A lot has been said and written about the Drummond Report. I remember the wide anticipation and wider apprehension that greeted its arrival. Some were weary of its impending “doom and gloom” indictment of the current state of affairs in Ontario. Others saw the report as verification of their long held beliefs that the sky is indeed about to fall. No one dared to dismiss the report.
Well, the Drummond Report landed with a thud on February 15. So far, it has not been a dud. It’s generated a lot of buzz, hoopla and hyperbole. Let’s cut through the bull and get to the real heart of the matter.
We must get our priorities straight. This requires that we be judicious about the spending programs that government initiates, and equally as important, about the sources of revenue that government cultivates. The corporate taxes in Ontario, currently at 11.5%, are already equal to or lower than some Canadian provinces and American states. Lowering them any further will decrease government revenue and mean less money to pay for the things that Ontario needs like healthcare and education. It will also disadvantage everyday people like you and I because we will then have to pay an increased amount of personal taxes. Instead, corporations must pay their fair share of taxes. Banks, insurance companies and other corporations cannot profit to the tune of billions of dollars off our healthy and educated workforce and simply shovel that profit into their cash reserves or paying just their rich shareholders. Ontario needs all sources of revenue at this time and we cannot afford to lower taxes for already wealthy companies.
Any discussion of the Drummond Report is not complete without the prior understanding that we cannot have a strong economy without strong social safety nets. Our best hope for bouncing back from this economic turmoil lies in ensuring that the gap in our neighborhoods and communities between those who have and those who do not have does not increase any further. The enemy of a strong and resilient economy is deep poverty. We will not balance the budget if all we do is merely gut social assistance rates, remove childcare subsidies, close longterm care facilities and raise student tuitions. Cuts to those least able to afford them sinks us all further down. What good does it do us to tyrannically inflict pain on everyday people in the name of balancing the budget today if tomorrow our economy spirals into further collapse because those same people are no longer there to be the backbone of our economy? Instead, Ontario needs to be measured and judicious as it goes about balancing its books. All hands are needed on the deck to achieve this monumental task—yours, mine, corporations’, and rich folks’. Those who can afford to pay more should. As we move forward with the Drummond Report, we must recognize that investments today yield dividends for us all tomorrow.Tags: ontario