Ontario, I owe, I owe

How does one distinguish between the major parties in Ontario these days? I have no idea — but the ‘red’ party seems to be very, very good at running up the (balance sheet) red; ‘orange’ appears to be just another shade of red; and ‘blue’, well, it just makes me blue. And another election, someday, to choose between ‘them’? Oh, give me strength.

With ‘red’ we have an endless stream of scandals and profligate waste of the public purse. The gas plant scandal, Orange, eHealth, Green Energy — industrial wind turbines in everyone’s backyard except theirs. The dubious achievement of doubling the Provincial debt with no sign of even slowing down. And ‘conversations’, why, oh, why… since it is all too obvious no one is listening. And who is going to pay for all their excesses since they seem dedicated to driving out business through high power prices? It all makes the folks in Greece and California look like amateurs.

‘Orange’ seems committed to propping up ‘red’ — their socialist ideals seem long gone. One wonders if that distant humming sound is Jack Layton’s ghost spinning in his grave…

‘Blue’ on the provincial level occasionally make sense — but the legacy of their cynical budget slashing by downloading services to lower levels of government without passing along the revenues and of course, forced amalgamations. These are all gifts that keep on giving.  How did anyone get the idea that there were economies of scale in human institutions? All the experience in the world shows that small is beautiful, not bigger is better.

And why are they all so opaque to the experience elsewhere in the world? Enron showed everyone that the power market is a wonderful forum for gaming the need for energy. For a few minutes they were the darlings of the business world, until their house of cards collapsed and exposed what a fraud it all was. Ontario, I remember reading somewhere, hired Enron to design a modern market-driven power system and has made multiple passes at trying to force it to work. Even now, I hear, they are quietly trying to build a futures market for power among municipalities. Some folks (well connected I am sure) will make a ton of money… the rest of us, on the other hand, will have a different experience. Let them eat cake, I guess. Or perhaps the more appropriate mangling would be ‘ask not what you can do for your country, ask rather what you can do your country for…’.

Makes me wonder what the purpose of government is? Are they there to help and support, to do things larger or more long term than private enterprise would entertain? Or are they just another vulture trying to rip their piece off the rotting corpse of the body politic before anyone else gets it?

Reminds me that my father, many years ago, said that the real choice in politics is trying to decide which folks are going to steal the least. He, and many others, have said that career politicians are really in it for the opportunities to make money — oddly echoed by Premier Wynne lately – ‘it takes money to fuel the democratic process’. One wonders just how different governments are from their espoused ideals? And how really different are places like Ontario, the US, Zimbabwe or Kyrgyzstan? Do we really want to know? And if we did, would it make any difference?

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