Ontario is thriving economically. At least that’s what its government and the liberal media wants to believe. Many of the news media has presented statistic after statistic about the rapid economic growth Ontario is experiencing. It all seems hunky dory.
The Liberal government, led by Kathleen Wynne, continues to bask in the glory of all the coverage about Ontario’s economic success. “Our plan is working,” Wynne proudly boasted while addressing a group of reporters in July.
She went further to claim that the growth rate of Ontario’s economy is faster than Canada’s overall growth rate. Not just that. It was also greater than that of United States or any other G7 country.
On paper, this sounds like an impressive feat. But is it, really? Let’s find out.
Deconstructing Wynne’s claims
Careful examination of all the facts indicates that, in their excitement over all the good press, the Liberals may be getting a little ahead of themselves. For instance, let’s consider the claim that Ontario is growing faster than Canada, the US, or any other nation for that matter.
Steve Paikin calls it an apples-to-orange comparison. Ontario is not a country. It’s a province. The overall economic progress of Canada, US, or any other country is a product of the economies of the individual regions. And many of the worst-performing regions bring the grand total considerably lower.
A more accurate comparison, then, would be between Ontario’s performance and that of some of the other individual regions. And, in comparison to some of the best performing American states, Ontario’s economy doesn’t hold up according to Paikin who writes:
“Washington state’s annualized growth rate in the second quarter of last year blasted off at 8.0 per cent. South Dakota was 5.8 per cent. Nevada was 5.5 per cent. Utah was 5.2 per cent. Even Ontario’s neighbour, New York state, clocked in at 5.0 per cent. Suddenly, when you actually compare apples to apples, Ontario’s economic performance doesn’t look so hot.”
Viewing Ontario’s economy in context
Toronto Sun’s Ben Eiser is less than enthusiastic about the boasts about the Ontario’s economic success. Eiser believes that the claims made by the Liberal government sound much less impressive when viewed in the context of the extremely dismal performance the Liberals have been showing in the previous decades.
The Ontario Liberal Party first took office in 2003. In the 10 years succeeding that, the economy was growing at an unbelievably low rate of 0.4 percent. This means that it will take the province decades of progress to mitigate the effects of their previous failures.
Then there’s also the fact that the economy is being actively assisted by various external factors such as the low cost of Canadian dollar and the decline in oil prices.
What about the mounting debt?
Perhaps the most worrying concern about the economic legacy of the Liberals is the amount of debt they are continuing to pile up. According to a report by Stephen LeClair, the province’s Financial Accountability Officer, the amount of debt will increase by around $50 billion by the next four years to reach record levels of $350 billion.
Ontario’s growth may be faster than Canada or the US, but it’ll also be the world’s most indebted non-national borrower in the coming years.
How is that for progress?