QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak is stating he has debunked Finance Minister Dwight Duncan’s claim that today’s “negative” outlook assessment of Ontario’s creditworthiness by Moody’s Investor Services is the result of international economic turmoil. “That would only make sense if all provinces were in roughly the same fiscal and economic shape – but they’re not,” Hudak said. “Ontario under Dalton McGuinty is considerably worse off on a series of basic measures within Canada alone and this Moody’s assessment reflects that.”
As just one example, Hudak noted that Ontario’s deficit is larger than all other provinces combined, even though it represents just over a third of Canada’s economy. Yet, he added, that deficit will take twice as long to pay off.
“Time and again we advised the Premier to take immediate steps to start cleaning up this mess,” Hudak said. “We pressed for a review of all government programs. We urged a public sector wage freeze. He ignored us. He has ignored the Auditor General – not once but twice this year.
“And to top it off, he re-appointed Dwight Duncan as Finance Minister – the architect of this crisis. Tonight all these chickens are coming home to roost.”
Other measures cited by Hudak that place McGuinty’s economic management as among worst-in-class:
- Ontario’s debt-to-GDP ratio has been the worst in the country four years running
- Outside Atlantic Canada, Ontario has had the worst growth in full-time jobs
- Ontario has lost 43,600 full-time jobs since the October election. The rest of the country has added 6,400
- Under Dalton McGuinty, Ontario’s private sector has grown just 3.1 per cent. Over the same period, Manitoba’s has grown 11, Saskatchewan’s 12, BC’s 12.5 and Alberta’s 23.6 per cent
- Ontario’s unemployment rate has been above the national average for 59 consecutive months, and
- Ontario ranks 15th out of 16 comparable North American jurisdictions in GDP per capita
“The fall session of the Legislature revealed a government that’s run out of gas in the face of a growing jobs, spending and debt crisis of its own making,” Hudak said. “By contrast, the Ontario PC Caucus has tabled a series of positive policies to start turning this province around. “The Moody’s warning is a further wake-up call to Dalton McGuinty that this job needs to start now.”