Monday, June 11, 2007

McGuinty has led Ontario – straight to the bottom

Real GDP Growth by Province (Percentage) 2007

Your friends say McGuinty hasn’t done such a bad job? Show them this chart

I have been reading the newly-released Ontario PC platform, and what left me gobsmacked was this little chart on page 40, which shows that, of all the provinces, Ontario is expected to come dead last in economic growth this year. The numbers are from The Conference Board of Canada's spring Provincial Outlook.

According to the government's own Ministry of Finance, Ontario posted a roaring 0.5% growth in the fourth quarter of 2006. Roaring, that is, compared to its third quarter growth rate of, er, zero (or, as the ministry calls it, "flat").

Dalton McGuinty is by all accounts a nice man. His intentions were good. And he is spending plenty of our money: $22 billion more than the Ontario government was spending in 2003, to be exact.

So what’s lacking? Leadership. Leadership is to McGuinty what caffeine is to 7-Up. Never had it, never will.

Before the last election, I said that Dalton McGuinty might have what it takes to win an election, but not what it takes to be premier. I have said that he is a weak man, with no compelling reason to be in public life, besides the fact that his MPP father died unexpectedly while Junior was a suburban strip mall lawyer with a family of six to feed. Res ipsa loquitor, as the lawyers might say.


Joanne (True Blue) said...

Good post, Joan. 'Nice' guys don't always make great leaders. In fact, the reverse is more often true.

Totally Tory said...

This election is going to be far more competitive than many originally thought. A year ago, it was a given that McGuinty would probably be re-elected, but his leadership numbers remain very poor for an incumbent Premier, and the right direction/wrong direction number isn't working for the government right now.

The Liberals probably have about 40 seats in the bag right now, and the PCs about 35. This election will be political hand-to-hand combat over perhaps 25 to 30 swing seats in the 905, Southwestern Ontario, and a few in Eastern Ontario. If John Tory can develop a strong, punchy narrative, and get his vote out in those key ridings, Dalton may indeed be a one term wonder.

Anonymous said...

I happen to think the McGuinty is a poor premier and I won't be voting for him in the fall.

But, that chart - and any representation that it is meaningful - is absurd and, quite frankly, makes those rendering the argument appear economically brain dead.

Do you think that the rapid acceleration of the value of the Canadian dollar with respect to the US dollar has, perhaps, a bit to do with the numbers? I would say so. And what influence, exactly, does the premier of Ontario have over the relative value of our national currency?

What is the starting point for the "growth" in the numbers? Let's put it this way. You get 87% on your first chemistry test and your classmate gets 52%. On the second test you get 89% and your classmate gets 64%. Who is the better chemistry student? You are. But, who is achieving better growth?

I could go on. The point is this. If you are going to place sincere value on these numbers (and plan to make that part of the election campaign), then please do not assume that the majority of the people of Ontario are as equally misguided.

Steve said...

Joan, there is no doubt that Ontario's performance has lagged most other provinces, but that chart is for 2007. It is purely speculative. You have to use real data to make your point.

That said, you can't blame it all on poor Dalton. Ontario's economy is skewed to manufacturing while resources have a larger role in the other provinces. Prices for most commodities are at record levels. Meanwhile, the rising C$, which is hitting 30-year highs, is walloping Ontario's manufacturing sector.

The key question is whether Dalton is making it worse. That case can perhaps be made. On its own, this chart doesn't make it.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh, it wouldn't be because Harper isn't helping manufacturing industries at all would it?

I think so. Harper's kissing Quebec's ass and favouring Alberta and the rest of us can go to hell.


Joan Tintor said...

"You have to use real data to make your point."

Below is a link to a Conference Board presentation from April. Skip to page 20 and you will see a chart called "2003-2006 Real per Capita GDP Growth."

Ontario is at the bottom of that list too.,%202007%20IPVF%20Networking%20Luncheon%20Presentation%20-%202007%20and%20Beyond..pdf

Joan Tintor said...

And perhaps anon at 1:29 could explain how the 2003-2006 figures are Stephen Harper's fault.

Anonymous said...

How about this explanation? The figures don't belong to any politician. Harper, Martin, McGuinty, anyone.

Unless you honestly believe that any Canadian politician has the ability to materially influence the value of oil, gold, the US dollar and a host of other external factors that have about a billion times more to do with these numbers than anyting else.

These are, quite frankly, stupid arguments. I hope John Tory (whom I would very much like to vote for) doesn't run around making them.

Steve said...

Joan, that is the chart to show.

Back to the issue of whether McGuinty has made things worse. In many ways he has:

First, he has completely blown energy policy. In addition to coping with the strong C$, manufacturers must also pay much higher rates for electricity. Backing off deregulation and capping consumer utility rates has scared off private investment in power generation facilities. Now the government is going to underwrite nuclear facilities in their place.

Second, Ontario's tax competitiveness has been comprised by the government spending spree since Dalton took power. Most of this new spending does little to help productivity, while signally to investors there are better jurisdictions to put their capital.

I'm sure others could add to this list.

Anonymous said...

joanne(true blue) mcguinty is anything but nice.

Anonymous said...

If you can't understand properly what that chart represents your pretty dumb. But, keep at it. Whatever floats your boat.

Anonymous said...

The dollar is the same in all provinces so why are they all growing faster than Ontario? There must be some other reason than the high dollar for this. Most likely it's the high taxes and restrictive laws in Ontario.


Steve said...

I dissed Joan's chart because it is a forecast, not historical data. Nonetheless, the economist who made the forecast no doubt has many good reasons why he/she placed Ontario at the back of the pack.

The chart Joan offered as a replacement is even more compelling since it is about per capita income. By this measure, growth in Ontario living standards lagged every other province in the previous 4 year period. That is definitely not a good record for Dalton to run on.

Anonymous said...

The dollar is an issue because some provinces (ie Ontario) export goods to the US more than others (ie all the rest).

Anonymous said...

Really, it is about leadership to make a difference as other factors are negative, CDN$ etc. I think this video shows it all: