January 20, 2018 1:00 am
Updated: January 26, 2018 11:15 am

Ontario Premier Wynne plays hardball with small business while striking out handling taxpayers monies

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the National Assembly in Quebec City, Thursday, September 21, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Francis Vachon
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The premier of Ontario is desperate.  So much so, Kathleen Wynne is engaging in repeat attacks on Tim Hortons franchisees responding to the premier’s ill-prepared raising of the provincial minimum wage.

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Fiscal responsibility is not something the premier is particularly conversant with, it would appear. Certainly not as far as the provincial Auditor General’s review of the Wynne government’s track record of managing the people’s money is concerned.  Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report was issued Dec. 6, about three weeks ago.

READ MORE: Ontario premier criticizes owners of Tim Hortons franchise, says workers shouldn’t be used as pawns

Highlights:  Need for Better Government Planning to Act on Known Issues. Government’s Financial Statements Becoming Increasingly Unreliable.  Ontario Not Fully Prepared to Respond to Large-Scale Emergencies. Province Missed Out on Millions in Laboratory Savings. Government Pays Millions for Hundreds of Buildings That Sit Empty. Ministry Settlement Funding for Newcomers Needs Better Oversight. Government Spending on Advertising at a 10-Year High.

READ MORE: Auditor general finds Ontarians pay millions for ineligible power generator costs

Premier Wynne, instead of focusing on the Auditor General’s repeat reports on her government’s mismanagement of the province’s finances, continues to call out Tim Hortons franchisees, knowing fully well they are not able to respond because the Brazilian hedge fund which owns Timmies has warned franchisees to keep their mouths shut.

Attacking the children of Tim Hortons founder Ron Joyce was a particularly low and undignified blow.  The premier verbally assaulted the Joyce family for what she says are benefits cuts for employees.

READ MORE: Ontario government obscuring true cost of hydro bill cuts: Auditor general

Does Premier Wynne have any idea what the benefits structure was and how it changed?  Does she accept any responsibility for such changes?  Is the Premier at least willing to acknowledge the Joyce family has created many thousands of jobs across Canada, has paid huge amounts of money in taxes and has for decades supported community endeavours from coast to coast to coast?

If harming socioeconomically challenged Ontarians is the benchmark for an attack, then Premier Wynne might consider how many thousands of Ontario families and seniors on fixed income her government harmed by the handling of the hydro file.

WATCH: Cuts to Cobourg Tim Hortons workers’ benefits draws large protest

Rates rose so dramatically for the poorest among us they couldn’t turn on the lights or heating in their homes on cold days and nights.  And if they did, the power would be cut because hydro rate increases were impossible to meet and bills went unpaid.  Unpaid not because people didn’t want to pay.  They couldn’t pay.

Ms. Lysyk, reporting on the Ontario premier’s solution for province-wide electricity shut-offs, the Fair Hydro Plan, accuses the Wynne government, in a special report, of hiding “from Ontarians the real financial impacts of its electricity rate reduction” and “the government is proposing to use accounting that does not follow its own policy for preparing financial statements.”

READ MORE: Tim Hortons protests: Why the controversy has hit such a nerve with Canadians

The crunch in Bonnie Lysyk’s special report reveals the Kathleen Wynne government has “created an elaborate, non-transparent and complicated financing structure….to be used to avoid recording the true cost of its policy decision and avoid recording losses and an increase in net debt.”

How much of an increase for the provincial taxpayer?  In May of 2017, the Financial Accountability Officer reported that this structure could cost ratepayers about $4 billion dollars in extra interest, for a total of $21 billion dollars in interest expense.

Double-double for you Madame Premier?

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