Ontario needs a long-term debt repayment plan, says MPP Arnott
(Queen’s Park) – Going back almost 28 years in the Ontario Legislature, Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott has been expressing concern about the ballooning Provincial Government debt. Over and over again, he has urged Governments to commit themselves to a long-term debt repayment plan.
“We in Wellington understand the economic value of hard work and the social value of personal responsibility. From this understanding stems a serious concern when our government refuses to live within its means, when our government grows until it begins to inhibit overall economic growth, when even excessive taxation does not prevent the expansion of our government debt.”
– Wellington MPP Ted Arnott, speaking in the
Ontario Legislature on December 3rd, 1990
“I know that some people over the years have advocated in favour of deficit financing year after year, believing that this was the direction to go in order to provide the new services they believed the public were demanding. “Don’t worry,” they said, “it’s only a debt we owe ourselves.” However, this kind of thinking ignored the serious long-term consequences to our economy and the debt. Increasingly, as our deficits and debt grew, the province was forced to borrow from overseas lenders.”
– Wellington MPP Ted Arnott, speaking in the
Ontario Legislature on October 9th, 1997
“The need to commit to a concrete plan of action to eliminate the debt is sound fiscal policy and makes good economic sense to most people. It is a view that is shared by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, an organization that, as we know, exists to advocate on behalf of taxpayers. In a letter endorsing my resolution, the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, John Williamson, has outlined the problem in terms of how our provincial debt, now estimated to be more than $118 billion, and the interest costs on that debt, tie the hands of government in terms of keeping taxes at the right level and paying for social programs.”
– Waterloo-Wellington MPP Ted Arnott, speaking
in the Ontario Legislature on December 11th, 2003
“Ultimately the task of balancing the budget and beginning to pay down the debt will most likely fall to a successor government, after a provincial election, when we have a government that’s serious about balancing the books; when we have a government that offers more than just rhetoric about getting our spending under control. This resolution makes the point that we need to start making payments, however modest, on the principal of our debt and begin to strengthen our province’s balance sheet. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the responsible thing to do. We have a duty to our children and our grandchildren.”
-Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott, speaking
in the Ontario Legislature on April 19th, 2012
On October 9th 1997, Mr. Arnott led off the debate on his Private Members Resolution, which called upon the PC Government led by Premier Mike Harris to commit itself to a long-term debt repayment plan. His Resolution was passed by the Legislature. In response, the Government made a significant commitment to pay down the debt by $2 billion. By 2000, the PC commitment to debt repayment grew to $5 billion.
After Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals were elected to Government in October 2003, Mr. Arnott felt it necessary to bring forward another Private Members Resolution to highlight the need for debt repayment. His Resolution was debated on December 11th, 2003, but the new Liberal Government used its majority to vote it down. They were not interested in any discussion of the need to pay down the debt. Kathleen Wynne, then a backbench Member of the Liberal Caucus, was present in the House to vote against Mr. Arnott’s Resolution.
After the global financial crisis in 2008, the McGuinty Liberals began running massive budgetary deficits and the provincial debt skyrocketed. Again, on April 19th, 2012, Mr. Arnott brought forward a Private Members Resolution on debt repayment, this time asking the Government to commit to making a payment on the principal of the provincial debt of at least 2.5% of its program spending, after the provincial budget was balanced. Again, the Liberal Government majority defeated Mr. Arnott’s Resolution. And once again, Kathleen Wynne, by then a McGuinty Government Cabinet Minister, was present in the House to vote against the idea of debt repayment.
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Ted Arnott, MPP