Sousa needs all the help he can get.

How smart do you think you have to be to forecast an Ontario provincial election in the next two months? The reason is that opposition leaders Horwath and Hudak smell blood. They have Wynne’s Liberals on the run with the cancelled gas generating plants. It is not so much the couple hundred million involved as it is the bad accounting. Losing another $85 million is not just a mission to the moon for Ontario voters.

But the key will be Ontario Treasurer Charles Sousa’s budget. Charles is a nice guy who has never done anything like this before in his life. It is the creative political stuff that the Minister directs. And this is where he needs help.

But turning to former Prime Minister Paul Martin is no answer. If Charles has ever wondered why Paul is a former Prime Minister, it is because he was the Finance Minister in the Chrétien Cabinet of the 90s that balanced Canada’s budget. He took money from the unemployed. He impoverished Medicare. You might recall what the voters thought of dear old Paul as Prime Minister.

It would be like seeking advice from Dwight Duncan, Charles’ predecessor as Treasurer. Dwight even brought in a banker named Don Drummond to help him cut the deficit. Drummond was a big help. He wrote a budget plan for old Dwight that even made Timmy Hudak smile. What is frightening about it is that Charles is also a former banker. We have to hope he never liked Don Drummond over in that other bank.

Mind you, this is the time to say ‘to hell with the banks,’ we’ve got a political party to save. Charles needs a budget theme that Timmy Hudak cannot rail against and has enough good news for Andrea Horwath to have to support. It requires a new era of privatization and entrepreneurship for the province.

We will start by selling off the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. You can sell off the old headquarters as a wholesale operation and make a pot of money on that. Then you start auctioning off the stores. And do not forget, you can get as much revenue from liquor taxes as you ever earned from staid and stuffy LCBO.

Then you kiss off that foreign-owned Brewers Retail operation. Let it bid on doing the recycling operation if they like but sell annual licenses to convenience and grocery stores to sell beer. They will do a much better merchandising job and produce far more tax revenue from smaller lighter packaging.

Now think of the opportunities you can add to this. How about bidding to operate provincial camp sites? And if the NDP get antsy about all this privatization, just point out how many unionized inspectors the province is going to need to police all this action?

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Copyright 2013 © Peter Lowry

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