together in these sluggish times. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne must bring Ontario back to black.
When Canada’s premiers met in 2013 it was in Ontario and Wynne chaired the meeting.
This August when they meet in PEI, someone like Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall needs to take the reins and teach these spendaholics how it’s done.
Ontario and the have-nots are simply endangering Canada’s future prosperity.