Lost in the current flurry of Ontarios election campaign is the one key issue facing the province, and indeed all of Canada: Ontarios laggard economic performance is dragging down the national economy.
The economic news coming out of Ontario in recent days has been far from positive. The province's economic and fiscal position is weak and new analysis released by the Ministry of Finance suggests its economy will remain sluggish for the foreseeable future.
On February 18th British Columbians will be watching to see if finance minister Mike de Jongs budget sets out a plan to deliver on his governments ambitious goals with respect to economic growth and job creation. And the truth is, the province needs it. The past year was a disappointing one for BC in terms of economic and employment growth compared to other provinces.
When I lived in the idyllic city of Victoria, a photocopier salesman once tried to lease me one of his machines by noting mine was made in Japan (while his was manufactured in Canada). He told me I should lease the latter and not the former to support Canadian jobs.
The salesman couldn't have known this, but I'd spent two years in the land of the rising sun, so he lost me at 'Japan.' I like it when my fellow Canadians have jobs; I also like it when my friends in Japan are employed.
In late August, Ontario offered up $2-million to Dana Holdings and $3-million to Centra Industries, both in Cambridge, Ontario. Predictably, the usual flawed justification was offered: taxpayer subsidies will create or preserve jobs.