Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan
Credits: STAN BEHAL/QMI AGENCY
No doubt Duncan is also shocked to discover the United States has elected its first black president, the Harper Conservatives have a majority government in Ottawa and Jean Charest is no longer the premier of Quebec, since all those things have happened since 2008 as well.
On Thursday, Duncan announced top executives in the Ontario public service are going to have their salaries capped at $418,000 annually - twice the premier's pay.
The 150 executives who now earn more than that will have their pay frozen at current levels. New hires to positions where the pay is greater than $418,000 will not be rolled back, but will have their compensation frozen. Meanwhile, all civil service managers will have their pay and bonuses frozen for two years.
This largely symbolic legislation will save taxpayers $12 million annually, chump change compared to the province's $13 billion deficit. It's really the set-up for wage restraint legislation Duncan will soon introduce for all of Ontario's 1.3 million public servants, as has already been done for teachers.
While we support this legislation, Duncan, and more importantly, Premier Dalton McGuinty, are a day late and a dollar short - or, more accurately, several years late and billions of dollars short - in restraining public sector wages.
Of course, public sector union leaders will object, because that's what they do. But ever since the 2008 economic meltdown that has caused so much hardship and unemployment in the private sector, they've been living in a dream world and are largely irrelevant.
Since NDP Leader Andrea Horwath first suggested executive pay freezes and Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has been pushing for broader pay freeze legislation, Duncan's long overdue wage restraint package should have little trouble passing the minority legislature.
But if Queen's Park is ever going to get serious about eliminating its massive deficit and debt, it's not going to be done by a Liberal or NDP government.
Bills like the one Duncan introduced Thursday amount to feather dusting of public sector wages, when what's needed is a wrecking ball.