A New Year. A New Decade. What’s next?
Here we are at the end of another year. In fact, we are entering a new decade. Time does seem to fly by! This is the traditional time of year to make resolutions and to predict the future. I have a nearly perfect record of breaking almost every New Years resolution I have ever made, usually no later than mid February, so I will not even bother this year. But when it comes to predictions, well, that is another matter! I am not too shy about that. We all have our opinions about what the next year will bring, and it is always an interesting exercise to see how they actually turn out. So, here are a few predictions from me for 2020.
First, the bad news. Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government will continue to spend its way through the next year. During a time of relative economic prosperity in 2019, the government managed to nearly double its deficit from $14 billion to a projected deficit of almost $27 billion. This from a government that in 2015, promised a balanced budget in five years. Well here we are.
This is a problem of such a serious nature, that even the left leaning newspaper, the Toronto Star, has its shorts in a knot. Perhaps the understatement of the year for them was this comment, in a recent editorial. “We’ve never been ones to insist on strict fiscal discipline; far from it … But still, there must be limits.”
So, why is this important? Our economy is currently strong and has been for a number of years and it is during this phase of an economic cycle that deficits and debt to gross domestic products (GDP) ratio is reduced. But that has not happened under this government. In fact, the debt to GDP ratio has increased on their watch from 25 per cent to more than 30 per cent. On top of this, the Trudeau Liberals have made election promises totaling more than $55 billion over the next few years.
The problem is that a downturn in the economic cycle is inevitable. My prediction is that we will begin to feel the reality of this before the end of 2020. There are already signs of it, internationally, and here in Canada and many economists are predicting it. When (not if) this happens, or worse, when we face an actual recession, debt really matters. Eventually, a spendthrift government will run out of other people’s money. Then, where will we get funds for health care, education, infrastructure and so on? This is not just a question for future generations. It is a real one, right now, today!
Another prediction I have, which will not please some of my friends, is that many people in Ontario will begin to feel better about the Doug Ford government before the end of the coming year. There is no doubt that they screwed up big time during their first year in office, with knee jerk decisions, terrible communications and improperly thought out cuts. It will take time to climb out of that, but the process to do so, has clearly begun.
Doug Ford has apologized for many of the the mistakes his government made in its first year or so, something few politicians are capable of doing. He has reversed many of their poor decisions. In spite of the way he was treated by both the Conservatives and the Liberals during the federal election he has emerged from that process as a conciliator both in terms of Ontario’s relationship with the federal government and as a leader in promoting Canadian unity. No small task, that!
The most important thing however is that the Ford government gets what the Trudeau government does not and that is that debt matters, and that governments cannot be all things to all people. As our economy declines, people will begin to see the importance of that and the necessity of having a well- planned fiscal policy that will see the Province through inevitable challenging times ahead. We will see signs of that awakening before the end of 2020.
In bullet form, here are a few more predictions I have for 2020.
- The Trudeau Government will survive.
- If she enters the race, Rona Ambrose will be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. If she does not, Erin O’Toole has a good shot at it.
- We will find out if the Carbon tax really works or if it is simply a coverup for the lack of tough and effective measures to really affect climate change.
- We will see if any government has the guts to ban single use plastics as a major environmental initiative. Somehow, I doubt it.
- There will be a pipeline built in Western Canada to allow them to get their fossil fuel resources to market.
- Tensions between Quebec and the rest of Canada will increase.
- There will be a Teacher’s strike in Ontario which will test public opinion on a number of issues.
- Here at home, acute care hospital services will continue to be an issue in Muskoka. Little real progress will be made in 2020. District Government will continue to cost a fortune and ignore reform.
- Scott Aitchison has already made his mark as our hard- working Member of Parliament and he will continue to do so in the coming year.
- In Huntsville, our new Mayor, Karin Terziano will continue to demonstrate in 2020 that she has the right stuff. It will be onward and upward in our community!
As we enter a new decade, there will be challenges ahead for all of us. There will also be opportunities. We can only hope that we make the best of them!
A Happy New Year to all!
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