Is there nothing left for the finance minister?

Finance Minister Charles Sousa must have the easiest job in Ontario. He has Premier Kathleen Wynne making all the big decisions for him and TD Bank’s Ed Clark telling him how to handle the details. Which all goes to prove that in politics three wrongs do not make anything right. Which begs the question: why is Charles taking the blame?

The triumvirate seem to want to tell everybody about this budget before Charles reads it aloud in the Legislature some time in April or May. You would not expect there to be a budget lock-up if everyone already knows what is in the budget.

The only thing that is not really clear is the status of Hydro One. There has been a great deal of talk of selling off some of the hydro distribution systems in Ontario. All it will do is guarantee that consumers on those systems will pay more for electricity. That is just as silly as the Highway 407 fiasco. Selling off a public monopoly to make it a privately owned monopoly is just a license to rip off the public.

Now if we sold off the Liquor Control Board of Ontario that would be different. We would then allow people to open wine stores. Ontario citizens could buy beer where it is convenient in the neighbourhood, even at convenience stores. We could even have interesting and innovative liquor stores. This plan can make money for the province. There can be licenses, sales taxes, income taxes, business taxes and maybe even some lower sales prices for the consumers.

The point is that a monopoly that remains a monopoly should not be sold. A monopoly that can be sold to create new businesses, lots of jobs and more taxes is a very good idea.

But we already know that an up-tight, closed minded Premier has said she will not do that. Liberals used to be reformers. There is no possibility that the Premier is a reformer. She does not want to be a reformer. Nor is she a Liberal, very smart or very competent.

And that, in turn, reflects very badly on Finance Minister Charles Sousa. Charles told us that he used to be a banker. You have to wonder how he felt when the Premier told him that Ed Clark from TD Bank was going to help him do his job.

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