A new Viewpoint report titled “Is Ontario the New Quebec?” has analyzed the provinces’ shared patterns, hoping to prevent Ontarians from walking the same path as their francophone neighbours.
Prepared by Mark Milke, an independent policy analyst, and Youri Chassin, Economist and Research Director at the MEI, the report examines the causes and effects of changes to Ontario’s policies.
“Some might respond that Ontario’s higher spending ‘bought’ desirable outcomes like higher economic growth, say, or more jobs,” says Milke. “However, this is not evident when comparing Ontario to the national average, or to British Columbia, the country’s third most populous province.”
Indeed, says Milke, Ontario has been underperforming compared to the rest of the country.
“Ontario has been lagging compared to the national average in terms of both economic growth and job creation,” Milke explains. “Moreover, employment income in the province has barely kept pace with inflation, shows the publication. All real gains in median family income came from additional government transfers, which increased faster than in the rest of the country.”
The news report highlighted the following:
- Ontario became more like Quebec in 2009 when it began receiving equalization payments.
- While Quebec’s program spending per capita was higher than Ontario’s in 2002-03, the Ontario government now spends more ($8,765 vs. $8,042).
- Ontario’s net public debt per capita has almost doubled in size since 2002-03, with total debt increasing by $163.5 billion compared to Quebec’s increase of $91.5 billion.
- In an attempt to deal with rising government spending and rising debt interest costs, the Ontario government has also raised taxes, with revenues rising slightly faster than in Quebec.
“The economic and fiscal policies of their government have already hurt Ontarians, with real consequences in terms of income and standard of living,” adds Chassin.”The Ontario government is now an equalization recipient, it’s running deficits like there’s no tomorrow, and it has been downgraded by credit rating agencies because of its debt load.”
“Once the economic engine of Canada, Ontario’s economic policies are turning it into the federation laggard.”
To read the report and decide for yourself, click here.
Featured image: Flickr.