Listen Up! Kathleen Wynne must have gone to school with ‘Little Johnny’ – Opinion

Hugh Mackenzie Huntsville Doppler

Hugh Mackenzie
Huntsville Doppler

Dog Poop

There is an old chestnut of a ‘Little Johnny’ story that goes something like this.

A teacher in one of Toronto’s finest schools wanted to give her students a lesson in business and salesmanship. What she got was a lesson in politics. She gave her students a weekend assignment to sell something and then give a presentation on how they had done and what methods they had used to be successful.

The following week, Little Sally led off. I sold Girl Guide cookies and made $30”, she said proudly. “My sales approach was to appeal to my customer’s civic spirit and I credit this approach to my obvious success.

“Very good”, said the teacher.

Little Tommy was next. “I sold magazines”, he said. “I made $45 and I explained to everyone that magazines would keep them up on current events”.

“Very good Tommy”, said the teacher.

Finally it was little Johnny’s turn and the teacher held her breath. Little Tommy walked to the front of the classroom and dumped a box full of cash on the teacher’s desk. “$2,467”, he said. “$2,467” the teacher said, “What on earth were you selling?”

“Toothbrushes said Little Johnny. “Toothbrushes” echoed the teacher. “How on earth could you sell enough toothbrushes to make that much money?”

“I found the busiest corner in Toronto”, said Little Johnny. “I set up a Dip & Chip stand and I gave everybody who walked by a free sample. They all said the same thing. Hey. This tastes like dog poop.n Then I would say, It is dog poop. Wanna buy a tooth brush?”

“What I did” said little Johnny, was use the Kathleen Wynne method of giving you some crap, dressing it up so it looks good, telling you it’s free and then making you pay to get the bad taste out of your mouth!” Little Johnny got five gold stars for his assignment and the government took the money.

I thought of this old joke because it occurred to me that while many of us are caught up in the political boondoggle in the United States, we have been ignoring what is going on in our own country and in my view, there is plenty of dog poop here to go around!

The obvious place to start, would be with the Federal Government, but Justin Trudeau is still Canada’s Poster Boy, so we will give him a pass for now, although it would be nice to see more substantive initiatives to help middle class Canadians and fewer photo ops and bare-chested selfies.

So, let’s move to Kathleen Wynne’s Ontario. Here is a Premier with a 26 per cent approval rating, a discounted credit rating and the largest debt of any sub sovereign government in the entire world. Quite an achievement you might say. She leads the political party that spent hundreds of millions of dollars of our money to move gas plants so that the Liberal Government could get re-elected.

Having reached that goal, she took on Hydro, privatizing much of it and managing (or mismanaging) to create the highest electricity costs in our history. In addition, while she has promised to keep Cap and Trade tax for carbon emissions to a five dollar increase on households, she will be hiding this cost by listing it in the “delivery” charge line of our residential home heating bills. She has refused to list the Cap and Trade charges as a separate item as does British Columbia and Quebec. Consequently, we will never know if the Cap and Trade tax is actually held at five dollars. And to add insult to injury, by burying this tax in our home heating bills, we will be paying H.S.T. on all of it, a tax on a tax!

The net result on all of this nonsense is that Ontario is in serious decline. The cost of energy for many Ontario industries is too high. Some are leaving and others are simply cutting back on employment. Ontario is becoming less and less competitive. And for those who think this is an overreaction, the proof is in the pudding. In this last month alone, Ontario lost 18,900 full time jobs and 17,100 part time jobs.

What astonishes me is the apparent lack of concern for this state of affairs. Some would say that this would never have happened under a Conservative Government. I don’t know about that. What I do know is if this were a Tory Government that had messed up our Province to this degree, there would be shouting from the roof tops and people in the streets. Hard to figure. Hopefully it isn’t too late for a toothbrush to get the bad taste out of our mouths.

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  1. Without a doubt , the biggest governmental disaster since Bob Rae’s introduction to political reality.Apparently in Ontario , the nice bitten , twice shy holds no truth. We have been chewed upon and the silence from those who supported this train wreck is deafening !

  2. Dale Peacock on

    A couple of things…..

    First, Canadians have a history of detesting the premiers we elect so Ms. Wynne’s lack of popularity is somewhat par for the course and not particularly meaningful in the larger context.

    Second , Ontario posted stronger first quarter real GDP growth than Canada, the U.S. and all of the other G7 countries. Second quarter results will be out soon and I suspect it won’t be that different.

    Third, the amount of debt, or even the deficit, are not in themselves that important. What is important is that the debt be stabilized – as in that its growth be less than or equal to the growth of the GDP. If this goal is reached, the amount of debt will, over time, be less and less of a net burden to the GDP. Sweden is a very socialist country and has high but stable debt and is doing just fine. There is a huge difference between government debt and household debt.

    So….I think there is a middle ground here somewhere between ‘Ontario is thriving’ and ‘Ontario is a debt ridden hell hole’ and if we remove the left AND the right wing hyperbole that’s where I think we are. Even with our significant debt levels and challenges on the horizon we are showing some positive signs.

    Ontario’s economy has continued to grow in an uncertain global economic environment and I predict that by the time the next election rolls around there will be some sense that the Wynne government was able to manage the leverage they took on after all.

  3. Conservatives are not completely blameless for the mess we are in. I am convinced that, had we not elected Tim Hudak as party leader, we would have a Conservative government in Queens Park today.
    By the way, does Dale’s first point also cover Prime Ministers (like Stephen Harper)?

  4. The Wynne government has downplayed the cost to us of Cap and Trade by saying only that it will raise the price of gas about 5¢ per litre and raise the cost of home heating about $5.00 a month. The fact is, though, that Cap and Trade will increase the price of ALL goods or services that use fossil fuel energy, making it even more expensive for us to live in Ontario, because companies will just pass the costs of carbon pricing down to us. In other words, Cap and Trade is a new tax on virtually everything. This scheme is expected to generate 1.9 billion dollars in revenue next year, and I think we all know that this money won’t be going toward reducing carbon dioxide emissions. It’ll be nothing more than another slush fund for the Wynne government. Don’t believe me? Here’s the clincher: polluters can continue to pollute as long as they buy more carbon credits. And the government will allow companies that don’t pollute to sell their carbon credits to those who do. How can Wynne claim that this system is meant to stop industrial carbon dioxide emissions? It’s about gouging as much money out of taxpayers as possible while pretending that it’s good for us.
    Yeah, I’d like a toothbrush.

  5. It continues to amaze me (although I am not sure why it should) that Liberals can justify almost anything to defend their leaders. The comment from Dale Peacock that “Third, the amount of debt, or even the deficit, are not in themselves that important” is a good indication of far out thinking. At some point this huge deficit (and also the one being rung up by the Trudeau government) resulting in an ever increasing debt is going to come back and bite us all. Hard as they (Liberals and NDP) may find it hard to believe, history says interest rates will go up at some point, interest payments on the debt will skyrocket, and a larger and larger portion of GDP will be needed just to make those payments. That leaves us with 3 choices – borrow more money and increase the debt/deficit even more, significantly raise taxes (the tried and true left wing way see cap and trade for the first shot), or cut spending by cutting services (something the left finds very hard to do). Pick your poison, folks, because one of these three is coming sooner rather than later and history indicates that Trudeau and Wynne will choose between number one and number 2 (or a combination of both).

  6. These are the very best opinion pieces; the ones which inspire rebuttal (or agreement) from people of all political stripes.

    Hugh, thank you for giving the Prime Minister a pass for once. Only history will judge him, and my bet is that it won’t be too harshly at all. I am also concerned about Ontario’s growing debt; but perhaps Dale’s viewpoint is fairer: give it a little time and perspective before total condemnation.

    Bill, I’m disappointed to hear a gentleman of your intelligence and political background harping on the ancient election of Bob Rae. What would you have done when faced with the largest recession in the recent history of the province. The “social contract” was a reasonable attempt to spread spending power somewhat: that it was not enough in those parlous times is not worthy of mention more than two decades later.

    Ruby, I completely agree with respect to carbon credits. How can the province, or indeed the world, maintain anything but the status quo, with major polluters paying minor polluters for the right to pollute?

    John, It seems that you have been reduced to cheering for higher interest rates in order to bring back Tory governments in Queen’s Park and Ottawa. Rates have been stable for a considerable length of time, and if they start to rise, there are instruments of fiscal and monetary policy to lessen the impact. Is Tony Clements truly more than Stephen Harper with a better singing voice?

    • Interesting comments, Rob. Just a couple of points.
      First, I cannot find anywhere I said I WANTED higher interest rates – I said the were inevitable if one looks at history. I have no idea how long before they do, but rise they will at some point whether we like it or not.
      Second, mentioning that Bill is “harping on the ancient election of Bob Rae” when you close your remarks with a personal shot at Tony Clement and Stephen Harper. I think you could give Harper a rest as he is gone (the same as Rae).
      Finally, I do not see anywhere that indicates I am “cheering for a return of the Tories” as I did not even mention them.
      If you would like to debate the points, fine but the cheap personal shots are unnecessary. I will take a toothbrush too!

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