Ontario fact of the day

by on January 2, 2016 at 2:44 am in Current Affairs, Economics, Political Science | Permalink

Ontario is the largest sub-national debtor in the entire world, just one alarming distinction. Its debt is more than twice that of California, a state with three times the population and one that has its own severe fiscal problems. Its debt is $294 billion, or over $21,000 per capita. Net debt to GDP is up 48 per cent in the past 10 years to almost 40 per cent, second only to Quebec. Last year’s interest obligations totalled $11.4 billion, about the same as the cost of community and social services. I doubt many Ontarians realize how much they are paying just in interest on the provincial debt. It averages $840 per person every year and rising. Not surprisingly, Standard and Poor’s downgraded Ontario’s bond credit from AA- to A+, citing a very high debt burden and very weak budgetary performance.

Not a major cause for concern in terms of systemic risk, but not good news either.

That is from Joe Oliver, via Felix Salmon.

1 Alex Godofsky January 2, 2016 at 3:09 am

I’m not sure it’s sensible to compare sub-national debt levels internationally. Canada’s federal system may (and I think does) have a different revenue/spending split between their provincial and federal budgets than the US. In such a case it may make sense for their provinces to have higher debt levels generally (if that corresponds to lower Canadian federal debt).

2 Alain January 2, 2016 at 4:04 am

That’s a great point. Perhaps it would be more fair to compare debt/tax revenue?

The Public Accounts of Ontario 2014-2015 – Annual Report says that in 2014 Ontario gathered 118.5B in revenue, the majority of which was tax (10% non-tax, 18% federal transfers, I don’t know how to account for these proceeds). Governing.com says that California had 112B of revenue in 2012 (http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-tax-revenue-data.html).

So by this metric they have approximately equal revenue inflows, so Ontario’s debt/revenue ratio is only about 2x as large as that of California. Not good news, but not as dire as the 6x-8x ratio painted by the original post.

3 Careless January 2, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Man, 9% income tax at $41,000, 5% below that. Funny, California’s is slightly less progressive than Ontario’s, but Canada’s is less progressive than the US

4 Alain January 3, 2016 at 12:45 am

Doesn’t the US have one of, if not the most, progressive income tax rate schedules in the world?

5 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 1:13 am

Not sure how it plays out after loopholes and special treatment for capital. It might look pretty progressive at first glance, but almost no one who is remotely wealthy pays anywhere near the posted marginal rate on average.

6 jpe January 3, 2016 at 8:49 pm

Yep, the federal income tax is the most progressive. When you factor in state taxes of all sorts, though, we’re about middle of the pack.

7 Alain January 4, 2016 at 12:55 am

Actually jpe it is the most progressive tax system of all OECD countries, including all levels. Reference: http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/growingunequalincomedistributionandpovertyinoecdcountries.htm

I know this make people’s heads explode, but it makes sense when you actually look at the tax schedules and deductions.

8 ChrisA January 2, 2016 at 3:36 am

There is always an inherent moral hazard associated with sub-national financing. Lenders and borrowers/ voters know there is a good chance of bailout by national government especially if public pensions are risked so more is borrowed than it would be the case if they were standalone. Witness the high public debt and commitments by the Scottish national party compared with what they could do if they were independent.

9 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 6:06 am

As a former manufacturing centre, the province has not done well under global competition. Petro dollar effects relating to the Alberta oil boom exacerbated the competitiveness problem, but the currently low dollar does not seem to be helping out a lot (presumably those manufacturers who survived are not willing to bet that this will be a long term change).

It’s hard to see how Ontario will raise more revenues without serious impacts on the economy or cut costs also without serious impacts on the economy. There are a lot of smart people in Ontario, but I’m not sure that anyone has great ideas on where future growth (and hence tax dollars) will come from.

There are lots of good programmers, but Silicon Valley is miles ahead. There are lots of good (advanced tech) manufacturers, but the TPP will gut many of those in the face of Asian competition. Farming is still important in rural areas but similarly TPP will negatively affect them due to American and New Zealand competition. There was a bet on clean tech but the Germans and Chinese are miles ahead, Ontario lost, and it resulted in tens of billions additional paid in electricity. Medical research has good potential, but it’s hard to keep talent when American oligopolists can pick off the best with much higher pay packages. Entertainment and cultural industries are strong, but they hardly have the mass market appeal of Hollywood or the benefits of American mass marketing pop star making machines. Logistics in general and creating value added in the food industry are very competitive, but it’s hard to see how you can build an entire economy from them.

Bay St (finance) cannot carry the whole province, especially when the rest of the real economy is struggling enormously in the face of ever broader global competition.

That’s the potential for the revenue raising side.

From the cost side, things aren’t good either. It is easy to turn to contracting throughout much of the public service (bureaucrats, etc) in order to sidestep the public service union. But while the rest of Ontario struggles economically, the teachers, police, nursing and transit unions have enormous ability to withstand a long strike and repeatedly go for every penny they can get.

The political right likes to blame the current leadership for every job lost and every additional dollar owed. Some of the more specific critiques are well placed, but the big picture here is that Ontario has been going through major pains in adjusting to competition in the global economy.

10 Keith January 2, 2016 at 10:01 am

Good points.
I would add that the Canadian currency is heavily influenced by oil prices. Oil prices have fluctuated a lot lately and this has made it hard for manufacturers to plan ahead and survive.

11 Econchic January 6, 2016 at 9:55 am

Exactly, in the end everyone wants to to blame everyone else, but the truth is: Structural changes are hard, long and painful, and Ontario is just the biggest example of something you can see all over Canada right now.

12 rayward January 2, 2016 at 6:55 am

Consider two firms, A and B, each with aging equipment that needs 100B in upgrades. Firm A borrows 100B on good terms (low interest rate, long-term payments of principal) and upgrades the equipment, while Firm B does nothing. Firm A’s balance sheet shows 100B in debt, while Firm B’s balance sheet shows no debt. Is Firm B 100B better off than Firm A?

13 Ray Lopez January 2, 2016 at 8:15 am

I would say if you buy into the Great Stagnation theme, then Firm B is better off, since Firm A will likely go out of business despite ‘new equipment’ since it will have to compete with China, which gets state financing and is chasing a falling knife (manufacturing, which no longer pays). So “do nothing” and wait for a buyout and/or liquidation and return of capital to investors is best.

14 prior_test January 2, 2016 at 8:42 am

‘and is chasing a falling knife (manufacturing, which no longer pays)’

As always, Germany disagrees with this perspective, to the tune of billions and billions in profits from manufacturing. I’m fairly certain the South Koreans would also disagree.

What the Chinese face is going up the scale – much like the Japanese did, and the South Koreans after them,

15 dearieme January 2, 2016 at 8:56 am

Was the VW diesel scandal a hint that the German model may not be sustained?

Is it axiomatic that China could pull off a move upmarket?

16 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Two things. One, I would wait for the full story to come out to see whether it might have been just a handful or few dozen actors within a massive company who were behind this scandal. Two, even if it was deviously orchestrated by a large number of people within VW, there is no reason to suppose that this is generally indicative of problems in German engineering.

I do not doubt the ability of German companies to uphold an advantage as very high end manufacturers for a very long time into the future, and I am also very optimistic that Chinese engineers will be able to apply their skills to reach most of the spectrum of the market, including fairly high end ones.

17 msgkings January 2, 2016 at 4:46 pm

No, dearieme, the VW scandal was just the latest example of disgusting German perfidy. Everyone knows the German model is far inferior to the American one, and the scandal is just further proof. prior_*** knows this best of all, as he lives in Germany and sees the ruin of that nation firsthand. Why he left the far superior US is a puzzle, although maybe those lying losers there suit him better.

18 George January 2, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Isn’t the VW scandal only really a scandal in the US because emissions regulations are arbitrary? VW was putting out less carbon than SUVS etc.

19 prior_test January 3, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Strange – it looks like a detailed comment from me about how the global auto industry has been cheating emission laws for over 40 years is no longer to be found here.

So, in the interest of brevity, do read about the long running history of how the global auto industry, on a roughly two decade cycle, gets caught reinventing how to cheating emissions standards – http://arstechnica.com/cars/2015/10/volkswagens-emissions-cheating-scandal-has-a-long-complicated-history/

20 rayward January 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

The real point is that the liabilities of the two firms are the same, 100B, because Firm B must make the investment eventually or go out of business. Is it not better to borrow to make the investment when interest rates are low?

21 Careless January 2, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Yes, we get it, you assumed your conclusion.

We are not impressed.

22 Adrian Ratnapala January 2, 2016 at 1:46 pm

The claim in the original article is not just that Ontario spent a lot on infrastructure — which the author approves of. The pointy end is that they also spent on, well – spending – such as overpaying for green energy.

Now some people (i.e. leftists) will defend the latter kind of spending. But it is still spending. For example, giving people the dole might be worthwhile because it is the humane thing to do, but it is no investment, because it is money spent on the day to day expenses, without regard to whether it produces future revenue.

23 Chip January 2, 2016 at 8:01 am

Climate change hysteria take a bow:

“Ontarians have paid $37-billion more than market price for electricity over eight years and will pay another $133-billion extra by 2032 as a result of haphazard planning and political meddling, a report from the Auditor-General says. The Liberal government has repeated.”

Ontario was a so-called HAVE province until 2009, in that it was a net contributor of money to other provinces. Thanks to awful governance the former economic engine of Canada has become a have-not province, leaving Alberta to be the biggest net contributor.

Of course with the collapse of oil prices and recent election of socialists in Alberta, that’s sure to end as well.

Then there’s the housing bubble.

Canada could have an interesting year.

24 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 8:23 am

Alberta pissed away most of its oil wealth on early retirements, McMansions, monster trucks, crack and whores, and now has nothing to show for it. It might have done better with socialists in charge. Consider the Norway example.

Ontario’s energy market is fully deregulated. Anyone who’s paying too much just needs to shop around.

25 Jer January 2, 2016 at 9:53 am

Why would you expect any different? The type of people who crave to make money are the same ones who would only piss it away once they had it. People need to re-read their Ayn Rand to see the type of world we live in. It is no-win, no-tie. The only valuable people are the under-paid, under-utilized, over-educated, and under-appreciated ‘wage-slaves’ who toil in low- middle- technical jobs (both white and blue collar) 49-50 weeks per year, go home late to their families, retire unheralded, and die quietly. Time to empower the dutiful sheep and bring down the glory-driven wolves among a newly opportunity- (not wealth-) re-distributed, networked, work landscape (uber and taskrabbit and linked-in writ large and upscaled to all professions).

26 Art Deco January 2, 2016 at 10:15 am

If you’ve ever actually read Ayn Rand, that was some serious stuff you were smoking before you cracked open the pages.

27 TMC January 2, 2016 at 11:52 am

Yes, Jer, why make money if you’re just going to spend it?

And where does all that investment money come from? Someone is saving.

28 Thiago Ribeiro January 2, 2016 at 10:39 pm

Yeah, people getting 1% per year from their wonderful saving accounts.

29 Art Deco January 2, 2016 at 10:20 am

Nathan W, are income levels in Alberta declining? Is their a secular increase in the share of local domestic product accounted for by extractive industries? The answers are no and no. Since you fancy you’re all about ‘science’, why not conceive of your blather as a set of testable assertions and look up the answers?

30 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Neither one of your points (changes in average income or economic share of extractive industries) has any bearing on anything I said. Moreover, both issues are economic, not at all related to any sort of “science”.

I think you’re just grasping at straws because there’s an example where your preferred location on the ideological spectrum may not have served the long-term interests of a jurisdiction, and you don’t like that I suggested so.

Norway has nearly a trillion dollars stocked away. Alberta has similarly massive exposure to the oil sector but nothing to show for it, and lineups at foodbanks are getting long because oil is down, social security is weak, and there’s no money in the bank.

Anyways, if you listen to the right wing pundits (e.g., The Rebel), the NDP government there has practically destroyed the entire economy in the space of mere months in office, and the oil price collapse has nothing to do with it.

31 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 4:13 pm

There are major job losses in Alberta, incomes will decline, and the share of extractive industries is very high.

Norway has a trillion dollars stocked away and Alberta has some fancy trucks and large houses which are expensive to heat.

32 Art Deco January 2, 2016 at 7:38 pm

The share in extractive industries has been fitfully declining for a generation, even bracketing out the extractive industries the per capita product is higher than that of the other provinces, and the unemployment rate is precisely the national mean. This is just tiresome, Nathan.

33 Nick January 2, 2016 at 11:37 pm

I live in Alberta, and everything Nathan W writes is true. The economy is in the dumpster, the budget has been ruined, there are no savings, the population is overleveraged, and they blame the government that’s been in power for 7 months. There’s no recognition that Alberta’s oil is among the most marginal in the world, and that future development basically depends on assuming the Saudi king and the American frackers won’t let the price slide too far.

People do understand that the huge resource has been wasted — but they think of the above things first, and also blame the equalization payments that they send to Ottawa.

34 Art Deco January 3, 2016 at 11:46 am

I see the New Democratic Party’s press secretary reads this blog.

35 Tom from Calgary January 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm

There is a major difference between a consumer pissing away all his money and a government pissing away all its money Nathan.

My neighbor won’t expect a Federal government bailout when his Ferrari gets repossessed. And at a government level Alberta is still effectively debt free compared to Ontario.

You had better pray that interest rates stay near the secular lows they’re at right now as if they increase to historical levels Ontario will end up having to slash services so much it’ll make Ralph Klein look like a Dipper.

And lastly it’s also telling that most of the crack and whores you refer to came from out east. Now that the economy has slowed down there’s already an exodus back underway.

36 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 1:32 am

Just reflects the oil sector workers I’ve met. They like crack and whores. Don’t try to tell me a lot of them aren’t like that.

There’s the line. 2 weeks on, one week off. You make $6-10,000 in 2 weeks, and spent almost all of it on crack, whores and hotels in your week off. They come in planning to work for a couple years and buy a house, but are penniless a decade later.

Anyways, I think it’s more fair to paint it as fancy tucks and expensive to heat houses. Not everyone is that irresponsible.

37 Tom from Calgary January 3, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Point of note if you’re pulling 4k a week you’re buying coke not crack. At one point I think the RCMP was laying 5 cocaine charges for every pot charge.

Khat is also big as there’s a not insubstantial Somali community mostly via Toronto.

38 Shaun M January 2, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Nathan – Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Provinces pissed away Alberta’s oil wealth. If Alberta wasn’t paying into equalization, it’s would have a balanced budget.

39 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 1:35 am

It is true that equalization is relevant. But it’s not a suitable scapegoat for decades of complete failure of a resource intensive economy to stock away money. Moreover, when the oil is gone and the world runs on clean energy, the province can come crying back to mommy that all the oil and money is gone, and will benefit from equalization like it used to.

40 lrC January 3, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Equalization transfers are paid by the federal government out of federal revenues and hence have nothing to do with AB’s provincial budget balance.

41 JaedoDrax January 2, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Where do you get the idea that Ontario’s energy market is fully deregulated? you get a choice between the government price, which you can see above, or the private sector price where not only do you get to pay more, but you get to pay a “global adjustment” charge in order to pay for that extra “investment” in solar and wind.

42 TallDave January 3, 2016 at 1:59 am

Since OEB sets the prices, most customers are finding the best way to switch is to move out of Ontario.

43 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 3:25 am

From the OEB; “Companies that sell energy under contract to households and small businesses in Ontario must be licensed by the OEB. However, we do not regulate their prices.” http://www.ontarioenergyboard.ca/OEB/Consumers/Energy+Contracts/List+of+Retailers+and+Marketers

I did a stint working for these guys and am very sure of what I speak: https://www.directenergy.com/ontario

44 TallDave January 4, 2016 at 12:13 am

Also from their site:

Contract customers also pay an additional charge, known as the Global Adjustment.

Large Consumers (Business and Public Sector) busines consumer
Any business that uses more than 250,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year − equivalent to a minimum $2,000 electricity bill per month − pays the wholesale market price.
With wholesale pricing, these businesses have three options:
If a business has an interval meter, it pays the Hourly Ontario Energy Price.
If it doesn’t have an interval meter, it pays a weighted wholesale price based on the consumption pattern of its local distribution company.
These consumers may also choose to move to a fixed-price contract offered by a retailer.

So, they don’t regulate the price of energy, except for the part where they set prices for some businesses and tack on fees to all them.

Another fun aspect of Ontario’s unregulated energy market is that local governments insisted the power plants be built out in the middle of nowhere. Guess what that does to the cost of power?

45 TallDave January 2, 2016 at 10:58 pm

There are no energy regulations in Ontario? Uh, sure. Those energy prices the OEB sets are just suggestions, or something.

Maybe you can explain to Ontario industry how they just need to shop around. I mean, if you can single-handedly save Ontario’s economy, you’d be kind of a jerk not to, right?


But maybe they should try Islam — just look how well Kuwait’s doing!

46 TallDave January 3, 2016 at 1:57 am

Oh, I see, so when you said “fully deregulated” you actually meant “slightly deregulated in one small way that has little effect on prices.” Thanks for clarifying.

47 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 3:29 am

Hmm. I guess the lexicon in Ontario is odd. 100% open to competition would be a better description than deregulated, but that’s what they usually call it when moving from fully public to competitive energy supply markets.

Anyways, if opening a market to any and all competition “has little effect on prices” as you suggest, then perhaps it’s time to bail on capitalism and go all in for pure nationalization.

48 Gochujang January 2, 2016 at 10:06 am
49 TMC January 2, 2016 at 12:06 pm

You’ve posted links to this site a few times over the past couple of days. I finally had to go there.

Very interesting, thanks!

50 Gochujang January 2, 2016 at 12:13 pm

This seems to be a good year, or a good question. (Leaving out poop-money guy, of course.)

51 Handle January 2, 2016 at 9:14 am

I’m with Bob from Calgary. If anything, I suggest they double down on their Canadian traits and continue to invest in infrastructure, education and one another.

52 Gochujang January 2, 2016 at 9:45 am

That was really good. Left of me, but good.

For America, I would say reinvent rather than double down. Our institutions public and private need refactoring. I see no reason to believe at the outset that net savings can’t cover net improvements.

53 Art Deco January 2, 2016 at 9:58 am

Well, if we’re offering suggestions, I’llI suggest they kick out the frogs, limit settler immigration to about 95,000 people per annum, limit settler immigration to people who can pass an English proficiency test and wait patiently in a queue, limit Muslim immigration to families with children, naturalize only those settlers who’ve spent most of their life in Canada, balance their bloody budgets, rein in their courts, replace their comical Trudeaupain ‘Charter of Rights’ with a concise and serious alternative (which does not allow for star chambers and agents provacateurs), sell off the crown corporations, repeal anti-discrimination law and the entire body of legislation promoting ‘multiculturalism’ (and sexual deviance), and quit handing the keys to the liquor cabinet and the car to sometime drama teachers.

54 Jan January 2, 2016 at 12:00 pm

You forgot to say that “Justin Trudeau is a fag,” as Rob Ford famously did.

55 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 12:51 pm

The crack addict drunkard, former mayor of Toronto, said quite a lot of, shall we say … memorable things.

How nice are Canadians? When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, even the haters of the haters were adamant in wishing him a speedy and full recovery. He seems to be doing OK health wise, but I don’t think he’s missed in city council, to say the least.

56 Art Deco January 2, 2016 at 2:00 pm

How nice are Canadians? When he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, even the haters of the haters –

Strange as it may seem to you, Nathan, working politicians who have to put their name on things do not commonly make utterances of the sort you see in Kossack comboxes. No one has to be especially ‘nice’, they just have to have an ordinary person’s sensibilities.

57 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Canada has very high standards for immigration including both language skills and education, near-zero illegal immigration, and low-skilled worker permits are short term (farming season only) and virtually never result in overstays or burdens on the social system. Immigration is an unambiguous gain for Ontario.

Almost all the crown corporations are already sold off, remaining ones are nearly on the auction blocks and moreover compete with the private sector in deregulated markets thus nulling concerns about competitiveness at the economy level. An exception is liquor sales (a provincial issue, which is a) outside of the jurisdiction of the hated “drama teacher” and b) which precedes his birth by nearly 50 years), where the LCBO provides probably the best variety of international options I’ve seen in liquor stores anywhere.

As for repealing all aspects of the legal and cultural institutions of Canada which offend your sensibilities, well, you can say what you want, but a) most of that has nothing to do with provincial politics whatsoever, b) it’s not going to happen anyways because the Charter represents the single greatest statement of consensus in Canadian history and c) not of that has anything whatsoever to do with economics, debt or energy markets.

58 Careless January 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

So are you Canadian? Because that would explain a lot.

59 Shaun M January 2, 2016 at 9:44 pm

“it’s not going to happen anyways because the Charter represents the single greatest statement of consensus in Canadian history..”

Except for that part where Canada’s 2nd most populous and most culturally distinct never actually ratified it…

60 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 1:39 am

Yes, but the only effect of that is that we tacitly allow them to discriminate against non-French speakers and uphold the rest of it.

61 Jer January 2, 2016 at 9:43 am

The problem is that the issue here, as well as most places, have been framed as an economic issue rather the socio-politico-economcs issue that it truly is. You simply have a no-win system where you have too many people with a high-income rating but with a moderate value-add (too many MBAs, not enough technically-engaged engineers), poorly-engaged and under-utilized citizens (doctors driving cabs), and a post-secondary system that provides very little experience-based hours combined with a business mentality of insisting on experienced-only workers. The mood is of quiet (wealth- and client-hoarding) desperation, nepotism, and defensive-cronyism. As a simplistic exemplar: Any system that allows for there to be 6 unemployed painters, no budget to pay them, and 6 painting jobs going undone is basically flawed and needs to be torn down.
As someone with no economic background and a very cynical view of all right-wing media and left-wing people, I am most frustrated with Economists inability to quantify the metric which would start to point to possible society-wide solutions: to start: that is a gauge of the income value of all people’s skill sets (starting with just graduated until retired) whether they are employed in something that utilizes that skill set or not, as compared to the income of citizens as currently employed – a type of skill utilization index. Why not , Economists, why not? Find out people’s inherent value and compare it to their current circumstances. Impossible? Of course, but the struggle to assess, quantify, and find bottoms-up, a-political problem definitions – much less solutions – is crucial. Get on it.

62 Alan January 2, 2016 at 10:45 am

“Find out people’s inherent value” is a phrase you would more likely see in a Unitarian Universalist church than in an economics class. A more comprehensive definition of your terms might illustrate why this is not routinely ddone.

63 Jer January 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

But Ontario as a sub-national unit Is and an excellent exemplar for such first-world, G7-ish, diverse-economy, sub-national units as they proceed forth in the new zero-rate liquidity trap world.

64 Art Deco January 2, 2016 at 10:13 am

There is no liquidity trap.

Ontario’s an excellent exemplar of a place run by politicians who cannot set priorities because they conceive of their jobs as distributing free s!it. Nothing more.

65 Nathan W January 2, 2016 at 1:01 pm

There is not more free stuff in Ontario than under previous Conservative governments. Tuition has gone up dramatically, welfare is no higher, spending on subsidized housing units is significantly down, and minimum wages are barely keep up with inflation.

66 Keith January 2, 2016 at 10:08 am

Great post Tyler! Very interesting.

67 Hoosier January 2, 2016 at 10:34 am

Talking with most Canadians they’re happy to have it that way. Can’t say I blame them.

68 Careless January 2, 2016 at 3:08 pm

They’re happy to have high debt? I can see believing that it’s a reasonable action to take, but to be happy about it?

69 TallDave January 2, 2016 at 10:52 pm

That implies Canada is more decentralized than the United States, at least in terms of spending.

Makes sense, but I was unable to find good data on this point in a brief search. Oh well.

70 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 1:57 am
71 TallDave January 3, 2016 at 2:03 am

That doesn’t answer my question, but thanks for trying.

72 Nathan W January 3, 2016 at 3:32 am

What do you mean by “decentralized in terms of spending” then?

73 TallDave January 4, 2016 at 12:04 am

The words “more than” were the problem. It’s not an easy comparison to make.

74 bob January 2, 2016 at 11:18 pm

How much of the debt is tied to the providence owning much of the electricty generation? I am not attempting to defend public pwnership of utiliites but if you wanted to compare apples to apples you might need to add the debt of california’s power generators to make an accurate comparision. Also, what government entity controls the schools in Ontario. Is the school debt taken on at the local or provincial level?

75 valuethinker January 7, 2016 at 9:53 am

There would be next to no school debt at local level, AFAIK. The Province under Mike Harris took over funding education, and downloaded welfare to the municipalities.

76 revver January 2, 2016 at 11:41 pm

Progressive Fiscal-cannibalism in all its glory ladies and gentlemen. The government has resorted to asking its citizens to give them more money:

Lest we forget whom we’re dealing with, these are the same people who reelected a government which at best can be described as criminally negligent. Do read the whole thing, then emigrate from this province:

77 Millian January 3, 2016 at 8:15 am

Has this website ever heard of “Sour grapes”?

78 valuethinker January 7, 2016 at 9:55 am


Most power plants are in southern Ontario. Transmission losses are not large. Setting aside those 2 gas plants in GTA (which was outrageous, and it speaks to the weakness of the Tories that they failed to exploit that in the election campaign), most powerplants are more or less where Ontario Hydro put them: Darlington, Bruce, Nanticoke (closed) etc.

Nuclear power has been a boon to Ontario although the sunk debt has not.

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