Ontario Election 2018

Doug Ford Said Some Crazy Things at the Budget Media Scrum

The idea that this man could become Ontario's premier should frighten everyone who believes in responsible government, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum.

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 29, 2018

Here are just some of the crazy things Doug Ford said yesterday at his crazy budget media scrum.

"Yeah, the only people that should be locked up are the Liberals for this budget, I'll tell ya."

Because when you're a Trump-style populist, it's totally acceptable to threaten to lock up your political opponents.

"We saved the taxpayers over a billion dollars [in the City of Toronto], we drove efficiencies."

Four years later, Doug Ford keeps saying this and it keeps not being even close to true. This bogus claim conflates budget cuts, service cuts, user fee increases, strategic reserve drawdowns, and even budget increases that were more modest than hypothetical higher alternatives.

"get rid of the carbon tax"

Ontario does not have a carbon tax. We don't have a carbon tax. We have a cap-and-trade system. If Ford kills the cap-and-trade system, the Federal government will actually impose a carbon tax.

"But taxing people to death"

This is not literally or even figuratively true. In Ontario, taxes have been cut multiple times over the past decade, and we are one of the lowest-taxed jurisdictions in North America.

"It's amazing how they promise billions of dollars for children that haven't even been born."

He's talking about the Liberal promise of publicly funded child care starting in 2020 for children from two and a half years until they start Kindergarten. Since that is less than two years from now, some of the children who would benefit from this have already been born.

"I'm surprised that the finance minister and the premier aren't up here saying 'we're giving away free cars,' 'we're going to pay your mortgage', 'you get a free car, you get a free car, you get a free car' - that's next on their agenda."

There's a huge difference between subsidized child care, which most industrialized countries already provide, and giving away cars. It's scary that the man poised to become the next premier doesn't seem to understand that difference - or, worse, understands the difference but doesn't care.

And let's remember that this is the former Toronto City Councillor who literally gave away $20 bills to residents at a public housing complex in 2013 in a shameless and corrupt vote-buying stunt.

Doug Ford handing out $20 bills at a public housing development in 2013
Doug Ford handing out $20 bills at a public housing development in 2013

"I'm passionate about helping single family homes, parents, that are struggling to go to work, getting taxed to death by this government"

He keeps saying this, and it keeps not being even remotely true.

"I'm not going to increase taxes by $2 billion. I'm not going to target tens of thousands of businesses and go after them on new taxes. I'm not going to go after 1.8 million people and increase their taxes and charge them $200 more..."

The budget proposes eliminating the provincial surtax and replacing it with a new set of tax brackets. For someone earning more than $71,500, that amounts to a $168 tax increase. To pay $200 extra, you would have to earn $130,000.

"...when they're already struggling with the highest hydro rates in North America."

That is not even close to being true. Ontario's electricity rates are a bit higher than average for North America [PDF] but nowhere near the highest.

Chart: Comparative Index of Electricty Prices, Residential Customers
Chart: Comparative Index of Electricty Prices, Residential Customers

California, Michigan, Massachusetts, and New York all have significantly higher electricity rates.

"We're going to create jobs, we're going to lower hydro rates. And the way we're going to create jobs is by getting rid of the carbon tax and making sure we have a friendly environment to create businesses."

No matter how many times he says it, Ontario does not have a carbon tax.

"The difference between Kathleen Wynne and Doug Ford, I don't remember Kathleen Wynne ever going into a Toronto Community Housing building to actually see how people are struggling. Doug Ford has been in hundreds of them, and met with thousands of people in Toronto community housing."

That would be when Ford was handing out cash to residents.

"[The public debt is] $311 billion as of today and by the end of the year it will be jumping up to $350 billion."

According to the proposed budget, the debt is expected to increase to $325 billion, not $350 billion. That is a big number, but Ontario is a big economy, one of the largest in North America with 40% of Canada's population.

The important number is not the absolute size of the debt, but the size of the debt in relation to the size of the economy as a whole. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is actually in the middle of the pack for Canadian provinces.

Chart: Canadian Provincial Debt/GDP Rations, 2017
Chart: Canadian Provincial Debt/GDP Rations, 2017

"I don't believe any of their promises - they are broken promises. Let's go back to some of their promises. The Liberals said they were going to balance the budget - they did not balance the budget. To the contrary, if you add up what the Auditor General said, it is $8 billion."

The Auditor-General disputed the 2017 budget by arguing that the pension surplus should count as a liability, not an asset. The Ontario government struck an expert panel led by Tricia O'Malley, the chair of the Canadian Actuarial Standards Oversight Council. The panel concluded that the government was following accounting best practices and its numbers were correct.

"I was up by Sault Ste. Marie, up in the North, and we had the Premier saying she was going to build a road of a billion dollars to the ring of Fire. That never happened."

The government has been carefully negotiating with First Nations communities for the past three years to get an agreement on building a network of highways linking Ontario's highway system to the Ring of Fire mineral resource deposits in Northern Ontario. The road network is expected to begin construction in 2019.

"The carbon tax, it is hard enough to compete with the world market right now."

Sing it with me: Ontario does not have a carbon tax.

Ford explained his bizarre claim that a family of five is going to face a $1,000 tax increase under the proposed budget.

"Ford: So, what it is, $200 times 5 is $1,000."

"Q: So, the kids are having a tax increase?"

"Ford: I am not saying kids. If you have people living in your house, and there are five people in your house, and those people are paying taxes, there is going to be five people paying $200 more in taxes. It works out to be $200 a person."

The only scenario in which Ford's bizarre claim holds is an imaginary family consisting of five adults, each earning $130,000 a year - for a combined family income of $650,000 a year - in order for their total tax bill to go up by $1,000.

And in response to a question from a CBC reporter:

"My pals at the CBC. I know a way to cut some money."

Folks, Doug Ford is Ontario's own Donald Trump. He slings dumb slogans in place of basic policy understanding. He keeps repeating easily-debunked lies. He lashes out at the news media for doing their jobs by asking him questions. He shamelessly stokes cynicism and resentment.

The idea that this man could become Ontario's premier should frighten everyone who believes in responsible government, no matter where you sit on the political spectrum.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 29, 2018 at 15:05:01

So, let's see...

  1. Mr. Ford has promised to reduce taxes by $10 billion in income tax and HST cuts.
  2. Mr. Ford has promised to reduce electricity bills by $1.9 billion dollars.
  3. Mr. Ford has promised to keep existing government programs, and not fire any government employees.
  4. Mr. Ford has promised to eliminate the deficit.

One does not have to be a professional Accountant to conclude that anyone who promises to cut government taxes but not any government employees or programs AND to balance the budget is... err... shall we say "mathematically challenged."

And since I am a professional Accountant, it is rather insulting to hear him claim that there is $6 billion in mysterious undefined "waste" that has somehow magically eluded the Auditor-General and all the Accountants who work for the government.

Comment edited by KevinLove on 2018-03-29 15:06:21

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By ScreamingViking (registered) | Posted March 30, 2018 at 02:08:05

The sad fact is there are plenty of people who will eat this up. Who will accept it as truth. Who will not bother to ask questions or look more deeply at the details regarding anything Ford says, to back up or debunk his points.

We see it in local debates over a multitude of issues. It's about to be tested at a provincial level in a way we've not seen before.

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By Fucktheliberals (registered) | Posted March 30, 2018 at 02:55:38

The liberal government is sooo fucked up they have you thinking they will make ontario better with more debt this is total bs trudeau is a prime example of liberal BULLSHIT

Comment edited by Fucktheliberals on 2018-03-30 02:56:27

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By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted April 01, 2018 at 21:00:50 in reply to Comment 122742

Stay classy. Can you add anything intelligent or intelligible to the conversation?

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By HiramWalker (registered) | Posted March 31, 2018 at 10:26:16

You gotta love Doug's threat to the CBC reporter. Everything he says contains implicit threats to those outside Ford Nation.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 02, 2018 at 16:30:19

I'm voting for him. I bought a membership so I could vote for him and I donated three times. FordNation. Rob was a great man and a great mayor. Doug will be just as great or better.

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By TreyS (registered) | Posted April 02, 2018 at 16:32:31

I also donated to Caroline Mulroney because her father was great. And Tanya Granic Allen who also got my second vote. Watch for her in Doug's senior cabinet.

Comment edited by TreyS on 2018-04-02 16:33:11

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By Missy2013 (registered) - website | Posted April 10, 2018 at 10:41:15

The crazy & terrifying element is that plenty of voters dont & wont care about facts, graphs or statistics. They hate Wynne and want her out. They’ll vote Ford for a lot of emotional reasons but few logical or enlightened ones.

The level of civil discourse is diminishing daily with vitrolic tirades against ‘others’ and ‘elites’. The bots, trolls, and Ford campaigners will do everything they can (or are paid to do) to disrupt, dislocate & destroy any ‘reasonable or reasoned debate’. They really DONT CARE one iota about the Truth.

Sensible and moderate voters are facing a tidal wave of destabilizing “anarchy”. All political performance is gearing up now for the SOLE end of gaining power by a kind of brute force. That Ford is a braggard and fib inventor means nothing. He’s a fighter, a pusher, and grandstander. That’s the front-running bully that Wynne, and others on the “left” are up against.

It’s going to be a slug-fest, initially.

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