Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams says the federal government should do more to help Ontario and Quebec's struggling manufacturing sectors.
"The broad shoulders of Ontario have carried this country for a long, long time," Williams told CTV's Question Period on Sunday.
Well, gee. That's a really sweet sentiment, Mr. Williams. But how do you want the federal government to help? Perhaps you note the great injustice of the present equalization scheme which sees Ontario tax-payers sending $20 billion more to Ottawa than they receive back in transfers or services. So is the answer a greater chunk of the equalization pie?
Absolutely not. The difference would just be made up again through cuts to transfer payments. The only real option is the simplest one: decontrol. The suggestion has been put forward by John Tory but has predictably fallen on deaf ears. The moratorium on the minds of businessmen and women in Ontario is - as it has been for years - strangling the province's economy. What sets the present situation apart from the past is that, given our current economic circumstances, business is no longer fully capable of shouldering the weight of governmental interference.
The government's proper role is the protection of its citizens. If the provincial Liberal government is truly interested in protecting the people of Ontario they will cut taxes and, in Tory's own words, immediately ease the regulatory burden on business.
UPDATE: An article by Lorrie Goldstein in today's Ottawa Sun regarding the Ontario recession. Goldstein emphasizes restraint and responsibility in the McGuinty government's actions moving forward. Absent from the article are any tangible policy solutions whatsoever but it still provides a decent contextualization of the present situation.