Ontario flexing its muscle

Here’s a couple of excerpts from a Toronto Star article this weekend.

…..McGuinty’s argument that Ottawa should match provincial funding for two new Ontario programs. The first is a $500 million advanced manufacturing strategy to support innovation and the adoption of new technologies. The second, the $650 million Next Generation Jobs Fund, is aimed at boosting investments in the next generation of green technologies and the next generation of high-paying jobs.

At the same time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper also should take seriously McGuinty’s argument that the federal employment insurance system treats Ontario unfairly. By McGuinty’s reckoning, the average regular benefit paid per unemployed person last year in Ontario was $5,110, nearly $4,000 less than in other provinces.

So, here’s the deal. Last week we found out that the Feds dropped the so-called fiscal imbalance with Ontario by over $5 billion in the most recent budget.

The Feds also agreed with Ontario to move health and social transfer funding to a ‘per capita’ basis. If this approach was in place over the past 8 years, New Brunswick would have received zip in new health and social transfer funding (because the population did not grow).

Now Ontario wants another billion to bail out Ontario manufacturers and wants its ‘fair share’ of unemployment funding.

What’s funny is that Daulton McGuinty is not calling for ‘per capita’ funding of the fed’s R&D spending across Canada. He’s not calling for the Feds to apportion federal government employment on a ‘per capita’ basis around the country. He’s also not calling for programs like TPC, the auto partnership deal, etc. to be apportioned on a ‘per capita’ basis.

No, he wants all that funding to continue to be biased towards Ontario. Now he wants his share of all that money that was supposed to be used to prop up the weaker provinces. And it looks like he’s going to get it.

Oh, by the way, for now he doesn’t want Equalization – although he has said that it shouldn’t be ‘enriched’.