THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Governments always tell the public they are investing tax dollars into various projects.
Kevin O’Leary has made the news recently talking about stepping into the political arena at the federal level. In a just released Open Letter to Ontario Premier Wynne, the television personality offers insight and questions the Premier on the Cap and Trade fund proposed in the 2016 Ontario Budget.
Here is the open letter:
To: Kathleen Wynne
From: Kevin O’Leary
Re: New Cap and Trade Slush Fund
Hi Premier, just saw you are setting up a new $1.9 billion cap and trade fund that you and Finance Minister Charles Sousa will be overseeing. Congratulations, you two are now managing the largest hedge fund in Ontario’s history!
I’m just as optimistic as you are. But I recently made a promise to every taxpayer in Canada that I would call out mediocrity, incompetence and risk in government economic and fiscal policy, so I feel the need to verify a few things:
* This new slush fund will have its own independent and transparent account, right?
* I will need a quarterly statement of fund flows in and out of the account documenting the source and use of proceeds. After all, someone in your government might forget that this money was earmarked to reduce carbon emissions and spend it on something else.
* I expect to be informed on administrative head count. Rumour has it you’re planning on hiring hundreds of new government employees to administer the fund. You know how snippety some people can get when you swell government payroll when no one else can find a job in this economy!
* I heard Mr. Sousa say on the radio that you’re going to be making new and exciting investments in “green tech”. I will need to know the terms of each deal, what I paid for my equity or debt positions, my voting rights and what governance is in place in each investment.
* I expect you’ll be hiring an independent auditing firm to value each investment on a mark to market basis and provide a going concern letter in cases where investments might not have worked out as planned. Also “green tech” companies have a nasty habit of going bankrupt as soon as their government subsidies end, but with your and Mr. Sousa’s long track record of picking winners in this industry, I’m not worried about that.
* I’d like you to offer some consolation to parents in Ontario who are concerned they’re leaving their children a $308 billion debt. Such worry warts! Yes, our $308 billion debt makes Ontario the most leveraged jurisdiction in North America. We now have twice the debt of the state of California with half the population!
* Oh yes, just one more thing. You promised that this initiative was going to reduce carbon emissions, so I will need the reduction data on a quarterly basis as well.
I know your critics say you could have left all this money in the hands of companies that employ thousands of Ontario workers and in the pockets of entrepreneurs who create new jobs in Ontario, but you told us you could do a better job with it and you didn’t give us a choice anyway. We’re already one of the most uncompetitive and highest taxed jurisdictions in North America, so who cares about a few more billion in taxes?
Well, maybe some taxpayers did care. They were some of the 29,000 Ontario residents that were affected by your last 2% super tax on Ontario’s high earners. I know they were very concerned about air quality too. Many moved to Nassau where carbon emissions are low. They don’t pay tax in Ontario any more so let’s forget about them. They’re not going to give us any more trouble or tax revenue.
On behalf of myself and all the Ontario taxpayers who still live here, I want to know that you’re our leader on this fund.
Before you know it, there’s going to be another election in Ontario and I’m going to make damn sure both of you get all the credit you deserve on this.
Oh, and good luck with the funds performance. No one else on earth has ever reduced emissions or made money doing this, so I’ll be watching and keeping everybody informed with all the good news that is sure to be coming. And, of course, we will all be breathing easier watching those carbon emissions plunge as soon as you start spending this money!