Ford’s five-year report card

 Photo credit: Twitter/Doug Ford

It’s time to grade Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s record after half a decade in office. 

No matter how you slice it, Ford isn’t coming anywhere close to the taxpayer honour roll. 

Ford deserves a failing grade on taxes, deficits and debt.  

But with more than two years left in his term, Ford can still turn things around by making three key policy moves. 

First, Ford must cut taxes.

A middle-class income tax cut was at the heart of Ford’s election platform when he first ran for premier in 2018.

Ford promised to reduce Ontario’s second income tax bracket by 20 per cent, saving taxpayers up to $786 a year. And he pledged to lower Ontario’s gas tax by 5.7 cents per litre permanently.

Five years later, Ford’s income tax cut is nowhere to be found, and his gas tax cut remains temporary. 

Ford deserves credit for temporarily cutting the gas tax, which has saved Ontario families hundreds of dollars at the pumps. 

But a temporary gas tax cut is just that: temporary.

Ontarians need permanent relief at the pumps, and Ford must keep his promise to taxpayers. It’s time to make the gas tax cut permanent. 

Ontario families are also paying $2,000 more for groceries this year than two years ago. More than half of Ontarians say they are $200 away from being unable to pay their bills.

Ford’s promised income tax cut would deliver significant relief to Ontarians who desperately need it. 

It’s time for Ford to act.

Second, he must tackle the deficit.

Ford promised to end the Liberal spending binge at Queen’s Park when he knocked Kathleen Wynne out of the premier’s office in 2018.

Government spending increased at three times the rate of inflation under former premier Dalton McGuinty. And it increased at two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation under Wynne.

Ford promised he would take over Queen’s Park and end the province’s spending addiction.

But the party with taxpayer cash is still going five years later. 

Ford increased government spending by $12 billion over and above the rate of inflation since coming to power. And the province still has a deficit of more than $5 billion.

Ford must show leadership and wipe out the deficit. 

The entire deficit could be eliminated if Ford made one policy move: return government spending to 2022 levels. 

If the government returned to what it was spending 12 months ago, Ford could easily balance the books and have money left over to deliver on tax relief.

Finally, Ford must stop his debt dive and pay down Ontario’s debt load.

The Ford government increased the province’s debt by nearly $90 billion in just five short years in office. That’s more debt than Wynne took on during her five years as Ontario’s premier.

Ford must move swiftly to balance the budget. He should also add a line item to all future provincial budgets requiring the government to pay down a certain amount of debt yearly. 

Such an approach would make it harder for future governments to ignore the need to reduce Ontario’s debt burden.

Make no mistake: Ford won his 2018 mandate by promising to cut taxes and slay the deficit. Four years later, he won a second mandate by being the best choice out of a bad bunch. 

But Ford can’t bank on getting lucky again in 2026. Ford must get his grades up by keeping his promises to cut taxes, wipe out the deficit and pay down the province’s heavy debt load. 


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