Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty
Credits: MORRIS LAMONT/QMI AGENCY
Overheard at a meeting of Overspenders Anonymous Tuesday:
"It's always easy to spend more.
"It's so much harder to spend less."
Yep, those were the actual words of Premier Dalton McGuinty - who has driven this province so far into debt, Moody's put us on a credit watch in December.
He sure knows how to spend more.
He might just as well have said, "Hello, my name is Dalton - and I am addicted to other people's tax money."
McGuinty was scolding NDP Leader Andrea Horwath for only coming up with spending initiatives - not savings - in her laundry list of demands she wants in return for her support of the budget.
Hey, Andrea - don't you know spending beyond other people's means is strictly reserved for Liberals?
How dare she move in on their territory?
According to McGuinty, it's up to the two opposition parties to dig us out of the mess he's landed us in.
For all that McGuinty's claiming the Tories are provoking an election, "no one wants," in fact, he's the provocateur.
His party came out with an irresponsible, unsupportable budget that didn't tackle the major causes of his overspending - full-day kindergarten, subsidies on hydro bills, tuition cuts, etc.
Economist Don Drummond provided McGuinty and Finance Minister Dwight Duncan with a road map to get us out of their mess.
They threw the map out the window - and we're heading over a cliff.
McGuinty and Duncan sanctimoniously said they were willing to negotiate with all the parties to make the minority government work - then did the exact opposite.
Their hypocrisy is breathtaking.
They couldn't even get along with the other parties well enough to strike a standing committee on the budget - standard practice.
As a result, there were no budget hearings. In effect, the Liberals did exactly what they slammed the Ernie Eves government for when he held the budget outside the Legislature - they ran roughshod over parliamentary procedure.
Horwath's final "ask" is for a job creation tax credit for corporations that hire new workers. It's tough for the Libs to turn this one down, since they had a similar measure in their election platform.
Horwath says voters want politicians to get along.
"I think what they want to see now is the Liberal government, in its minority, make some compromises to make sure the budget is acceptable by at least one of the opposition parties," Horwath told reporters.
Tory Christine Elliott suggested this Liberal brinkmanship is a sign the Grits are prepared to go to the polls.
"They seem to be out there on the campaign trail, kissing babies and talking about how much they don't want an election. That usually says they do," Elliott told reporters.
How would the election play out?
Can those slick-talking Grits really con the electorate into giving them back a majority?
You think voters will be fooled again, after revelations of the horrific abuse of public funds in the Ornge air ambulance scandal - which we didn't know about during the October vote?
Or are they simply counting out PC leader Tim Hudak, whose personal popularity is lower than that of his party?
Voters may take a look at the Liberals and say, "er, no."
Then they'd look at Hudak - and decide to go with Horwath.
It's the same kind of, "a pox on both your houses," sentiment that elected Bob Rae in 1990.
Look how well that worked out.
Liberals need to stop being the bullies in the schoolyard and learn to get along.