You’ve heard our lament before: Big Government just keeps getting bigger.
In Canada, this reality has transferred our once-enterprising country into a state centered economy, where a growing number of Canadians are on the public-dole and/or receiving government cheques of one kind or another. What’s troubling is there are no siren cries that our growing public sector and the costs of big government come at a price.
The Ontario economy is bulging with no signs of restraint. The federal government (under a Conservative Government!?) is the largest it has ever been – costing Canadians more than it has ever had to pay. We’ve become working zombies with no enterprise, content to redistribute our wealth from one public-sector workers’ paycheque to another. Doesn’t this sound similar to one of those satellite States in the former U.S.S.R.? Why yes! Welcome to Canuckistan!
Here are some facts from recent news articles to put Canuckistan into perspective:
- Federal spending jumped 22 per cent in the first five years the Harper Conservatives were in power. Federal expenditures in 2010-11 totalled $270.5 billion, compared with $222.2 billion in 2006-07. Unbelieveable!
- In its June budget, the Conservatives projected an increase in the federal debt to $610-billion by 2015-16 from $533-billion in 2010-11, an increase of $57-billion in five years. Now, just months later, the debt is expected to reach $641-billion by 2015-16.
- Total provincial debt is already expected to reach $487-billion this year. Add this to the federal debt that’s currently at $586-billion and Canadians are leaving over a trillion dollars ($111,000 per Canadian family) in debt for the next generation to pay. With the federal government and nearly all provinces expecting deficits into the foreseeable future, the total level of debt will increase significantly.
- All provinces (save Saskatchewan) expect to run deficits over the next several years. Provinces such as British Columbia and Manitoba currently have the smallest deficits among the provinces (0.4% and 0.6% of GDP). At the other end of the spectrum is Ontario, with a $16.3-billion deficit (2.6 % of provincial GDP), a number so large it makes up more than 64% of the total deficits recorded by all the provinces in 2011-12, even though the province represents only 38% of total Canadian GDP.
- Ontario Government’s debt is $16 million this year; McGuinty’s government has raised the provincial debt by more than $100-billion since 2003 without once curbing spending. Total debt is heading toward $300-billion. Unsustainable!
- Measured on a comparable basis using OECD numbers, Ontario’s net debt-to-GDP ratio — debt as a percentage of annual economic production — will hit 40% within a few years to place Ontario on par with Spain.
- One-in-five Canadians (20.2%) now work for one level of government or another, for a Crown corporation or for a publicly funded institution such as a school or hospital. In real numbers, there are more than 3.6 million public sector employees out of a total of about 18 million working Canadians.
- About 86% of families and 79% of persons not living in families received some form of government transfer in 2009. The total amount transferred to all Canadians increased 10% in 2009.
- People in the bottom two quintiles of income in Canada (the people in the bottom 20% and the next-lowest 20%) — so 40% of the population — receive nearly 60% of their income from government of one form or another.
Want to read more on this? We suggest Lorne Gunter’s column, We’re all addicted to big government in the National Post: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/11/28/lorne-gunter-were-all-addicted-to-big-government/