The new Ontario budget is a highly instructive document. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
The first thing it illustrated was the risible level of contemporary partisan shrillness. Let me single out provincial Conservative leader John Tory accusing the McGuinty Liberals of being “addicted to spending,” as if he’d be any different, and federal Tory MP Pierre Poilievre following his finance minister’s undignified pre-emptive criticism with an instant response that plumbed new depths of brazen implausibility by saying “We came today in a spirit of partnership to ask (Premier Dalton McGuinty) to reduce the job-killing taxes he’s imposed on Ontarians”.
The second thing the provincial budget illustrated is that contemporary budgets aren’t accounting documents at all and no one seems to expect them to be. I was 12 pages into my third newspaper Wednesday morning before anyone bothered mentioning total projected spending for the coming year (a surely noteworthy $96.2 billion). Meanwhile, the top “News” item on the Ontario government website that day was “McGuinty government invests in skills” which sounds like good news until you realize it’s ours, not theirs, they’re talking about.
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