by Colin Creasey
If it wasn’t bad enough that the Ford government reveals the shallowness of its thinking with a budget that focuses on booze, gambling, and tailgating, it now adds insult to injury by spending millions of dollars of taxpayer money on political advertizing regarding the Federal carbon tax. I guess that’s what Ford thinks is what his supporters want, but by not telling them about the tax credit, he is doing them a disservice.
Regarding the carbon tax on gasoline, I assume that there must be a few people around who have looked at their tax return this year, and have noticed the carbon tax credit. Mine was $231.
The Federal carbon tax on gas was 4.4 cents a litre. My tax credit of $231 would cover the extra cost of over 5,200 litres of gas. At 8 litres/100 km., I could drive 65,000 km. before using up this credit. As I only drive one third of that, I am way ahead financially. I understand that the cost of other things may go up, depending on how far away the supply source is, but if you buy locally, which is good for our community, then any rise in cost would be barely noticeable. So what is all the fuss? The answer to that is that this is all a distraction, meant to deflect attention from the cuts Ford is doing that really matter to the people of this province.
As an additional distraction, we now have this government dictating to business owners about displaying carbon tax stickers on their pumps, indicating how much of what we pay for a litre of gas is the carbon tax, and threatening fines of up to $10,000 if the station owners don’t comply by displaying these stickers.
This is all a thinly veiled attempt to get Andrew Scheer elected, by constantly reminding people about the Federal carbon tax. This is simply partisan politics, which should be paid for by the Conservative Party, not the taxpayers of Ontario.
So, how much more is the taxpayer on the hook to enforce this stupidity? It’s bad enough that Ford is spending $30 million of taxpayer money on a court challenge regarding the Federal carbon tax; a fight that, from all accounts, he is likely to lose; so now the taxpayer is again on the hook for untold $millions of our tax money for an advertising campaign on TV and radio against the Federal carbon tax.
Ontarians are experiencing cuts to essential services and social supports, the list of which grows longer with every passing day. The Doug Ford government’s justification for service cuts, funding reductions, and policies that restrict access to services is always the same; Ontario is in a financial crisis. A big, scary financial crisis that must be addressed at any and all costs, even if the cost is long term harm to Ontarians.
The Ford government has used misleading indicators to present deficit and debt trends in the outlook, making them look worse than they really are. Then there’s the old trick of disingenuously comparing public with household debt, one of this government’s favourites.
Individuals and families manage debt over a single lifecycle. It’s prudent for them to take on debt early in that cycle to pay for education or to purchase a home. Later on, ideally, they will move from borrowing to saving for retirement. Governments do not face the same lifecycle restraints. In fact, they have a responsibility to continue borrowing and investing for future generations. Each generation of taxpayers takes on some of the cost for providing services to previous generations, as well as their own and future generations. Quite a different scenario from household debt.
The current Ontario government is using financial fear mongering as cover for an agenda to privatize public services and reduce the role of government. It is driven by pure ideology, and does not care in the slightest about the impact of its policies on future generations, particularly regarding climate change, probably the biggest threat ever to all living things on this planet. All we get from Ford and his trained seals of a caucus on this is a scorched earth policy toward global warming.
I often wonder if all of those people who voted for Ford and his cronies are happy with what is going on. I know that, for many of them, it is pretty much all about money in their pockets, and not much else. I have found that they are reluctant to discuss why they are conservatives. Life is a constant for them, and, while they notice that the world is changing around them, they still yearn for the “good old days”, expecting that if they keep voting the same old way, then the “good old days” will return.
I think it safe to say that ship has sailed. Changing times mean changing priorities. We need to keep looking at the big picture, otherwise we will keep going through this same old turmoil over and over again.