02.17.2012 09:53 AM

Drummond

Some of you have asked me what I think of his report.

I don’t like it.

Not just because of the content, but because I believe we have empowered elected and unelected officials to determine policy.  Not outside consultants.

Yes, yes, I know: I’m an idealistic democrat, in my old age. And it’s true: I believe the people’s will should generally be supreme, and that the people should be determining the agenda.  Not consultants.  (And I’m a consultant!)

There.  You asked what I thought, now you know.

27 Comments


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    Paul says:

    The problem with leaving “elected officials” in charge of determining what to cut is that they have an agenda (which is to get re-elected.)

    Case in point: even though the Drummond report recommends nixing all-day kindergarten (which was nothing more than a sop to the powerful teachers’ union in the first place) we have already heard that it’s not going anywhere. And you know damn well that health-care spending is not going to be touched either. I’m actually expecting a “health premium” increase to be announced any day now, to be honest…

    We are in real trouble here, and there can be no sacred cows. Your guy McGuinty has gotten us in deep and I sure hope that he is man enough to make the tough decisions that might get us out of this mess. I’m not holding my breath.


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      Chris says:

      the Drummond report recommends nixing all-day kindergarten (which was nothing more than a sop to the powerful teachers’ union in the first place)

      I keep hearing this talking point, but I think it’s BS. All day kindergarten is based on solid research into the benefits of early learning.


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        George says:

        yes, as commissioned by the folks who benefit most from it – teacher unions. McGuinty admitted when he rolled this out that it would cost more than we had. It’s not any less sustainable now. Wrong program at the wrong time. It also sure as heck didn’t roll out well in communities where the number of kids is dwindling.


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          smelter rat says:

          Nonsense. There is a ton of research out there that supports early learing well before kindergarten even. Google is your friend.


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            Andrew says:

            Google is the last place to do proper academic research. Please go to a library and search a proper database (and you will find many well done reports for and against).


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      Harith says:

      The one guy panders to unions, the other guy panders to corporations. Neither will ever truly pander to us, the regular people.


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    Ottawacon says:

    I actually liked Drummond’s suggestion that individual policies could be substituted as long as they were not simply dropped. By contrast, the Tories I have heard so far seem to be blowing their brains out by seemingly abandoning the policy-making role they aspire to – the critique they are constructing seems to be that McGuinty is at fault for not having a detailed implementation plan for every single line item in the report.


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    que sera sera says:

    Of course, Gord, I suspect on Planet Conservative it is an entirely different story when the feds spend $90,000 a day on a consultant ………..


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    Pat says:

    Yep, empowered elected and unelected officials that have no idea what they are doing. Do you really think Dalton, or Dwight, know nearly as much about economics as Drummond?

    Another way of looking at it – this is perfect for Dalton. He now has carte blanche to do the right thing rather than the politically expedient thing, and little Timmy hudak can’t say shit…


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      Marc L says:

      Actually, Timmy Hudak did say shit — stupid shit. Right after repeating Drummond’s comment that this is not a smorgasbord that you can just pick and choose from, he started picking and choosing. he would do no better than McGuinty, and he was clinging to the same pie-in-the-sky unrealistic assumptions as McGunty during the campaign.
      On the first point, no Dalton and Dwight do not know what they are doing. You cannot spend your way to prosperity with money you do not have. It eventually comes back to bite you. These people have been in dream world for years, spending like money is free. Time to wake up boys!


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    Marc L says:

    I think Drummond has done a fantastic job. The advantage of having an outside consultant like DD do the work is that he wil put all the cards on the table and tell it like it is. He is clearly more competent than anyone at Ontario Finance to do that and was not vulnerable to political pressure, which is key. For that (and only for that) McGuinty deserves recognition. The report’s economic assumptions are pretty difficult to contest. It’s a honest and straightfoward assesment of the challenges that the Ontario Government faces and the choices that it will have to make. In any event, small changes in the assumptions do not change the conclusions, as he pointed out in the poress conference. Don himself acknowledged that the government does not have to take all of his recommendations, but was also very clear that for every one it decides not to keep it will have to find an alternative source of revenues or spending cuts if it wants to meet the budget target. One thing he did point out is that McGuinty could choose to raise taxes — Don was not asked to look at that side of the ledger. But that too has consequences for the competitiveness of Ontario’s economy.
    I’m not sure McGuinty knew what he was getting himself into. Knowing Drummond, it was pretty clear in my mind what was going to come out of this. I just hope more governments would take a cold hard look at their fiscal situations — Quebec in particular. Wake-up calls are good.


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      VH says:

      The Drummond report will not help Ontario.

      From ( the Drummond Report) (<-- link): 1) "Ontario’s revenues now do not cover its spending." 2) "relative to GDP, Ontario’s spending is one of the lowest among the provinces." 3) "The roots of Ontario’s current fix lie in both the economy and in the province’s record of failing to keep growth in government spending in line with revenue growth." See that trick? We take in more money that we spend BUT WE SPEND LESS THAN MOST OTHER PROVINCES but even so we can't lower spending fast enough because REVENUE GROWTH HAS SUCKED BECAUSE THE ONTARIO ECONOMY HAS TANKED. and the coup de grace: 4) "our mandate expressly forbids us from proposing new or increased taxes" So rather than signing up to fix the root cause ("it's the economy stupid") Drummond has *willingly* signed up to write a b.s. report that will not actually solve anything. Nobody forced him to do this. Solve the economic growth problem and you fix the problem. This entire exercise is bullsh*t. Liberals, as it turns out, are no better than Conservatives. With the exception of Jean Chretien, of course.


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        VH says:

        Above “take in more money” s/b “take in less money”. Sorry.


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          Bill says:

          I think this report will help Ontario. The bread and butter of Ontario was the manufacturing. These good paying jobs continue to leave the province. Low growth is the new reality. I would like to see major cuts and no tax increase.


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        Marc L says:

        Drummond was very clear about the economic growth problem. That is a key part of the picture. So, how do you “solve” the growth problem? Please tell us, since us economists are such an ignorant bunch.
        By the way, Drummond is also very clear that he was only asked to look at the spending side. If you want to raise taxes, then you need less spending cuts (and Drummond did go a bit beyond his mandate by proposing some new sources of revenue).
        What’s so great about Chretien — didn’t he cuit as well?


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    Michael says:

    Holy crap on a cracker, are you ever out to lunch if you think the reason the LPO commissioned this report was because they needed to be taught how to be fiscally responsible.

    I am sure the Premier, the Minister of Finance and the bureaucrats at Finance know exactly what needs to be done to be fiscally responsible. What this report does is give them political cover for what they are going to do in the coming months and years.

    If they follow the recommendations then they are just doing what respected economist Don Drummond outlined in his report. If they do anything less, it’s “look what great guys we are, think of how much worse off you would be if we did what Drummond said to do”

    This is a no loose proposition for the LPO. 😉


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    Blair says:

    There are so many easy targets to get started. Scrap TVO. Why is a provinical gov’t in the TV broadcasting business? How about millions and millions spent on bilingualism in the province? For goodness sake, let’s get started. Suck it up and start cutting starting with the easy ones. We can’t go on like this. Remember Drummond is only aiming to eliminate the DEFICIT years from now. In the meantime, even with massive cuts we will a run an annual deficit ADDING to the DEBT. The DEBT will be much bigger years from now. Once the deficit is zero, we need years of SURPLUS to pay down the debt. This is a financial emergency. What say you Warren? Do you have any suggestions to cut, and not piddly things saving a few hundred million.


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    jay (alta.) says:

    I think Don Drummond is the new John Gomery–he’s even giving doctors advice on how to prescribe drugs.


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      Warren says:

      Bingo.


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      Bill says:

      Not correct. The people that should be making these recommendations are MIA. Incompetent people are running the show right now. We need people like Don Drummond sounded the alarm bells. Wish this report would have come out before “destroy Ontario” McGuinty was re-elected.


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        james curran says:

        Sure Bill. Welcome back to the Mike Harris years if this ridiculous report gets adopted.


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          Bill says:

          I would like nothing more than to have Mike Harris back. I’m a huge fan. I think he did a great job. He was basically a decade before his time. The public sector pay/pension needs a big reset.


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    dave says:

    In a way, it is good to have a banker recommend what is to be cut, and what is not to be even mentioned. This kind of public report and recs from a banker point of view is way better than having lobbying happening behind closed doors.


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      Shaun says:

      I can’t remember the last time a banker had my best interests in mind.


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    Cam Prymak says:

    Both Liberal and PC election platforms counted on economic growth to carry us out of deficits. We see President Obama backing away from his early deficit reduction pledges, reinforcing the fact that the economic recovery may have begun but has a long way to go there.

    That, plus the structural changes in the Canadian economy make it unwise to assume we will see a resurgence in full time jobs and government revenues in the very short term.

    Take the medicine now.


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    RT says:

    Drummond seems to be nothing more than a cover for austerity. If Dalton was serious, wouldn’t brining in multiple points of view brought in better ideas? He could have even encouraged the PCs and NDP to study the issue on their own to get a broader perspective?. He’s in a minority situation so he’s going to have to wheel and deal with one of them anyway. By refusing to look at the tax issue, he’s basically tied one hand behind his back. Of course there are some good things in Drummond; he show’s where there is needless duplication in things like dealing with mental health, and everyone has been demanding more accessible home care which he supports. I’m also glad that Drummond is encouraging the province to look at its royalty rates for resource and mineral extraction. Ontario has some of the lowest royalty rates in Canada. DeBeers can afford to pay more… these are ethical diamonds coming out of Ontario you know!


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    Mike says:

    I was very surprised by what was not in the recommendations as much as what was. I know the Education sector fairly well…Teacher, Union Activist, Blah blah blah….Most of what he recommended there is items we negotiate – class size, pension (OTF and the Government co-sponsor), benefits, and compensation (incl. sick day gratuities). What surprised me was that he did not recommend the Province move to one publicly funded education system. The redundancies created by the current system, which I point out has been condemned by the UN, could have been eliminated resulting in massive savings.
    Even if you ignore the obvious low lying fruit of attacking public sector compensation Drummond is recommending a 25% cut in per-pupil funding for texts, classroom supplies, and computers – we already do not have enough in these areas. I teach in a large school in a rural community. There are 4 grade 10 applied history classes running this semester – we have one class set of textbooks to be shared between the four classes.
    I could go on and on about the other issues but I think Drummond missed the mark in the Education sector.

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