What is the right answer when Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals claim you can’t do math? I’m thinking of a few choice words and I am sure you can guess them.
That Wynne and her Liberals are claiming the NDP plan has holes in their budgeting is not only funny, it also puts the focus back on Wynne’s own bad math. And no, I’m not talking about the appalling results showing half of grade six students don’t meet the provincial standard.
One finger pointing out, three pointing back.
On Monday morning the Liberals put forward Wynne, her finance minister Charles Sousa and treasury board president Eleanor McMahon to critique the plan, here is what they told Canadian Press.
“The NDP built their platform and their entire economic plan for the province on a major mistake – a significant, sizeable and undeniable mistake,” said Charles Sousa. “As a result, they have defunded billions of dollars that flowed to valued programs. It’s a failure of basic competence that leads to real consequences and renders their entire platform incoherent and unrealistic.”
The Liberals say the New Democrats didn’t factor in government spending announced between last year’s budget and this year’s fiscal plan, creating a hole of at least $3 billion in the party’s platform.
So the NDP, a party I disagree with on everything fiscal, had their plan vetted and approved by former federal Parliamentary Budget Officer. Yet the Liberals are saying there are holes in it.
Why do the Liberals claim this?
Simply because the NDP doesn’t include the last minute spending brought in by the Liberals in their election budget.
Need we remind everyone that the Auditor General of Ontario and the Financial Accountability Office of Ontario both critiqued the Liberal plan? Both fiscal watchdogs claimed that the Liberal plan was false and would result in much higher budget deficits.
The AG said Liberal deficits over the next three years would add $36.4 billion to the provincial debt. The Liberals claimed just $19.4 billion over three years and called it a dispute among accountants. The FAO offered similar numbers fore the deficits but also added this gem for all those worrying about Wynne’s claim that Doug Ford will cut, cut, cut!
The government plans to balance the budget by 2024 through a dramatic cut in spending growth – from about 4 per cent per year to just 2 per cent beginning in 2021. The government’s plan provides few specifics but implies that the Province would have to find about $15 billion in spending reductions by 2025, equivalent to about 8 per cent of program spending.
Let’s face it, the Liberals have been cooking the books for some time now. Each time the Auditor General tries to point out a problem, they attack her. They have even mansplained to her, a cardinal sin for any true progressive.
Yet now the Liberals want you to believe that their books, attacked by two different fiscal watchdogs, are legit.
Oddly, I’m more inclined to believe Horwath and the NDP even while knowing they are wrong on the issues.