Except for those wearing rose-coloured glasses, or are sycophantic party or personality loyalists, it’s almost impossible to go through adult life without being disappointed by the performance of politicians, at least much of the time.
We don’t have to go far to see negative optics and results.
In our province of Ontario, we have been stuck in the fiscal merry-go-round of ineptness for more than a decade, not co-incident with the Liberal party being in power, for the most part with a majority.
Ontario has shifted from a ‘have’ province to a ‘have not’ one (meaning being eligible for federal transfer payments), the once vibrant manufacturing engine of the country sputtering. The increasingly uncompetitive costs of production, especially thanks to skyrocketing energy costs, have led businesses to locate or re-locate to the U.S. and elsewhere.
The provincial government has been pouring money and effort into growing a greener fuel landscape. Notwithstanding years of effort, according to the website for IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator), which regulates the flow of electricity in Ontario to match supply to demand, daily measurements have shown the contribution of wind and solar power combined to be typically five to 10% daily. Not much return for the billions being spent.
Yesterday, the release of the provincial Auditor General’s report reinforced the dread of looking at reality rather than optics. The lowlights included: the great majority of Ontario pension plans are underfunded to the tune of about $75 billion; almost $2 billion of hydro ‘smart meters’ have been a bust insofar as savings for consumers; the province is spending $8 billion more than needed for public/private projects; health officials don’t know how many people are immunized for disease, meanwhile, $3 million worth of vaccine expired before use; and key recommendations from an inquiry on a tainted water tragedy sit not acted on after 14 years.
Little wonder that the Energy Minister, sadly from Ottawa, had a testy time with reporters at a news conference yesterday afternoon. He disputed the findings of gross inefficiency leading to an increasingly onerous impact on consumers, decrying how the independent auditor got it wrong, but he had government figures which were right; indeed, he made a concerted effort to defend a less atrocious version of events.
This government which continues to spend and waste money still promises (for now) miraculously to balance its annual budget in a few years. As a highlight of substituting bureaucratic management for self-sufficiency and responsibility, it intends to launch a provincial pension plan applicable to workers and employers, like it or not.
Apparently freedom of choice takes second place to big brother knows best, notwithstanding no foundation for having faith. As we’re only talking essential services and the like, the consumer can always take on extra burden, and apparently be thankful for the rose-coloured glasses.