Transcript: Fall Economic Statement | Nov 07, 2019

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, spotted blue tie, and a red poppy pin.

A caption on screen reads "Ontario's fall economic statement. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says ONTARIO'S 16-MONTH-OLD
GOVERNMENT BROUGHT DOWN ITS
FIRST BUDGET LAST SPRING TO VERY
MIXED REVIEWS.
IN FACT, THE FINANCE MINISTER
THAT INTRODUCED IT, DIDN'T
SURVIVE THE CABINET SHUFFLE THAT
CAME JUST A COUPLE OF MONTHS
LATER.
YESTERDAY WE GOT THE
GOVERNMENT'S MID-YEAR ASSESSMENT
OF HOW IT'S GOING SO FAR.
WITH US TO CRUNCH THE NUMBERS,
AND MAYBE TALK A BIT OF POLITICS
TOO, WE WELCOME:
IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL,
DON DRUMMOND, THE
STAUFFER-DUNNING FELLOW IN
GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY AND ADJUNCT
PROFESSOR AT THE SCHOOL OF
POLICY STUDIES AT QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY.

Don is in his sixties, clean-shaven and balding. He's wearing glasses, a tan suit, dark gray shirt and checkered blue tie, as well as a red poppy pin.

Steve continues AND HERE IN OUR STUDIO:
JASMINE PICKEL, INTERIM ONTARIO
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR THE
CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION...

Jasmine is in her thirties, with long straight blond hair. She's wearing a black blazer, white shirt, and red poppy pin.

Steve continues AND JEFF GRAY, QUEEN'S PARK
REPORTER FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL.

Jeff is in his late thirties, clean-shaven, with short, side-parted brown hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, blue shirt, striped purple tie and red poppy pin.

Steve continues WE ARE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME
JASMINE, YOU FOR THE FIRST TIME
TO OUR PROGRAM.
JEFF, YOU HAVEN'T BEEN HERE IN
TEN YEARS OR SO.

Jeff says A LITTLE WHILE.

Steve says DON, YOU'RE NOT
QUITE A REGULAR BUT IT'S GREAT
TO HAVE YOU BACK ON OUR PROGRAM.
AND CAN I SAY, CREDIT NEEDS TO
BE GIVEN WHERE IT'S DUE.
WE HAVE A LITTLE SNOW IN TORONTO
AND WHEN IT SNOWS IN TORONTO,
YOU CALL IN THE ARMY OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
YOU CYCLED HERE TODAY, JEFF.
THAT'S AMAZING.

Jeff says NO PARADE.

Steve says NO PARADE.
BUT GOOD FOR YOU.
SHELDON, CAN I SHOW THIS TO THE
CAMERA?

He holds up a booklet titled "A plan to build Ontario together."

Then, he says
THAT IS IT RIGHT THERE.
THAT IS THE SO-CALLED FALL
ECONOMIC STATEMENT, WHAT THE
GOVERNMENT SAYS IS THE STATE OF
THE BOOKS IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO RIGHT NOW.
THEY CALL IT A PLAN TO BUILD
ONTARIO TOGETHER.
DON DRUMMOND, I'LL GO TO YOU
FIRST FOR YOUR INITIAL FEEDBACK.
WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS THE MOST
NOTEWORTHY PART OF THE STATEMENT
FOR YOU?

The caption changes to "Don Drummond. Queen's University."
Then, it changes again to "A look at the books."

Don says BACKING OFF
ON THE EDGE, STRANGELY ENOUGH,
CHARACTERIZING SOME LOWER DEGREE
OF EXPENDITURE CUTS AS ACTUALLY
SPENDING INCREASES, I DON'T KNOW
HOW YOU CAN PORTRAY IT THAT WAY.
BUT PULLING BACK ON THE NUMBERS
AND THE DEGREE OF EXPENDITURE
CUT, BUT PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT
THAN THAT, TRYING TO CREATE SOME
KIND OF DIFFERENT ATTITUDE OR
SENTIMENT THAT'S NOT QUITE AS
GUNG HO, BRAVO, IT'S LIKE THEY
BOASTED IN THE BEGINNING HOW
TOUGH IT WAS GOING TO BE.
NO PUBLIC HAD EVER WANTED THEIR
GOVERNMENT TO COME ACROSS THAT
WAY BEFORE.
TRYING TO HAVE CREDIBILITY IN
THEIR NUMBERS.
WHEN THAT GOES, THE CREDIBILITY
IS EASILY LOST AND HARD TO GET.
THEY SO EXAGGERATED THE DEFICIT
AT THE BEGINNING, ONE DOESN'T
QUITE KNOW WHETHER WE SHOULD
BELIEVE THESE PROJECTIONS NOW.

Steve says MORE ON THAT IN A
BIT.
JASMINE, FOLLOW UP, IF YOU
WOULD?
WHAT WAS THE MOST NOTEWORTHY
PART OF THIS ECONOMIC STATEMENT
FOR YOU?

The caption changes to "Jasmine Pickel. Canadian Taxpayers Federation."

Jasmine says ALTHOUGH
THE GOVERNMENT WANTS TO FOCUS ON
THAT THEY REDUCED THE DEFICIT
QUICKER THAN THEY HAD
ANTICIPATED IN THE BUDGET, THE
ONLY NUMBER THAT STOOD OUT TO ME
WAS WE'VE INCREASED THE DEFICIT
BY 1.6 BILLION DOLLARS FROM WHAT IT WAS
LAST YEAR.
THAT'S ABOUT A 22 percent INCREASE.
AND FROM A GOVERNMENT WHO SAYS THAT THEY WANT TO APPROACH
BALANCE, THIS IS THE WRONG
DIRECTION.
THE DEFICIT IS GROWING.
ALSO WHAT STOOD OUT TO US WAS,
THERE ARE THREE REASONS WHY THE
DEFICIT WAS SMALLER THAN IT WAS
PROJECTED TO BE.
ONE OF THOSE REASONS WAS A
SLIGHT... SLIGHTLY BECAUSE OF
THE GOVERNMENT'S SPENDING
RESTRAINT BUT LARGELY IT WAS
BECAUSE OF AN INCREASE TO TAX
REVENUE BY INCOME TAX AND
CORPORATE TAX, AND THEN ALSO THE
COST OF INTEREST WASN'T NEARLY
AS MUCH BECAUSE, AS YOU KNOW,
OUR CREDIT RATING WAS RESTORED.
IT WAS PREVIOUSLY DOWNGRADED.
SO WHAT YOU'LL NOTICE ABOUT
THOSE THREE FACTORS THAT LED US
TO, YOU KNOW, A SMALLER DEFICIT
THAN ANTICIPATED THIS YEAR IS
THAT THEY COULD EASILY BE ERASED
IF WE WERE TO ENCOUNTER HARSH
ECONOMIC TIMES, WHICH MANY
SOURCES ARE PROJECTING TO COME
QUITE SHORTLY.
SO FOR US, THE BIGGEST ISSUE
HERE IS GOVERNMENT SPENDING.
AS YOU POINTED OUT BEFORE THE
SHOW, STEVE, THERE'S A LOT OF
SIMILARITY EVEN IN NAME TO THE
KATHLEEN WYNNE TWIN BUT ONE
DIFFERENCE...

Steve says THIS ONE IS CALLED
THE PLAN TO BUILD ONTARIO
TOGETHER, AND THE PREVIOUS
LIBERAL GOVERNMENT, THEIR SLOGAN
WAS...

Jasmine says TO BUILD ONTARIO UP.

Steve says NOT MUCH DIFFERENCE.

Jasmine says THE TITLE IS VERY SIMILAR BUT THE CONTENTS ARE.
THIS IS ALMOST LIKE KATHLEEN
WYNNE 2.0 IN TERMS OF SPENDING.
SPENDING HAS REACHED HISTORIC
HIGHS.
FOR US THIS REALLY WASN'T GOOD
NEWS.
IT SHOWED THAT THE GOVERNMENT
NEEDS TO SAVE MORE.

Steve says JEFF, YOUR HEADLINE
ON THIS ONE?

The caption changes to "Jeff Gray. The Globe and Mail."

Jeff says YEAH, THEIR
CURRENT MODE OF OPERATION IS
THEY'RE TRYING TO PLAY NICE.
THEY ARE TRYING TO FIX THE
PROBLEMS THAT THEY HAD WITH THE
FIRST BUDGET, AS YOU MENTIONED
OFF THE TOP.
THIS IS A GOVERNMENT THAT CAME
IN WITH A NEW LEADER, NOT A LOT
IN THE WAY OF TRANSITION
PLANNING, AND THEY MADE A WHOLE
BUNCH OF MOVES THAT I DON'T
THINK EVEN THEY UNDERSTOOD.
SOME OF THEM THEY COULDN'T
EXPLAIN TO US.
FOR INSTANCE, THE PUBLIC HEALTH
FUNDING FORMULA CHANGES, SEEM TO
CHANGE EVERY DAY.
WE DIDN'T REALLY HAVE... IT WAS
IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH
THE CITY OF TORONTO WAS GOING TO
GET FOR PUBLIC HEALTH, BUT THEY
WERE CALLING THEIR CRITICS LIARS
AND SO ON.
IT GOT VERY MESSY.
SO THEY ARE TRYING TO TAP THE
BRAKES.
FOR THE WHOLE FEDERAL ELECTION
CAMPAIGN, WE DIDN'T SEE MUCH OF
THE PREMIER.
WE HAD THE HOUSE... AT LEAST FOR
THE LAST QUARTER CENTURY, RECORD
BREAK.
THEY HAVE NOT JUST BEEN TAPPING
THE BRAKES, SLAMMING THE BRAKES,
AND TRYING TO GET THINGS TO A
STATE WHERE THEY ARE PRESENTING
A MODERATE, MORE CENTRIST,
PRAGMATIC IS THE WORD ONE OF
THEM USED WITH ME YESTERDAY,
TRYING TO LOOK RESPONSIBLE AND
LOOK LIKE GROWNUPS.

Steve says ROD PHILLIPS IS THE
FINANCE MINISTER IN THE PROVINCE
OF ONTARIO, AND HE WAS THE ONE
WHO GAVE THE ECONOMIC STATEMENT
YESTERDAY, AND HE THINKS THEY'VE
MADE GREAT PROGRESS ON THE
DEFICIT NUMBERS, AND HERE'S HOW
HE PUT IT.
SHELDON, THE CLIP, IF YOU WOULD,
PLEASE?

A clip plays on screen with the caption "November 6, 2019."
In the clip, Minister of Finance Rod Philips rises in the Legislature and speaks.

He says TODAY I AM PLEASED TO REPORT
THAT OUR GOVERNMENT IS BEATING
ITS DEFICIT PROJECTION BY
1.3 BILLION DOLLARS.

[APPLAUSE]

Interjection: HEAR, HEAR.

Phillips says THE DEFICIT HAS BEEN REDUCED
TO 9 BILLION DOLLARS FROM THE
10.3 BILLION DOLLARS FIRST PROJECTED IN THE 2019 BUDGET.
OUR GOVERNMENT, MR. SPEAKER, HAS
ADOPTED A BALANCED AND PRUDENT
APPROACH TO GOVERNING.

The clip ends.

Steve says DON, IS THAT AS BIG
AN ACHIEVEMENT AS THE FINANCE
MINISTER WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE?

Don says WELL, IT
ALWAYS MADE ME THINK OF THE ART
AND GOLFING CALLED SANDBAGGING
AND TRYING TO PRESENT YOURSELF
AS A 36 HANDICAP.
BUT YOU KIND OF LOSE CREDIBILITY
IF IT'S THE FIRST NINE HOLES.
PART OF THE PROCESS IS THEY
EXAGGERATED IT.
THEY EXPANDED AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT
OF EFFORT TRYING TO EX-POST MAKE
THE LIBERALS LOOK BAD.
A VERY CURIOUS MOVE BECAUSE THE
ELECTORATE ALREADY DID THAT FOR
THEM.
THEY GAVE THE CONSERVATIVES A
MANDATE AND THEY BASICALLY
OBLITERATED THE LIBERALS.
I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY BOTHER TO
DO THAT.
NO ONE BELIEVED THEIR ORIGINAL
ESTIMATES OF 15 BILLION DOLLARS.
NO ONE BELIEVED THE ONGOING
TRACK IN THE OTHER YEAR.
YEAH, YOU'RE DOING BETTER.
SO THAT'S WHAT EVERYONE WAS
EXPECTING THEM TO DO.

Steve says JEFF, MATH IS MATH.
WHY WOULD THERE BE ANY
CONTROVERSY OVER WHAT THE SIZE
OF THE DEFICIT IS OR OUGHT TO BE
OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN OR WHAT ARE
EVER?

The caption changes to "Jeff Gray, @jeffreybgray."

Jeff says IT'S JUST A
TANGLED TALE BECAUSE THEY CAME
OUT WITH THIS 15 BILLION DOLLAR NUMBER
ORIGINALLY AND A NUMBER OF
PEOPLE, INCLUDING THE FINANCIAL
ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICER SAID THAT
THAT'S NOT THE CASE, AND THEN
THE GOVERNMENT ITSELF HAS
ACTUALLY ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THAT
ISN'T THE CASE.
THE NUMBER THEN CAME DOWN TO
ELEVEN.
THEN WE LEARNED IN SEPTEMBER
THAT IT WAS ACTUALLY 7.4 FOR
LAST YEAR'S DEFICIT.

Steve says 7.4 BILLION DOLLARS.

Jeff says RIGHT.
SO SOME OF THAT IS SPENDING THAT
WAS GOING TO HAPPEN THAT THEY
CANCELLED.
SOME OF THAT IS THE ACCOUNTING
CHANGES WHICH IS TOO COMPLICATED
TO TALK ABOUT BUT HAD TO DO WITH
PENSION ASSETS.
THERE WAS A DISPUTE OVER WHETHER
THEY SHOULD BE INCLUDED OR NOT,
ET CETERA.
SO THE DEFICIT FIGURES HAVE BEEN
BOUNCED AROUND A LOT.
NOW WE'RE LOOKING AT 9, AS
JASMINE POINTS OUT, IS HIGHER
THAN THE DEFICIT WE ALREADY HAD
AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A
CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT THAT
LOVES TO TALK ABOUT HOW BIG THE
DEBT IS AND HOW THEY NEED TO
REDUCE THE DEFICIT BUT IT'S
ACTUALLY GOING UP.

Steve says LET'S CONFIRM THIS,
JASMINE.
THIS GOVERNMENT AT THE MOMENT
WILL SPEND MORE IN THIS FISCAL
YEAR THAN ANY GOVERNMENT IN
ONTARIO HISTORY; IS THAT RIGHT?

Jasmine says CONFIRMED.

Steve says CONFIRMED.
WHY DO I THEN HEAR OPPOSITION
POLITICIANS ALL THE TIME SAY:
THIS PLAN IS PROOF POSITIVE THAT
THERE ARE STILL BIG CUTS TO COME?

The caption changes to "Jasmine Pickel, @JasminePickel."
Then, it changes again to "Fiscal discipline, anyone?"

Jasmine says SO, I MEAN, OBVIOUSLY BIG
UNION BOSSES AND THE PRIME
MINISTER BOTH HAD A
SELF-INTEREST IN TALKING ABOUT
FORD CUTS, BUT AS I'VE SAID ALL
ALONG, WHAT CUTS?
AND IT DIDN'T HELP THAT THE
PREMIER WAS HIDING UNDER A ROCK
FOR THE PAST ELECTION AND
COULDN'T, YOU KNOW, SPEAK THE
TRUTH.
HE ESSENTIALLY CEDED ALL
COMMUNICATIONS TO THE UNION
BOSSES AND LIBERALS SAYING HE
WAS MAKING BIG CUTS.
THE REALITY IS, STEVE, AND HE
HAS INCREASED IT.
EVEN BEFORE THE ECONOMIC UPDATE,
HE INCREASED HEALTH SPENDING.
HE INCREASED EDUCATION SPENDING
700 MILLION DOLLARS BEYOND WHAT KATHLEEN
WYNNE SPENT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says JUST IN TERMS OF
PERCENTAGES, THAT'S 3 percent MORE ON
HEALTH, 4 percent MORE ON EDUCATION,
WHICH ARE RUNNING HIGHER THAN
INFLATION.

Jasmine says WHEN THESE UNIONS AND FRANKLY THE PRIME MINISTER HAVE THIS
IRRESPONSIBLE RHETORIC,
MISLEADING ONTARIANS THAT HE'S
CUT, IT PUTS ME IN A VERY
DIFFICULT POSITION BECAUSE FIRST
I HAVE TO DEFEND HIM AND SAY THE
TRUTH, WHICH IS ACTUALLY HE'S
INCREASED SPENDING.
BUT THEN I HAVE TO SAY WHAT THE
REALITY IS, WHICH IS THAT HE
SHOULD BE DECREASING SPENDING.
SO THERE'S A LOT OF
MISCOMMUNICATION FLYING AROUND,
WHICH I'M GLAD WE HAVE TODAY THE
CHANCE TO CLEAR UP BUT I DON'T
KNOW WHY THE GOVERNMENT HASN'T
CLEARED THIS UP THEMSELVES.

Steve says JEFF, WHAT'S YOUR
VIEW ON WHETHER OR NOT THE
OPPOSITION IS ON FIRM GROUND
WHEN THEY SAY, THIS IS PROOF
THAT MORE CUTS ARE COMING?

Jeff says WELL, YOU KNOW,
THERE'S GOING TO BE LOTS OF, AS
THERE HAS BEEN SINCE FORD WAS
ELECTED, THE OPPOSITION IS GOING
TO BE JUMPING UP AND DOWN AND
TALKING ABOUT CUTS.
THERE ARE CUTS.
THERE ARE CUTS.
THERE ARE TARGETED CUTS.
THERE ARE CUTS THAT HAVE
OCCURRED.
YOU'RE CORRECT, THEY ARE NOT
LARGE.
THEY ARE NOT... THEY ARE CUTS
FROM PROJECTIONS OF WHAT
SPENDING SHOULD HAVE BEEN OR
WOULD HAVE BEEN, DEPENDING ON
WHERE YOU STAND, AND THERE ARE
SOME TARGETED CUTS TO PROGRAMS
LIKE THE LEGAL AID PROGRAM, FOR
EXAMPLE, WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN
RAMIFICATIONS FROM THESE CUTS.
SO YOU HAVE THE PERCEPTION AND
YOU HAVE THE REALITY AND YOU
HAVE TWO SIDES THAT ARE NOT...
THE REAL TRICK, THOUGH, IS THAT
CUTS THAT ARE TO COME.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE
NUMBERS, THE OUT YEARS, THERE
ARE LARGE UNSPECIFIED AMOUNTS OF
MONEY THAT WILL NEED TO BE FOUND
FOR THEM TO HIT THEIR TARGETS.

Steve says BECAUSE THE PLAN IS
STILL TO BALANCE THE BOOKS IN 2024.

Jeff says RIGHT.
BUT WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THOSE
CUTS ARE.

Steve says SO STILL TO BE
DETERMINED...

Jeff says CUTS, AND WE
WERE TOLD, TAX CUTS.

Steve says TAX CUTS AS WELL,
STILL TO COME.
OKAY.
DON, I WANT TO GET YOU IN ON
THIS, AND THAT IS, THERE ARE ANY
NUMBER OF DIFFERENT WAYS OF
DETERMINING WHAT THE STATUS OF
THE BOOKS IS.
ONE IS TO LOOK AT THE OVERALL
DEFICIT NUMBER.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Ontario's net debt-to-G.D.P."

A line chart shows the changes in Ontario's net debt to G.D.P. since 1991. The line shows that the debt increased dramatically after 1991, remained relatively stable up to 2008, when it soared again until 2016. After 2016 it descended a little bit and in the 2019 budget forecast it is expected to increase marginally.

Steve reads data from the slate and says
THE GOVERNMENT SAYS IT'S
1.3 BILLION DOLLARS LOWER THAN IT USED TO BE.
THE OTHER WAY IS TO LOOK AT THE
DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO.
WE'RE GOING TO PUT UP A LITTLE
CHART HERE JUST TO SHOW
EVERYBODY HOW THAT NUMBER HAS
CHANGED OVER THE YEARS.
IF YOU GO BACK A LONG WAY...
LET'S GO BACK TO WHEN BOB RAE
WAS PREMIER.
FROM CONFEDERATION UNTIL 1990,
ESSENTIALLY THE DEBT-TO-GDP
RATIO WAS 13.4 percent.
THAT'S A RELATIVELY LOW NUMBER.
BUT OF COURSE THE RECESSION OF
THE EARLY 1990s REALLY PUT
SOME HOLES IN THAT PLAN AND THE
DEBT-TO-GDP NUMBER WENT UP AND
UP AND UP.
IN THE MIKE HARRIS YEARS, IT
FLATTENED OUT A BIT.
ONE SPIKE IN THE LATE 1990s.
BUT THEN ESSENTIALLY STARTED TO
COME DOWN A BIT.
BUT THEN OF COURSE THE GREAT
RECESSION KICKS IN IN 2008, AND
THE NUMBER NOW AT 27.9 percent STARTS
TO GO UP AND UP AND UP AND UP
AGAIN, AND THEN THROUGH THE
KATHLEEN WYNNE YEARS, IT
CONTINUES TO GO UP TO MORE THAN
40 percent DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO.
40 WAS ALWAYS CONSIDERED THE
MAGIC NUMBER FOR SOME REASON.
YOU DIDN'T WANT TO GO HIGHER
THAN 40 percent DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO.
THIS GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO HAVE
IT GO OVER 40 percent NEXT YEAR AGAIN.
THIS YEAR THEY'RE RIGHT AT 40.
NEXT YEAR 40.1.
CAN YOU TELL US, BASED ON THAT
METRIC, WHAT YOU CONSIDER THE
STATE OF THE BOOKS IN THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO TO BE RIGHT NOW?

Don says WELL, FIRST
OF ALL, I DON'T THINK 40 percent IS A
MAGIC NUMBER.
IT'S FAR TOO HIGH.
AND I DON'T THINK WE NEED TO GO
BACK HISTORICALLY TO BOB RAE'S
ERA.
LET'S JUST GO BACK TO THE YEAR
OF THE FINANCIAL CRISIS IN 2008.
THAT WASN'T VERY LONG AGO.
THE NET DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO IN
ONTARIO THEN WAS 26 percent.
IT HAS GONE FROM 26 TO 40 IN THE
BLINK OF AN EYE.
IF YOU LOOK AT A LONG-TERM TREND
OF ONTARIO, THE PATTERN IS VERY
DISTURBING, VERY DISCONCERTING.
IT GOES UP WHEN THE ECONOMY GOES
DOWN.
IT SHOULD THEN RESTORE TO THE
LOWER LEVEL AS THE ECONOMY
RECOVERS, BUT IT NEVER DOES.
IT'S LIKE A STEPLADDER.
IT GOES UP WHEN THINGS ARE GOING
BAD, AND THEN IT STAYS UP.
SO WE GO FROM THE 26 TO 40 AND
THEN WE GET STUCK AT THIS 40
LEVEL.
ONE OF THE REAL HARMS OF THIS,
IS A LOT OF TAXPAYERS' MONEY IS
GOING TO PAY INTEREST ON THE
PUBLIC DEBT.
IN FACT, THREE TIMES AS MUCH AS
DURING THE BOB RAE ERA.
THAT'S MONEY THAT'S NOT
AVAILABLE FOR HEALTH AND
EDUCATION, AND THAT'S THREE
TIMES AS MUCH GOING TO PAY
INTEREST ON THE PUBLIC DEBT,
DESPITE INTEREST RATES BEING A
FRACTION OF WHAT THEY WERE
BEFORE.
SO IMAGINE WHAT'S GOING TO
HAPPEN BEFORE.
SO I THINK A LOT OF THE PROBLEM
WE'RE HAVING AND A LOT OF
PROBLEM IN COMMUNICATIONS IS WE
ARE TALKING ABOUT THE WRONG
THING BECAUSE THEY'RE TALKING
ABOUT THE WRONG THING.
WE SHOULDN'T BE TALKING ABOUT
THE DEFICITS VERY MUCH.
IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER IF IT'S
5, 6, 7, OR EVEN 10 BILLION DOLLARS.
WHAT MATTERS IS THAT DEBT-TO-GDP
RATIO AND IT NEEDS TO COME DOWN
FROM THAT 40 percent MARK.
THAT MEANS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO
HAVE TO AT MINIMUM RUN BALANCED
BUDGETS FOR A WHILE IF NOT FOR
SURPLUSES.
I WANT TO COME BACK TO YOUR
LITMUS TEST AS TO WHETHER
SPENDING IS BEING RESTRAINED OR
NOT.
IT'S NOT WHETHER THE LEVEL GOES
DOWN.
YOU ALSO HAVE ABOUT A 2 percent RATE OF INFLATION AND WE HAVE 1 percent
POPULATION GROWTH.
IF YOU LOOK AT HEALTH CARE, THE
AGING OF THE POPULATION ADDS
ANOTHER ONE PERCENTAGE POINT.
SO YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL SOME
PAIN ON THE SPENDING FRONT, EVEN
IF SPENDING IS GOING UP AT A
FAIRLY MODEST RATE, WHICH MEANS
THAT IT IS FAIRLY TYPICAL,
SPENDING IN ONE YEAR WILL BE
GREATER THAN IT WAS BEFORE.
IN FACT THERE'S ONLY A COUPLE OF
EXAMPLES WHERE THE ACTUAL LEVEL
OF SPENDING HAS GONE DOWN.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT POST
SECOND WORLD WAR, FOR OBVIOUS
REASONS, AND A BRIEF PERIOD IN
THE 1990s.
BUT, YOU KNOW, RUNNING AT THE
PACE THEY WANT... EVEN IF
THEY'VE PULLED OFF, THAT WILL
INFLICT SOME CUTS THERE.
BUT ALSO KEEP IN MIND ONE OF THE
REASONS FOR THE SPENDING CUTS IS
THEY HAVE EMBEDDED TAX CUTS INTO
THEIR DOCUMENT, AND A HIGHLY
NON-TRANSPARENT FASHION.
THEY HAVE HUNDREDS OF PAGES
LAYING OUT THE ASSUMPTIONS AND
THEY NEVER TELL YOU THERE'S TAX
CUTS IN THERE.
BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THEIR REVENUE
PROJECTIONS FOR PERSONAL INCOME
TAX, YOU'LL NOTICE THAT IT
FLATTENS OUT IN 2021 AND YOU'LL
NOTICE A SO-CALLED OTHER EXCISE
TAX WHICH INCLUDES THE GASOLINE
EXCISE TAX ACTUALLY FALLS.
THAT'S BECAUSE I'M QUITE
CONFIDENT THEY'VE EMBEDDED THE
TAX CUT IN THERE AND THE
GASOLINE TAX... THAT'S FINE.
THEY GOT ELECTED ON THAT
PLATFORM.
BUT IT SEEMS KIND OF SNEAKY AND
INAPPROPRIATE TO PUT THAT IN THE
DOCUMENT AND NOT SAY ANYTHING
ABOUT IT AND ALWAYS SAYING THE
SPENDING CUTS ARE NECESSARY TO
BALANCE THE BUDGET AND ADDRESS
THE DEBT BURDEN.
BUT IN PART THEY'RE NECESSARY TO
FINANCE THE PROJECTED AND
ASSUMED TAX CUTS.

Steve says JASMINE, LET'S HIT
THIS ON THE HEAD AGAIN.
IF WE WANT TO GO BACK 35 YEARS
OR SO WHEN BILL DAVIS WAS
PREMIER, THE DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO
WAS ABOUT 12 percent AND NOW IT'S OVER
40.
YOU KNOW, HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND
WHY YOU THINK THAT IS OF SIGNIFICANCE.

Jasmine says WELL, WHEN
YOU TALK ABOUT THE DEBT-TO-GDP
RATIO, WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY
SOMETHING THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE
ARE TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW
BECAUSE AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, WE
SAW THE FEDERAL LIBERALS, NOW
GOVERNING PARTY, ABANDON ANY
SORT OF ATTEMPT TO EVEN BALANCE
THE BUDGET AND THEY'RE
JUSTIFYING THEIR DEFICITS BY
SAYING THAT THE DEBT-TO-GDP
RATIO IS LOWER THAN OUR NEIGHBOURS.
WELL, THAT'S A VERY ODD
JUSTIFICATION BECAUSE CERTAINLY
AT THE HOUSEHOLD LEVEL YOU WOULD
NEVER HAVE A FAMILY SIT AROUND
THEIR KITCHEN TABLE AND SAY, WE
CAN AFFORD TO MAKE OUR INTEREST
PAYMENTS, SO LET'S KEEP SPENDING
MORE.
THAT'S THE JUSTIFICATION THEY'RE
MAKING.
AS MR. DRUMMOND POINTED OUT,
TALKING ABOUT THE DEBT-TO-GDP
RATIO, EVERYBODY WHO TALKS ABOUT
THAT FAILS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE
OPPORTUNITY COSTS OF THE
INTEREST PAYMENTS THAT WE MAKE
ON OUR DEBT EVERY DAY.
SO EVERY YEAR... SORRY, EVERY
DAY WE SPEND 36 MILLION DOLLARS ON
INTEREST PAYMENTS ON OUR DEBT.
THAT'S MONEY THAT COULD GO INTO
PROVIDING THOSE VITAL SOCIAL
SERVICES OR, FRANKLY, BACK INTO
THE POCKETS OF TAXPAYERS.
EVERY YEAR WE SPEND OVER
13 BILLION DOLLARS ON INTEREST ON OUR
DEBT IN THIS PROVINCE AND SO
THAT'S JUST MONEY... TAXPAYER
DOLLARS THAT ARE GOING DOWN THE
DRAIN.
FRANKLY, THE INTEREST THAT WE
PAY ON OUR DEBT IS THE FOURTH
LARGEST LINE ITEM ON ONTARIO'S
BUDGET EVERY YEAR.

Steve says I WAS GOING TO SAY,
HEALTH, EDUCATION, SOCIAL
SERVICES, DEBT INTEREST.

Jasmine says AND THEN
COLLEGES AND USERS.
ANYBODY WHO PURPORTS TO BE AN
ADVOCATE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES IN
THIS PROVINCE, OF WHICH I AM
ONE, SHOULD FIRST AND FOREMOST
BE A FIERCE ADVOCATE OF DEBT
REDUCTION.
I COULDN'T AGREE MORE WITH
MR. DRUMMOND SAYING EVERYONE IS
FOCUSING ON THE DEFICIT.
ONTARIO IS THE LARGEST NATIONAL
DEBTOR ON THE PLANET.
WE WASTE SO MUCH MONEY EVERY
YEAR, AS I SAID, ON DEBT
INTEREST.
WE GO FURTHER INTO DEBT,
45 MILLION DOLLARS EVERY DAY.
SO IF THIS PROGRAM, FOR EXAMPLE,
SHOWS, YOU KNOW, ON TV FOR AN
HOUR, IN THAT TIME WE WILL HAVE
GONE INTO DEBT 2 MILLION DOLLARS MORE.
SPENDING IS OUT OF CONTROL, AND
FRANKLY, IN THIS UPDATE, I MEAN,
MAYBE THE GOVERNMENT COULDN'T
TALK ABOUT PUBLIC SECTOR
SALARIES BECAUSE THEY'RE IN THE
MIDDLE OF A NEGOTIATION PROCESS
RIGHT NOW AND PERHAPS IT WOULD
MAYBE LOOK LIKE IT WAS BAD FAITH
FOR THEM TO INCLUDE PLANS IN
THERE.
BUT THAT IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST
COST TO TAXPAYERS IN THIS
PROVINCE, IS THE COST OF OUR...

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says SALARIES FOR PUBLIC
EMPLOYEES.

Jasmine says 1.3 MILLION DOLLARS OF THEM EMPLOYED
BY THE GOVERNMENT.
AT A TIME WHEN ALBERTA IS
ROLLING BACK THE PAY OF ITS
PUBLIC SERVANTS, ITS GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES BY 5 percent, AND ONTARIO IS
OFFERING A 3 percent RAISE, I DON'T SEE
SPENDING GOING DOWN ANY TIME
SOON.

Steve says JEFF, HELP US
UNDERSTAND THIS BECAUSE THE
GOVERNMENT OBVIOUSLY IS
PORTRAYING ITSELF AS GOOD
PRUDENT STEWARDS OF THE PUBLIC
PURSE, AND YET WE HAVE ALREADY
SEEN FROM THAT GRAPH THE
DEBT-TO-GDP RATIO IS AT 40 percent.
NEXT YEAR THE FORECAST IS AT
40.1 percent.
IT'S ACTUALLY GOING TO GO UP.
HOW EXACTLY DO THEY MAKE THE
ARGUMENT THAT THEY'RE GOOD
STEWARDS OF THE BOOK WHEN THE
GRAPH IS GOING LIKE THAT INSTEAD
OF LIKE THAT?

Jeff says YES.
WELL, THE GRAPH DOES
CONVENIENTLY START TO... IT
PEAKS THE NEXT YEAR AND STARTS
TO GO DOWN.

Steve says IT DOES.

Jeff says THEY ALSO POINTED OUT
YESTERDAY BECAUSE OF BETTER
REVENUE, BETTER ECONOMY, THE
SPENDING RESTRAINT THAT THEY
HAVE BROUGHT IN, THAT THE RATE
OF INCLINE IS LOWER.
THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET UP TO
THIS 40.8.
THEY'VE MAGICALLY DECIDED THAT'S
THE BAD NUMBER, NOT 40.
40.8.
AND THEY'RE GOING TO STAY BELOW
THAT.
THEN THEY'RE GOING TO START TO
COME DOWN AND THE GRAPH KIND OF
ENDS THERE.
YOU'VE GOT THE GRAPH.
YOU'VE GOT THE ADVANTAGE HERE.
IT DOES START TO GO DOWN.

Steve says BY FISCAL YEAR
2021-22, IT STARTS TO GO BELOW 40.

Jeff says AND TO BE FAIR TO THEM AND OF
COURSE WE'RE ALWAYS FAIR TO
THEM, WE'RE THE PRESS GALLERY...
I HOPE THEY'RE WATCHING... YOU
KNOW, YOU CAN'T TURN THE SHIP
AROUND LIKE IN ONE BUDGET
OVERNIGHT.
YOU CAN'T FIX THAT PROBLEM.

Steve says IT IS THE TITANIC.

Jeff says IT'S HUGE.

Steve says IT TAKES A WHILE.

Jeff says IF THE GRAPH IS STARTING TO
CURL AND GO THAT WAY AND THEY
CAN KEEP IT THERE, AND THAT'S A
BIG CHALLENGE, AND WE DON'T KNOW
HOW THEY'RE GOING TO DO IT, THEN
THEY'LL DESERVE SOME CREDIT AT
THE END FOR SURE.

Steve says THERE'S ANOTHER WAY
TO SORT OF DEFINE OR I GUESS
DESCRIBE WHAT THE STATE OF OUR
INDEBTEDNESS IS TODAY.
WE TALKED ABOUT THE OVERALL
DEFICIT NUMBER.
WE TALKED ABOUT THE OVERALL DEBT
NUMBER.
WE'VE TALKED ABOUT DEBT-TO-GDP
RATIO.
SHELDON, LET'S BRING THIS
GRAPHIC UP HERE.
THIS IS OUR NET DEBT PER CAPITA.

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Painting by numbers. Net debt per person."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
MR. AND MRS. EVERYDAY ONTARIO,
THIS IS HOW MUCH EACH OF YOU
OWES IN ORDER TO PAY BACK
EVERYTHING THAT GOVERNMENTS
SINCE CONFEDERATION HAVE
BORROWED.
GOING BACK TO THE BOB RAE DAYS,
1990-91, WE EACH OWED ABOUT
ALMOST 3800 APIECE.
GO THROUGH THE END OF THE MIKE
HARRIS YEARS AND WE'RE UP ALMOST
11,000 APIECE.
GO TO THE BEGINNING OF THE GREAT
RECESSION, DALTON McGUINTY IS
IN POWER AT THIS POINT.
WE'RE OVER 13,000 APIECE.
AND NOW TO TODAY, ALMOST 24,000
THAT EACH OF US IS INDEBTED TO
PAY BACK THIS MONEY.
NOW, DON, MY QUESTION IS:
INTEREST RATES ARE AT HISTORIC
LOWS.
SO IT'S NOT LIKE, YOU KNOW, THE
JIMMY CARTER YEARS WHERE
INTEREST RATES WERE AT 24 percent.
INTEREST RATES ARE AT NEXT TO
NOTHING TODAY.
SO IS THE URGENCY OF THIS
PROBLEM LESS SIGNIFICANT TODAY
GIVEN THAT FACT?

The caption changes to "Does indebtedness size matter?"

Don says WELL, THAT'S
ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I THINK
YOU'VE SEEN MANY GOVERNMENTS,
INCLUDING THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT, NOT TAKE A MORE
AGGRESSIVE STANCE AT IT BECAUSE
INTEREST PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN SO
LOW.
I DON'T THINK WE'RE GOING TO GO
BACK INTO THE DOUBLE-DIGIT
INTEREST RATES, BUT THEY'RE
DEFINITELY GOING TO BE HIGHER IN
THE FUTURE THAN THEY ARE RIGHT
NOW, WHICH IS THE REASON YOU
NEED TO DEAL WITH IT.
IN THE FISCAL POLICY YEAR YOU
HAVE VICIOUS CIRCLES AND
VIRTUOUS CIRCLES.
YOU HAVE TO DO THE KINDS OF
THINGS THAT THEY GOT IN TROUBLE
FOR DOING IN THE FIRST YEAR.
YOU HAVE TO, IF NOT REDUCE THE
ABSOLUTE LEVEL OF SPENDING, YOU
HAVE TO RESTRAIN IT, WHAT IT
WOULD NORMALLY BE.
LET'S JUST TAKE HEALTH CARE
WHICH IS ALMOST HALF OF THEIR
SPENDING.
LEFT ON ITS OWN COURSE TO MEET
THE POPULATION, THE AGING, THE
INFLATION, THEY WOULD HAVE TO
INCREASE 4 TO 6 PERCENT A YEAR.
SO IF THEY RUN HEALTH CARE
SPENDING AT 2 OR 3 PERCENT, YOU
KNOW THAT'S GOING TO HURT.
THAT'S GOING TO CAUSE SOME
ADDITION IN THE WAIT TIMES AND
SOME INCREASE IN SOME OPERATIONS
THAT JUST WON'T BE DONE, SOME
DEFERRAL OF SOME EXPENDITURES,
UNLESS THEY CAN FIGURE OUT HOW
TO DO IT MORE EFFECTIVELY AND
MORE EFFICIENTLY.
AND WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT
THAT.
AND TO THE FAIRNESS OF THE
GOVERNMENT, THEY ARE TRYING TO
DO THAT.
WE HAVEN'T SEEN THE RESULTS OF
IT.
IT SEEMS TO BE UNORGANIZED.
IT CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE CHAOTIC
ALMOST IN THE FIRST YEAR.

The caption changes to "Don Drummond, @queensu."

Don continues BUT THEY ARE LOOKING AT THINGS,
LIKE TRYING TO IMPROVE HOME CARE
TO TAKE THE LOAD OFF LONG-TERM
CARE.
THEY ARE LOOKING AT THINGS LIKE
SCOPE OF PRACTICE, ALBEIT IT
SEEMS TO BE FAIRLY MINOR.
THOSE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS
THEY NEED TO DO.
THEY ALSO NEED... DO WE REALLY
NEED ALL THE PROGRAMS?
YOU TALK ABOUT ALL THE MONEY FOR
CIVIL SERVANTS BUT THEY ARE
DELIVERING PROGRAMS.
DO WE NEED THAT?
BETWEEN DIRECT SPENDING AND TAX
PREFERENCES, WE HAVE 4 BILLION DOLLARS OF ASSISTANCE IN BUSINESS
SUBSIDIES.
ARE THEY PRODUCING POSITIVE
BENEFITS?
I WOULD BET THAT ALMOST EVERY
ONE OF THEM PRODUCE A NEGATIVE
BENEFIT COST RATIO IF ONE WERE
SO INCLINED TO DO A GOOD
ANALYSIS OF THEM.
YOU CAN CUT SOME OF THOSE
PROGRAMS AND SOME OF THE
ANCILLARY COSTS WOULD GO ALONG
WITH IT.

Steve says JEFF, FOLLOW UP.

Jeff says JUST ON THAT
POINT ABOUT RESTRAINT.
THEY HAVE A BILL THAT WOULD CAP
THE PUBLIC SECTOR WAGES, THE
BROADER PUBLIC SECTOR WAGES AT
1 percent, AND THEY JUST GOT A DEAL
THAT REPRESENTS ALL THE
CUSTODIANS AND SECRETARIES AND
SUPPORT WORKERS...

Steve says IN EDUCATION.

Jeff says IN EDUCATION, WHERE THEY
AGREED TO THAT 1 percent LEVEL.
SO THEY ARE... THEY'RE NOT QUITE
AT MAYBE A LEVEL THAT WOULD MAKE
JASMINE HAPPY, BUT THEY ARE
PUTTING A LID... PRETTY
AGGRESSIVELY PUTTING A LID.
THE UNIONS DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA
OF LEGISLATING A WAGE CAP, AT
THE VERY LEAST.
THEY ARE TRYING TO KEEP THAT
UNDER CONTROL.

Steve says LET ME MAKE YOU THE
FINANCE MINISTER FOR THE NEXT
MINUTE AND A HALF.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO TRY TO DO
TO CONTAIN THE COST CURVE YOU
DON'T LIKE?

The caption changes to "Make Ontario competitive again."

Jasmine says ABSOLUTELY.
THE BIGGEST COST DRIVER FOR
ONTARIO TAXPAYERS AND THE
ONTARIO GOVERNMENT IS THE COST
AND SIZE OF OUR PUBLIC SERVICE.
IT HAS GROWN SUBSTANTIALLY IN
TERMS OF THE AVERAGE
COMPENSATION FOR GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES, AND ALSO, WHILE...
FROM I THINK IT WAS 1997 TO
2017, THE ONTARIO POPULATION
GREW BY 25 percent BUT OUR PUBLIC
SERVICE GOVERNMENT WORKERS GREW
BY 48 percent.
SO THEY'RE GROWING FAR FASTER.
ERNST and YOUNG JUST GAVE US A
REPORT ANALYSING GOVERNMENT
EXPENDITURE, AND THEY SAID THAT
IF SIMPLY THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT
WOULD HAVE KEPT SPENDING IN LINE
WITH POPULATION GROWTH, WE WOULD
HAVE SPENT 331 BILLION DOLLARS LESS
OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS.
THAT'S ALMOST, AS YOU KNOW, THE
SIZE OF ALL OF OUR DEBT.
SPENDING PER PERSON HAS
INCREASED BY 2200 MORE ON
AVERAGE DURING THE DALTON
McGUINTY-WYNNE LIBERAL YEARS
AND TAXPAYERS DON'T FEEL LIKE
WE'RE GETTING 2200 MORE IN
BENEFITS.

Steve says THE PRESCRIPTION
THEN IS WHAT?
A HIRING FREEZE ACROSS THE
PUBLIC SERVICE?

Jasmine says THE GOVERNMENT DID IMPLEMENT
A HIRING FREEZE WHEN THEY FIRST
TOOK OFFICE, WHICH WE APPLAUDED.
THEY OFFERED BUY-OUT PACKAGES TO
PUBLIC SERVICE GOVERNMENT
WORKERS WHICH AGAIN WE
APPLAUDED.
BUT THE ISSUE WITH THE BILL
THAT'S BEFORE GOVERNMENT RIGHT
NOW, BILL 124, SO THEY'RE
OFFERING 3 percent RAISES.
IT'S 1 percent FOR THE NEXT THREE
YEARS.
SO THREE TIMES 1 percent IS 3 percent RAISES
WHILE, AS I SAID, IN ALBERTA,
THEIR GOVERNMENT WORKERS ARE
GETTING A 5 percent PAY CUT.
FOR EVERY 1 percent PAY INCREASE THAT
OUR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES GET,
TAXPAYERS GET A BILL FOR
720 MILLION DOLLARS.
AND THIS IS DEBT-FINANCED
BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T HAVE
ANY MONEY.
SO IT'S EITHER GOING TO BE
THROUGH TAXATION OR DEBT.
AND FRANKLY, AT A TIME WHEN AN
IPSOS POLL CAME OUT AND SHOWED
THAT 50 percent OF CANADIANS ARE 200
AWAY FROM FINANCIAL INSOLVENCY.

Steve says IT'S A SHOCKING FIGURE.

Jasmine says IT IS.
AND AT THE SAME TIME, WE'RE
TALKING ABOUT GIVING OUR
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, WHO EARN
AN 11 percent WAGE PREMIUM OVER THEIR
COMPARABLE PRIVATE SECTOR
COUNTERPARTS, WE'RE TALKING
ABOUT GIVING THEM A RAISE.
I'LL JUST FINISH WITH THIS,
STEVE.
ON MONDAY I WAS IN FRONT OF THE
GOVERNMENT, A GOVERNMENT
COMMITTEE... THE STANDING
COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT.
THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT BILL 124,
WHICH IS THIS BILL TO GIVE
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES A RAISE.
AND OF THE 17 WITNESSES, I WAS
THE ONLY WITNESS THERE
ADVOCATING ON BEHALF OF
TAXPAYERS.
THE OTHER 16 WITNESSES WERE ALL
GOVERNMENT UNIONS.
SO TO SUGGEST THAT THESE
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, YOU KNOW,
ARE NOT WELL-REPRESENTED OR WELL
TAKEN CARE OF IS LUDICROUS.
IT'S THE TAXPAYERS WHO ARE
SUFFERING, WHO ARE THE ONES ON
THE HOOK FOR THESE EXPENSIVE
RAISES AND WE NEED THE
GOVERNMENT TO STAND UP FOR TAXPAYERS.

Steve says YOU MAY HAVE PUT
YOUR FINGER ON THE DIFFICULTY HERE.
GOVERNMENTS OVERWHELMINGLY HEAR
FROM PEOPLE WHO WANT THEM TO
SPEND MORE, NOT LESS.
DON, COULD I GET YOU TO WEIGH IN
ON WHAT YOU JUST HEARD FROM JASMINE?

Don says I THINK WE'RE
LOOKING AT THE WRONG END OF THE
DOG.
THE EMPLOYEES ARE HIRED TO DO
SOMETHING AND IN A CERTAIN WAY.
WHAT WE NEED TO LOOK AT IS WHAT
THE GOVERNMENT DOES AND HOW IT
DOES IT.
THEN YOU CAN DEAL WITH THE
NUMBER OF PEOPLE.
IF YOU STOP THE PROGRAMS THAT
ARE NOT VERY EFFECTIVE AND NOT
ACHIEVING WORTHWHILE GOALS IN AN
EFFICIENT MANNER, YOU WON'T NEED
AS MANY PEOPLE.
HIRING FREEZES ARE A TERRIBLE
IDEA.
THEY HAVE BACKFIRED ON EVERY
GOVERNMENT THAT HAS EVER DONE
IT.
YOU CAN SEE THE PAIN OF THAT
RIGHT NOW.
WE'RE MISSING A VERY IMPORTANT
COHORT THAT SHOULD BE DRIVING
GOOD POLICY IN ONTARIO BECAUSE
OF PREVIOUS HIRING FREEZES.
THEY DON'T HAVE THE GROUP THEY
SHOULD BE MOVING INTO SENIOR
MANAGEMENT RIGHT NOW IN THAT 35
TO 42-YEAR RANGE.
THEY'VE GOT THE BULK OF THEIR
SENIOR TALENT IS ABOUT TO RETIRE
AND THEY HAVE AGE INVERSION.
THE LEVELS UNDER THEM ARE
ACTUALLY OLDER THAN THE PEOPLE
THAT ARE SENIOR TO THEM ALL
GOING BACK TO DECISIONS THAT
THEY MADE BEFORE.
YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THESE
SHORT-TERM GAINS.
THEY CUT THE PHYSICIANS' PAY BY
3 percent.
WHAT GOOD DID THAT DO?
IT PUT EVERYBODY OFFSIDE AGAINST
THEM AND THE ARBITRATOR GAVE IT
RIGHT BACK TO THEM.
AND AMAZINGLY ENOUGH, ALBERTA
SEEMS TO BE CONTEMPLATING DOING
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
THAT'S NOT THE WAY OF DOING IT.
THE WAY OF DOING IT IS LOOKING
AT WHAT YOU'RE SPENDING YOUR
MONEY ON AND HOW YOU'RE SPENDING
YOUR MONEY.
THAT WILL AFFECT SOME THINGS.
RIGHT BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF
THE McGUINTY ERA, THE
RESOURCES IN THE BACK ROOM OF
THE SCHOOLS EXPLODED.
WHY DID IT DO THAT?
THAT'S NOT EFFICIENT.
THAT'S NOT EFFECTIVE.
YOU KNOW, ALL KINDS OF OTHER
EXAMPLES.
WE HAVE SO MUCH OF THE
ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT THAT
DRIVES POLICE SERVICES DONE BY
UNIFORMED OFFICERS.
YOU DON'T NEED TO BE DOING IT
THAT WAY.
THAT'S THE SORT OF THING THAT
SHOULD BE LOOKED AT.
THE UPDATE SAYS THAT THEY'RE
DOING IT.
VERY SHORT DESCRIPTIONS AND WE
DON'T REALLY SEE A LOT OF THAT
PROCESS.
WE DO KNOW THAT THERE IS A LOT
OF SOUL SEARCHING GOING ON IN
THE ORGANIZATION OF HEALTH.
THEY'RE REORGANIZING IT AND
THESE ONTARIO HEALTH TEAMS.
THAT MAY IMPROVE BUT
SURPRISINGLY THEY'RE NOT EVEN
CONTEMPLATING INTEGRATING THE
DOCTORS INTO THAT.
SO I'M NOT QUITE SURE HOW THAT
WILL WORK.
BUT WE GET SO MANY OF THESE
KNEE-JERK PRESSURES.
WE'RE GETTING OLDER, THEREFORE
WE NEED 30,000 LONG-TERM CARE
BEDS.
YOU WONDER DO WE REALLY NEED
THAT OR CAN WE NOT SERVE PEOPLE
BETTER BY IMPROVING OUR HOME
CARE?
THAT'S THE SORT OF THING WE
NEED.
PEOPLE AND THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE
AND THE SALARIES WILL COME OUT
OF THAT.
BUT LOOK AT WHAT WE'RE SPENDING
MONEY AT AND LOOK HOW WE'RE
SPENDING IT.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says OKAY.
JAS, I KNOW YOU WANT BACK IN ON
THAT FOR ONE SECOND.
SOMETIMES THE BEST LAID PLANS,
AS THE EXPRESSION GOES... HI.

A new female guest says HI.

Steve says WE'RE GOING TO SNEAK
IN HERE.
ANGELLA MacEWEN, SENIOR
ECONOMIST WITH CUPE, THE
CANADIAN UNION OF PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.
HOW WAS YOUR FLIGHT THIS morning?

Angella is in her late forties, with brown hair in a short bob. She's wearing glasses, a purple blazer, black shirt, and red poppy pin.

Angella says IT WAS DELAYED IN TAKING OFF AND AT THE GATE AGAIN.

Steve says WE'RE DELIGHTED YOU
EVENTUALLY MADE IT TO OUR SET IN
ORDER TO PARTICIPATE.
OBVIOUSLY WE'VE BEEN HAVING A
BIT OF A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE
ECONOMIC STATEMENT IN YOUR
ABSENCE.
YOU DIDN'T MIND THAT WE...

Angella says I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND.

Steve says WE HAD TO, I'M
AFRAID.
LET ME GET YOU TO REACT TO THIS
RIGHT AWAY.
SO FAR THE SORT OF CONSENSUS
COMING OUT OF HERE IS... THIS IS
A STATEMENT THAT STILL WILL
SPEND MORE MONEY THAN ANY
GOVERNMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO, AND YET YOU
SAY THERE ARE CUTS COMING AND
YOU ARE CONCERNED.

The caption changes to "Angella MacEwen. CUPE."

Angella says WELL, BECAUSE INFLATION HAPPENS EVERY YEAR.
SO IF YOU'RE SPENDING IN LINE
WITH INFLATION AND POPULATION
GROWTH, EVERY YEAR YOU'RE GOING
TO SPEND MORE MONEY, ALMOST,
WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ANY
GROWTH IN SERVICES OR MEETING
NEW DEMANDS THAT COME UP, LIKE
THE AUTISM SERVICES OR THE
LONG-TERM CARE SERVICES THAT DON
DRUMMOND WAS TALKING ABOUT.
WE'RE ACTUALLY ALREADY PAYING
FOR THOSE PEOPLE.
THEY'RE IN HOSPITAL BEDS, IN
ACUTE CARE BEDS, SOMETIMES UP TO
YEARS, TAKING UP SPOTS THAT
COULD BE USED FOR OTHER PEOPLE,
AND THEN THAT CAUSES DELAYS AND
EXTRA COSTS ALL THE WAY DOWN...

Steve says HOW WOULD YOU
CONVINCE US THOUGH THIS IS A
PRESCRIPTION FOR CUTS WHICH IS
WHAT I HEAR IS THE LINE COMING
OUT OF YOUR SIDE?

The caption changes to "Angella MacEwen, @AMacEwen."

Angella says IN ORDER TO KEEP PACE WITH
INFLATION AND POPULATION GROWTH,
SPENDING WOULD NEED TO INCREASE
BY 3.5 percent.
THAT'S TWO AND A HALF TIMES WHAT
IT INCREASED THIS YEAR.
AND IT'S DOUBLE WHAT IT WOULD...
WHAT THEIR PLANNED INCREASES ARE
NEXT YEAR WOULD NEED TO INCREASE
BY DOUBLE JUST TO KEEP PACE WITH
INFLATION AND POPULATION GROWTH.
SO THAT'S NO NEW SERVICES.
SO IF WE HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE
GETTING WAGE INCREASES AT LESS
THAN INFLATION, WHICH WE ARE...
PUBLIC SERVANTS THAT ARE GETTING
PAID LESS THAN INFLATION... AND
THAT THEIR WAGE INCREASES ARE
GROWING AT A LOWER PACE THAN THE
PRIVATE SECTOR, THEIR PRIVATE
SECTOR COUNTERPARTS, EVEN THAT
WON'T KEEP US TO A PLACE WHERE
THIS DOESN'T MEAN PEOPLE WILL BE
LAID OFF OR THEIR INVESTMENTS
ARE BEING LAID OFF OR CLASS
SIZES ARE GETTING BIGGER, SO
WE'VE GOT FEWER TEACHERS, WE'VE
GOT FEWER NURSES.
THERE'S NO WAY I SEE IN THIS
BUDGET THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT
HALLWAY MEDICINE, BUT THERE'S NO
WAY WITH THE AMOUNT THAT THEY'RE
SPENDING THAT THEY CAN HAVE ANY
IMPROVEMENTS IN HEALTH CARE, LET
ALONE EVEN JUST MAINTAINING
WHERE WE WERE BEFORE.

Steve says JASMINE, HAVE AT IT.

Jasmine says I'VE HEARD
THIS ARGUMENT PUT FORWARD BY
MANY TEACHERS, UNION BOSSES AND
OTHERS...

Steve says YOU KEEP CALLING
THEM UNION BOSSES.
WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?

Jasmine says BECAUSE I HAD TO PUT UP WITH 16 OF THEM ON MONDAY, AS I TOLD
YOU.
THE UNION BOSSES ARE SAYING JUST
BECAUSE INFLATION WILL BE HIGHER
THAN THE RAISES THEY'RE
OFFERING, THEY'RE GETTING A
DE FACTO PAY DECREASE.
THAT IGNORES THE REALITY THAT
GOVERNMENT WORKERS START WITH A
MUCH HIGHER SALARY TO BEGIN
WITH.
THERE ARE MANY TEACHERS ON THE
SUNSHINE LIST, OVER 10,500 THAT
I FOUND THROUGH A QUICK SEARCH,
THAT ARE EARNING MORE THAN THE
AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME WITH
TWO INCOMES IN IT.
SO TO SAY THAT GOVERNMENT
WORKERS ARE GETTING, YOU KNOW...
NOT GETTING RAISES FAST ENOUGH
IGNORES THE REALITY THAT THEY'RE
ALREADY EARNING AN 11 percent WAGE
PREMIUM ON THEIR...

Angella says ACTUALLY,
IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT PEOPLE
BASED ON AGE AND GENDER, SO WHAT
UNIONS DO, ACTUALLY, IS REDUCE
THE GENDER CUTS FOR WOMEN, AND
SO TEACHING AND NURSES ARE
OVERWHELMINGLY A FEMALE
PROFESSION STILL.
IF YOU COMPARE THEM TO THEIR
FEMALE COUNTERPARTS IN THE
PRIVATE SECTOR, THEY HAVE A WAGE
PREMIUM BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT
SEEING THE DISCRIMINATION IN THE
PRIVATE SECTOR.
SO ONCE YOU TAKE INTO ACCOUNT
THE GENDER GAP, PUBLIC SECTOR
WORKERS TEND TO BE OLDER, BETTER
EDUCATED THAN THEIR PRIVATE
SECTOR COUNTERPARTS, THAT
PREMIUM GOES AWAY COMPLETELY...

Jasmine says THE STUDY
WAS OF COMPARABLE COUNTERPARTS
IN THE...

Angella says INCOME
COMES BASED ON WHAT THE UNION
NEGOTIATES.
PRIVATE SECTOR TEACHERS LOVE
THAT UNION TEACHERS BARGAIN
HIGHER WAGES BECAUSE THAT'S WHEN
THEIR WAGES GO UP.

Jasmine says WHEN THIS
IS THE TAXPAYER WHO ON AVERAGE
LIKE WE MENTIONED BEFORE YOU
WERE HERE, THERE ARE... AN IPSOS
POLL SHOWED THAT 50 percent OF
CANADIANS ARE 200 AWAY FROM
FINANCIAL...

Angella says A LOT OF
THOSE ARE PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS.

Jasmine says OF THE
TEACHERS... OF THE TEACHERS THAT
ARE ON THE SUNSHINE LIST, AND
THERE ARE 10,000, WHO ARE GOING
TO NOW BE GETTING A 3,000
RAISE...

Angella says THAT'S A
VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF OVERALL
WORKERS.
CUPE REPRESENTS EDUCATIONAL
ASSISTANTS, WE REPRESENT BUS
DRIVERS, WE REPRESENT JANITORS.
THOSE PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY
GETTING LAID OFF.
THEY'RE NOT GETTING...

Jasmine says IT WILL
COVER ANYONE...

[MIXED VOICES]

Angella says THE UNION
BOSSES THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
ACTUALLY REPRESENT WORKERS THAT
HAVE BEEN GETTING LESS THAN
INFLATION FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS...

Jasmine says PERHAPS
THEY SHOULD FOCUS ON THOSE AT
THE BOTTOM TIER.

Steve says THANK YOU.
THAT WAS QUITE ILLUMINATING,
ACTUALLY.
CAN I GET JEFF IN ON THIS.
LET ME TALK SMALL BUSINESS FOR A
SECOND.
ONE OF THE FEW TAX CUTS IN THE
ECONOMIC STATEMENT IS SEEING THE
BUSINESS TAX TAX LOWERED.
IT WILL COST THE TREASURY
PROBABLY 95 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR BY
THE TIME IT'S FULLY IMPLEMENTED.
WHAT DO WE THINK OF THIS?

Jeff says I THINK IT MADE
MY STORY SOMEWHERE NEAR THE
BOTTOM THAT I WROTE YESTERDAY.
A TENTH OF A PERCENTAGE POINT...
I'M SORRY, I LOST TRACK OF THE
NUMBERS THERE.
IT'S AFTER THE DECIMAL PLACE,
RIGHT?
THIS IS A GOVERNMENT THAT TALKS
ABOUT, LET'S CUT TAXES, LET'S
GET OUT OF THE WAY, THE STANDARD
RHETORIC.

Steve says THEY PROMISED TO CUT
THE SMALL BUSINESS TAX RATE.
THEY DID IT.

Jeff says WOW, IT'S SMALL.

Steve says IT IS SMALL.

Jeff says 1500...

Angella says FINANCING
A SMALL BUSINESS TAX CUT.
IF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS
SERIOUS ABOUT FISCAL
RESPONSIBILITY, CAN THEY
SERIOUSLY SAY THAT IT'S FISCALLY
RESPONSIBLE TO CUT TAXES ON
DEFICIT FINANCING?

Jeff says IN FACT THE
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WAS KIND OF
LUKE-WARM ABOUT THIS.
THEY SAY IT DOESN'T GO FAR
ENOUGH.
1500.
THANKS A LOT.
THAT'S GREAT.

Steve says SHOULD WE GIVE A
LITTLE EQUAL TIME TO ROD
PHILLIPS HERE?
LET'S GET THAT SECOND CLIP UP
AND ROLLING NOW, IF YOU WOULD,
PLEASE?

A clip plays on screen with the caption "November 6, 2019."

In the clip, Finance Minister Rod Phillips speaks in the Legislature.

He says TO DATE, OUR GOVERNMENT HAS
TAKEN OVER 100 ACTIONS TO CUT
RED TAPE FOR BUSINESS.
ULTIMATELY, THESE AND OTHER
MEASURES ARE EXPECTED TO SAVE
BUSINESS 400 MILLION DOLLARS IN
COMPLIANCE COSTS.
TODAY OUR GOVERNMENT IS ALSO
MOVING FORWARD WITH OUR SMALL
BUSINESS SUCCESS STRATEGY, AND
MR. SPEAKER, WE ARE ALSO
DELIVERING ON A KEY CAMPAIGN
COMMITMENT ABOUT TAX RELIEF FOR
SMALL BUSINESSES.
WE'VE STARTED BY PROPOSING TO
CUT THE SMALL BUSINESS TAX RATE
BY 8.7 percent.

The clip ends.

Steve says WELL, I GUESS IF YOU
DO THE MATH, IT WORKS.
FROM 3.5 TO 3.2 IS AN 8.7 percent CUT.
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

Angella says WELL, YEAH, I THINK I ALREADY
SAID THAT IT'S ALREADY QUITE
LOW, THAT THE TAX RATE IS ON
BUSINESSES THAT ARE PROFITABLE.
SO IT DOESN'T DO ANYTHING TO
HELP STRUGGLING SMALL
BUSINESSES, RIGHT?
AND THAT WHEN BUSINESSES LOOK TO
INVEST, THEY OFTEN LOOK FOR A
BROADER RANGE OF INCENTIVES, NOT
JUST THE TAX RATE.
SO TALKING ABOUT HELPING PEOPLE
DO THE PAPERWORK, MAKING IT
EASIER TO DO PAPERWORK.
I THINK THAT THAT MAKES SENSE.
BUT IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO INVEST,
YOU WANT A WELL-TRAINED WORK
FORCE.
YOU WANT TRANSIT THAT WORKS.
YOU WANT AFFORDABLE HOUSING
NEARBY.
AND YOU WANT HEALTH CARE THAT
WORKS FOR YOUR WORKERS.
AND SO ON ALL OF THOSE OTHER
FRONTS, THIS GOVERNMENT IS DOING
NOTHING.

Steve says DON... WELL, THEY'RE
NOT DOING NOTHING ON TRANSIT.
THEY'RE SPENDING 28.5 BILLION DOLLARS
OVER THE NEXT LITTLE WHILE ON
TRANSIT.

Angella says I'M IN
OTTAWA WHERE THE LRT DOESN'T WORK.

Steve says WE ACTUALLY COVERED
THAT ONE LAST NIGHT.
DON, YOUR VIEW ON THE SMALL
BUSINESS TAX CUT.
THEY WOULD SAY PROMISE MADE,
PROMISE KEPT.

Don says WELL, LET'S FORGET THE CUT.
IT'S TRIVIAL ITSELF.
LET'S LOOK AT THE BROADER PICTURE.
WE IN CANADA, NOT JUST IN
ONTARIO BUT IN CANADA AND ALL
THE PROVINCES, HAVE DECIDED TO
GIVE PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT TO
SMALL BUSINESSES OVER LARGE
BUSINESSES.
WE KEEP HEARING THE STORY
THEY'RE THE CREATOR OF ALL JOBS.
ON A GROSS BASIS, THAT IS TRUE.
IT'S NOT REALLY TRUE ON A NET
BASIS.
LET'S FACE IT, WE WANT TO CREATE
NEW BUSINESSES, WE WANT TO
CREATE FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS,
AND BY DEFINITION MOST
BUSINESSES START OUT AS SMALL.
BUT DON'T WE ALSO WANT THEM TO
CONTINUE GROWING?
LARGER FIRMS ARE MORE
PRODUCTIVE, THEY TEND TO PAY
HIGHER WAGES, THEY'RE MORE
LIKELY TO DO RESEARCH AND
DEVELOPMENT, THEY'RE MORE LIKELY
TO EXPORT.
WE DO WANT COMPANIES TO CONTINUE
TO GROW.
BUT AS WE GIVE MORE AND MORE
PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT FOR
SMALL, WE CREATE MORE AND MORE
HURDLES FOR THEM TO GROW LARGE.
IT'S PROBABLY NO ACCIDENT,
WHEREVER THE THRESHOLD IS FOR
THE DEFINITION OF SMALL
BUSINESS, WE SEE A
CONGLOMERATION OF CORPORATIONS
STAYING JUST UNDERNEATH IT.
AND WE LOOK AT DIFFERENT
PATTERNS.
IN THE UNITED STATES, THEY
ACTUALLY DON'T CREATE BUSINESSES
AT A RAPID RATE AS WE DO, BUT
THEY CONTINUE TO GROW THROUGH
THEIR FOURTH, FIFTH, AND SIXTH
YEARS AND OURS PLATEAU AND
SETTLE OUT IN THAT RANGE.
THERE ARE OTHER FACTORS
INVOLVED.
BUT I DON'T SEE ANY REASON WHY
WE'VE CREATED THIS TWO-TIER TAX
SYSTEM.
WE HAD A FAIRLY RECENT STUDY
THAT LOOKED AT THIS... THIS IS
NOT JUST PREFERENTIAL ON THE TAX
SIDE.
THEY GET FAR PREFERENTIAL
TREATMENT ON RESEARCH TAX
CREDITS AS WELL.
A RECENT STUDY SAID THAT THE
SOCIAL COST OF THAT MEANS THAT
WE'RE ACTUALLY PAYING MORE AS A
SOCIETY THAN THE BENEFIT OF THAT
KIND OF THING.
AND THIS COMES BACK TO MY POINT
AND MY OBJECTION, REALLY, THE
DEBATE THAT TWO OF YOUR GUESTS
JUST HAD LOOKING AT THE
PERSONNEL INVOLVED AND DIFFERENT
THINGS, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU
WANT TO DO AND WHAT OBJECTIVES
YOU WANT.
WE'VE HAD THIS EXTREMELY
UNPRODUCTIVE DEBATE OF THE SIZE
OF THE CLASSROOM WHERE
OVERWHELMINGLY WORLD-WIDE
EXPERIENCE HAS SHOWED THAT
THERE'S NOT A LOT OF DIFFERENCE
IN THE RESULTS FOR THE STUDENTS
WHEN YOU'RE TALKING IN THAT 23
TO 28.
BELOW THAT, WAY ABOVE THAT, YES.
BUT YOU CAN ACTUALLY...

Angella says BUT WE'RE WAY ABOVE THAT,
AREN'T WE?

Don says IF YOU MARRY THAT WITH
INCREASED RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS
WHO HAVE PARTICULAR NEEDS.
WE HAVEN'T DONE THAT.
SO WE HAVEN'T LOOKED AT ANY OF
THE EVIDENCE ON THIS AND ARE
JUST HAVING THIS MEANINGLESS
DEBATE LARGELY ON POPULIST
TERMS, AND THAT IS WHAT THE
PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT IS FOR
SMALL BUSINESS AS WELL.
IT'S NOT BASED ON SCIENCE OR THE
RATES OF RETURN ON WHERE YOU
WANT TO PUT YOUR TAX SYSTEM.

Steve says WE'RE DOWN TO OUR
LAST MINUTE.
ANGELLA, WHY DON'T YOU RESPOND?

Angella says WE'RE IN A POSITION WHERE
THIS GOVERNMENT HAS CAPPED
REVENUE GROWTH TO 1.4 percent FOR THIS
YEAR WHICH IS TWO AND A HALF
TIMES LESS.
WE NEED IT TO BE TWO AND A HALF
TIMES BIGGER IN ORDER JUST TO
KEEP PACE.
SO THEY'RE CUTTING.
AND WHERE THEY'RE CUTTING IS
FROM VULNERABLE PEOPLE, SO THERE
ARE FEWER EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANTS
IN CLASSROOMS.
WE HAVE KIDS WITH AUTISM WHO
HAVE TO STAY HOME BECAUSE THOSE
RESOURCES AREN'T IN PLACE FOR
THEM WHICH MEANS THEIR PARENTS
HAVE TO TAKE OUT BIGGER LOANS OR
QUIT THEIR JOBS.
THESE ARE THE CUTTING WE'RE
SEEING.
THE ONLY PLACES IT'S PUSHED BACK
A LITTLE BIT IS WHEN THERE'S
BEEN A HUGE PUBLIC OUTCRY IN
TERMS OF THE AUTISM ISSUE, IN
TERMS OF THE CUPE EDUCATIONAL
ASSISTANTS, THE PUSHBACK ON
THAT, IN TERMS OF THE
FRANCOPHONE UNIVERSITY THAT WE
SAW.
I THINK THIS DOESN'T MEAN PEACE
IN ONTARIO.
THIS MEANS PEOPLE ARE GOING TO
HAVE AN INCENTIVE TO MAKE A HUGE
OUTCRY TO PUSH BACK ON THIS
BECAUSE THEY SEE IT IN THEIR
EVERYDAY LIFE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Liane Kotler, @LianeKotler."

Steve says I WANT TO THANK ALL
FOUR OF YOU FOR JOINING US ON
TVO TONIGHT AND HELPING US
BETTER UNDERSTAND IN WHAT'S IN A
PLAN TO BUILD ONTARIO TOGETHER.
DON DRUMMOND, JASMINE PICKEL,
JEFF GRAY, ANGELLA MacEWEN,
THANKS SO MUCH FOR GETTING HERE
SOME BY CYCLE, SOME BY FLIGHT.
MUCH APPREICATED EVERYBODY,
THANKS SO MUCH.

Jeff says THANKS STEVE.

Watch: Fall Economic Statement