Transcript: In the Red | Dec 21, 2003

The opening sequence rolls.
Music plays as clips of politicians and demonstrations appear on an animated number 4.

Steve says THIS WEEK ON "4TH
READING," DEALING WITH THE
DEFICIT.

A clip plays.

At the Legislature, a male politician says IT HAS TO BE OUR WATCH WORD.

Steve says THE LIBERAL POLITICAL
AGENDA COME UP AGAINST A 5.6
BILLION DOLLAR SHORT FALL.

Steve and three guests sit around a table in the shape of a number 4. A logo on screen reads "4th reading."

Steve is in his early forties, clean-shaven, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray jacket over a light brown open-necked shirt.

Steve says HI, EVERYBODY.
I'M STEVE PAIKIN.
WELCOME TO "4TH READING" FOR
THIS WEEK.
A 5.6 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT THIS
YEAR.
THE POSSIBILITY OF DEFICITS FOR
YEARS TO COME.
THAT PRONOUNCEMENT FROM THE
LIBERAL FINANCE MINISTER THIS
WEEK, AS HE BROUGHT DOWN HIS
GOVERNMENT'S FIRST ECONOMIC
STATEMENT.
BUT HIS TORY CRITICS SAY THAT
THE FINANCE MINISTER CAN PLAN
THE BUDGET ANY TIME HE WANTS.
THE PC LEADER ERNIE EVES IS
WARNING THAT THE LIBERALS ARE
SETTING US UP FOR TAX HIKES
DESPITE PROMISES IN THE LAST
ELECTION NOT TO DO JUST THAT.

A clip plays.

Greg Sorbara is in his sixties, with receding curly gray hair.

At the Legislature, Greg says WITH NO FURTHER ACTION,
WITHOUT CHANGING THE WAY THAT
WE DO BUSINESS AND DELIVER
PROGRAM, THE PROVINCE IS ON
TRACK TO SPEND MORE THAN IT
TAKES IN.
EACH YEAR, EVERY YEAR.

Steve says THIS WEEK, THE
LIBERAL FINANCE MINISTER
DELIVERED HIS GIFT'S FIRST
ECONOMIC STATEMENT.
HE CALLS THE DEFICIT NOT A
ONE-YEAR ISSUE, BUT A SERIOUS
LONG-TERM PROBLEM.
IN OCTOBER, THE FORMER
PROVINCIAL AUDITOR ERIC PETERS
PEGGED THE PROVINCE DEFICIT AT
5.6 BILLION DOLLARS.
NOW THE LIBERALS SAY THAT UP TO
22 BILLION IN ADDITIONAL
FINANCIAL LIABILITIES LIKE
HOSPITAL DEFICITS AND COST OVER
RUNS IN ONTARIO POWER
GENERATION ARE MAKING THINGS
WORSE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Honourable Greg Sorbara. Minister of Finance."

Greg says THE DEFICITS WE HAVE
INHERITED THREATENS ALL THAT WE
WANT FOR ONTARIO.

The Speaker says ORDER!

Greg continues WITHOUT A STRONG FISCAL
FOUNDATION, WE CANNOT BUILD A
STRONGER ONTARIO.

Steve says BUT OPPOSITION
CRITICS SAY THE LIBERALS ARE
JUST MAKING EXCUSES.

The caption changes to "Howard Hampton. Ontario NDP Leader." Howard is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with blond hair.

At a press interview, Howard says THIS IS A GOVERNMENT THAT--
THAT WANTS OUT OF ITS PROMISES.
THEY KNEW LAST SUMMER THAT
THERE WAS A 5 BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT.
NOT WITHSTANDING THAT, THEY
PROMISED THE SUN AND THE MOON
AND THE STARS.
NOW THEY WANT TO SAY, OH,
SURPRISE.
THERE'S A DEFICIT.
WE CAN'T MEET ANY OF THOSE
PROMISES.

Steve says THE LIBERALS SAY THEY
PLAN TO TACKLE THE PROVINCE'S
FINANCES BY ASKING THE PUBLIC
SECTOR TO TEMPER ITS REQUESTS
FOR NEW FUNDING AND BUILD
BETTER RELATIONSHIPS WITH
MUNICIPAL AND FEDERAL
GOVERNMENTS AND DEVELOP NEW
WAYS TO DELIVER PUBLIC SERVICES
AND CONDUCT INTENSIVE
CONSULTATIONS WITH THOSE ONTARIANS.

The caption changes to "Ernie Eves. Ontario PC Leader." Ernie is in his sixties, with combed white hair

Speaking to journalists, Ernie says THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT AN
UNPRECEDENTED CONSULTATION WITH
THE PEOPLE OF PROVINCE.
THAT'S A CODE NAME FOR WE'RE
GOING TO CONSULT WITH THE
PEOPLE AND THEN WE'RE GOING TO
RAISE YOUR TAXES.

Steve says BUT THEY SAY THE PLAN
CONTAINED IN THIS WEEK'S
ECONOMIC STATEMENT WILL BEGIN
TO RESTORE FINANCIAL ORDER TO
THE PROVINCE.

At a press conference, Greg says WHAT THIS STATEMENT REALLY
SAYS IS THAT WE'VE GOT A
SERIOUS, BUT MANAGEABLE FISCAL
PROBLEM.
AND THAT WE'RE GOING TO WORK
OUR WAY OUT OF IT.
AND WE'RE GOING TO ENSURE THAT
WE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DELIVER
ON THOSE IMPROVEMENTS IN PUBLIC
SERVICES.

The clip ends.

Back in the studio, Steve says AND HERE TO HELP US
UNDERSTAND HOW THE GOVERNMENT
PLANS TO DEMRIFER THOSE
SERVICES, WHILE KEEPING TAXES
DOWN, FORMER LIBERAL CABINET
MINISTER SEAN CONWAY.
FORMER CONSERVATIVE CABINET
MINISTER, JANET ECKER AND
FORMER NDP CABINET MINISTER,
DAVE COOKE.
SEAN, TO YOU FIRST.
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM SAYS IF YOU
HAVE UNPOPULAR HEAVY LIFTING TO
DO, DO IT FAST AND EARLY AND
MAKE SURE IT'S OVER BEFORE YOU
GO BACK TO THE POLLS FOR THE
SO-CALLED GRAND CONSULTATION
WITH THE PEOPLE.
THESE LIBERALS ARE NOT PLANNING
TO DO THAT.
THEY'RE PLANNING ON GOING O OFF
ON A DIFFERENT GRAND
CONSULTATION RIGHT NOW.
DO YOU THINK IT'S
A GOOD IDEA?

The caption changes to "Sean Conway. Former Liberal Cabinet Minister." Sean is in his late forties, clean-shaven, with blond hair. He’s wearing round glasses, a green suit, a white shirt and a dark green tie.

Sean says THERE'S AN EDUCATION THAT
HAS TO HAPPEN.
NOT JUST ON FISCAL PICTURE BUT
THE ENERGY PICTURE.
WHAT THE LIBERALS WANT TO DO IS
GET THE BAD NEWS OUT EARLY AND
MAKE THE CHOICES AS CLEAR AS
POSSIBLE--

Steve says THEY'VE DONE THE
FIRST PART FIRST BUT ARE TAKING
THEIR TIME ON SECOND PART.

Sean says THEY'VE BEEN IN OFFICE TWO
MONTHS.
THE POLITICAL CLASS AND THE
JOURNALISTS JUMP ON THIS STUFF.
BUT THE ARKFL CITIZEN, I THINK,
TAKES SOMETIME TO CATCH UP.
I THINK THERE ARE SOME, SOME
CHOICES.
AND IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THIS
GOVERNMENT.
I SEE THIS WEEK THAT THE QUEBEC
MINISTER OF FINANCE IS FACING
SOME STREAMED CIRCUMSTANCES.
AS ARE SOME OF THE OTHER
PROVINCIAL TREASURERS ACROSS
THE LAPPED.
ONE STUDY THAT I SAW THIS WEEK
MADE AN INTERESTING POINT.
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT REVENUES
ARE EXPECTED TO GROW IN THE
NEXT FEW YEARS A AT AN ANNUAL
RATE OF ABOUT 5 percent.
HEALTH SPENDING, WHICH IN
ONTARIO IS
40 percent OF ALL GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM
SPENDING IS EXPECTED TO GROW AT
AN ANNUAL RATE OF 7 percent.
BUT IF YOUR REVENUES ARE
GROWING BY 5 percent AND THE
BIG-TICKET ITEM, HEALTH;
GROWING BY 7 PERCENT.
I DON'T CARE WHO IS IN
GOVERNMENT, YOU HAVE TO DO ONE
OF TWO THINGS: EITHER INCREASE
TAXES OR CUT NON-HEALTH
SPENDING OR HOPE THAT-- THAT
GROWTH WILL GIVE YOU
YOU THE DIFFERENCE.

Steve says JANET?

The caption changes to "Janet Ecker. Former P.C. Cabinet Minister." Janet is in her forties, with short blond hair. She’s wearing a purple blazer over a purple sweater, a golden necklace and glasses.

Janet says OR YOU'VE GOT TO DO
SOMETHING TO CREATE THE GROWTH.
YOU DON'T JUST SIT BACK AND
SAY, LET'S HOPE GROWTH SOLVES
OUR PROBLEMS.
PAUL MARTIN GETS IT.
AND PAUL MARTIN, HE'S SUPPOSED
TO HAVE A SURPLUS.
HE'S CUTTING SPENDING AND
CUTTING TAXES AND DOING
THINGS TO CREATE ECONOMIC
GROWTH.
AND I THINK WE'VE SEEN MORE IN
TERMS OF ACTION FROM HIM IN
ABOUT 50 HOURS THAN WE'VE SEEN
IN THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT AT
QUEEN'S PARK IN ABOUT 50 DAYS.
AND WITH THIS STATEMENT, UM,
YOU KNOW, IT SORT OF WORDS ARE
SPEAKING LOUDER THAN ACTIONS.
THEY SAID THEY WERE PREPARED TO
DEAL WITH A 2 BILLION DOLLARS DEFICIT.
WHERE'S THE ANGLES TO DEAL WITH
THAT?
THEY THEN CLAIM THERE'S A 5
BILLION DOLLARS DEFICIT.
ALMOST FIVE MONTHS AGO.
STILL SAYING IT'S A 5
BILLION DEFICIT.
TAKE SOME ACTION, WHAT WILL YOU
DO TO DEAL WITH IT?
YOU DON'T JUST SIT BACK AND
SAY, GEE, MAYBE THE PUBLIC WILL
TELL US HOW TO DO THAT.

Steve says WHAT ABOUT THAT DAVE?
IS IT A BAD THING TO CONSULT
THE PUBLIC WHEN YOU HAVE FAIRLY
HEAVY DECISIONS THAT HAVE TO BE
MADE?

The caption changes to "Dave Cooke. Former NDP Cabinet Minister." He’s in his late forties, with short hair and clean-shaven. He’s wearing a dark gray jacket, a white shirt and a gray diamond silk tie.

Dave says WELL, WE JUST CONSULTED THE
PUBLIC.
WE HAD AN ELECTION ON OCTOBER
2ND.
I THINK THAT WHAT BOTHERS ME
HERE IS THAT, AND WE'VE GOT
THIS THING CALLED THE TAXPAYER
A'S PROTECTION ACT.
WHICH IS REALLY, UM, SORT OF
LIKE WHAT THEY TALK ABOUT IN
THE STATES WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT
A BALANCED BUDGET ACT.
UM, AND WHAT IT'S ALL DESIGNED
TO DO IS SHRINK GOVERNMENT.
THAT'S WHAT THE PREVIOUS
GOVERNMENT WANTED TO DO.
THAT WAS THE CONSERVATIVE
PHILOSOPHY AND THEY WERE
STRAIGHT UP WITH IT.
THAT'S THEIR PHILOSOPHY.
THIS GOVERNMENT RAN ON BE A
ELECTION THAT SAID WE WANT TO
STRENGTH END PUBLIC SERVICES.
VOTE CHANGE.
THAT WAS THE WHOLE THING.
VOTE CHANGE.
WELL, LOOK AT THE STATEMENT WE
HAD THE OTHER DAY.
IT'S BASICALLY A CONTINUATION
OF WHAT WE HAD UNDER THE
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT.
THEY SAID THEY WILL CONSULT.
ARE THEY LEAVING ALL THE
OPENINGS OPEN?
NEW YORK THEY'VE TAKEN ONE OFF
THE TABLE.
BOTH THE PREMIER AND THE
TREASURER SAID NO TAX
INCREASES.
THEY SAID THEY'LL PLAN THE
BUDGET.
SO WHAT DOES THAT LEAVE?
THAT LEAVES CUTS.

Steve says SEAN?

Sean says THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT
THERE ARE SOME TOUGH CHOICES.
AND I CAN TELL YOU THAT IF I
WERE MINISTER OF FINANCE, AS
MUCH AS I WOULDN'T WANT TO
CONSIDER IT BE CUTS IN THE
NON-ESSENTIAL AREAS ARE LIKELY.
BECAUSE HEALTH AND EDUCATION
MAKE UP OVER 50 percent OF THE
SPENDING.
THE LIBERALS UNDERSTANDABLELY
AND PREDICTABLELY HAVE SAID
THAT HEALTH AND EDUCATION ARE
THE PRIORITY AREAS F THEY'RE
GROWING ATTWELL ABOVE YOUR
REVENUE LINE, THEM YOU ARE
GOING TO HAVE A BIG--

Dave says WE HAVE A PROBLEM HERE.
THE TAX BASE--

Janet says THAT'S NOT NEW.

Dave continues IF THE TAX BASE DOESN'T
SUPPORT THIS-- YES, HEALTH AND
EDUCATION ARE IMPORTANT.
WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND OTHERS
HAVE ALSO SAID THAT
MUNICIPALITIES ARE IMPORTANT.
THERE'S GOT TO BE A NEW DEAL
WITH MUNICIPALITIES.
WE'RE CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO
SAY THAT WALKERTON'S NOT
IMPORTANT ANYMORE.
AND WE'VE GOT THINGS LIKE MEAT
INSPECTORS AND SO FORTH.
THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF THINGS
THAT THIS GOVERNMENT SAID HAVE
GOT TO BE ON THE FRONT PLATE.

Sean says THAT'S TRUE.
AND I THINK IT'S A GAIN OF GOOD
MESSAGE TO THE POLITICAL CLASS
THAT AS YOU GO INTO THE
ELECTION CAMPAIGNS, THINK ABOUT
WHAT IT IS THAT YOU'RE
COMMITTING TO.
BUT, IN FAIRNESS TO DALTON
MCMCGUINTY AND THE LIBERALS,
THEY HAVE HAD SOME NASTY
SURPRISES IN PLACES LIKE
ONTARIO HYDRO SINCE THEY TOOK
OFFICE.
WHAT WE'VE HEARD THIS LAST WEEK
ABOUT THE HEMORRHAGE AT ONTARIO
POWER GENERATION IS REALLY
WORRISOME AND THAT, TOO, HAS A
MAJOR IMPACT OF A NEGATIVE KIND
ON THE BOOKS OF THE PROVINCE.

Steve says ONE OF THINGS-- GO
AHEAD JANET, MAKE A POINT.

Janet says BUT THERE'S ALSO A NASTY
SURPRISE SOMEWHERE.
I MEAN, SEAN, YOU'RE QUITE
RIGHT.
BUT THAT'S WHAT BEING IN BEING
IN GOVERNMENT IS ALL ABOUT.
AND I THINK THAT-- THAT YOU
HAVE TO FEEL SOME SYMPATHY FOR,
FOR, UM, FOR THE MINISTER OF
FINANCE AND THE PREMIER,
BECAUSE YES, IT'S A TERRIBLE,
SERIOUS REALIZATION FOR BE A
OPPOSITION-- FOR AN OPPOSITION
POLITICIAN TO GET INTO
GOVERNMENT AND SUDDENLY REALIZE
THAT THINGS WERE AS DIFFICULT
AND TOUGH AS THE PREVIOUS
GOVERNMENT SAID THEY WERE.
BUT THEN YOU HAVE TO MAKE
DECISIONS AND TAKE SOME ACTION
AND THEY'RE NOT DOING THAT.

Steve says ONE OF THE ACTIONS
THEY SAY THEY MAY HAVE TO TAKE
IS RUNNING A DEFICIT.
NOT JUST THIS YEAR,
BUT THE YEAR AFTER
THAT, TOO.
AND I HAD HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK
TO THE FINANCE MINISTER AT
QUEEN'S PARK EARLIER IN THE
WEEK ABOUT THIS.
LET'S PLAY SOME OF THAT TAPE
AND COME BACK AND TALK.
MICHAEL, ROLL TAPE.

A clip plays.

The caption changes to "December 17/03."

In an earlier program, Steve says IT SOUND LIKE YOU'RE TRYING TO
LAY THE CONSULTATON
WITH THE PUBLIC THAT WILL
SAY, IT'S OKAY, YOU RUN A
DEFICIT FOR A FEW YEARS.
IT'S MORE IMPORTANT THAT WE
DEAL WITH HEALTH AND EDUCATION
AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, WHATEVER.
AM I WRONG ABOUT THAT?

Steve appears on split screens with Greg Sorbara.

Greg says I'M NOT AFRAID OF THAT
OPTION.
IF THE CONSENSUS IS OUT OF
THOSE CONSULTATIONS THAT NEXT
YEAR WE PRESENT A BUDGET THAT
IS NOT BALANCED, THAT DOES
NOT-- THAT DOESN'T TROUBLE ME.

The clip ends.

Steve says FORMER FINANCE
MINISTER WOULD THAT TROUBLE
YOU?

Janet says IT TROUBLES ME.
BECAUSE THE LAST PEOPLE THAT
STOOD UP AND SAID WE DON'T CARE
ABOUT THE DEFICIT AND WE WANT
TO DO OTHER THINGS WAS THE NDP
GOVERNMENT.
YOU KNOW, GOD BLESS THEM.
THEY WERE VERY CLEAR ABOUT IT.
BUT THEN THEY BE ENDED UP WITH
A DOUBLING WITH THE DEBT UNDER
THEIR MANDATE AND THEY HAD SOME
TOUGH AND NASTY SURPRISE AND
SERIOUS ISSUES.
AND LEFT WITH AN 11 BILLION
DOLLAR DEFICIT.
WHEN MIKE HARRIS CAME IN,
HE TOOK THAT AND RECOGNIZED
THERE WAS A PROBLEM.
SAID THERE WOULD BE A PROBLEM
AND SAID WE WOULD TAKE TOUGH
ACTION TO FIX IT.
HE TOOK THE DECISIONS AND HE
FIXED IT.
WITH, WITH MINISTER SOBARO,
HE'S REMINDING ME OF MOANING
MYRTLE IN THE "HARRY POTTER."
MOVIES.
WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
NOBODY WILL LIKE ME IF I HAVE
TO MAKE A DECISION--

Sean says MIKE HARRIS HAD THE GOD
FORTUNE LIKE PETERSON DID.
HE CAUGHT WAVE OF VERY ROBUST
GROWTH.
GOOD FOR HIM.
JANET ECKER AND ERNIE EVES WERE
UNFORTUNATELY IN A SITUATION IN
FISCAL OF 2002 AND 2003 WHEN
THE WAVE WAS MUCH LESS ROBUST.
GOVERNMENT REVENUES DECLINED.
TO BE FAIR, IN MANY CASES, WITH
NO FAULT OF THE ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT.
THE POINT I WANT TO MAKE IS
THAT IF YOU'RE LUCKY, AND YOU
CATCH A ROLF, UM, OF GROWTH
THAT PRODUCES, UM, SUBSTANTIAL
REVENUES AND YOU'RE GOING TO
SAY, WELL, IT'S OUR POLICIES.
LISTEN, THE ONTARIO ECONOMY IS
HIGHLY INTEGRATED WITH THE
AMERICAN MANUFACTURING WORLD.
AND WE WERE VERY LUCKY IN THE
LATE '80'S AND THE LATE '90'S--

Janet asks WHY ARE WE GROWING FASTER
THAN THE AMERICAN?

Sean replies A WHOLE BUNCH OF REASONS.
BUT IF YOUR PLAN IS IT'S GROWTH
LARGELY DRIVEN IN THE UNITED
STATES OR THE SALE OF ASSETS,
HIGHWAY 407 OR GOD KNOWS WHAT
AT HYDRO OR THE TOOTH FAIRY
COMING IN FROM ELSEWHERE TO
MAKE UP THE, THE SHORT FALL OR
THE GAP IT, MIGHT GET YOU
THROUGH ONE DAY OR ONE NIGHT.
BUT I THINK WHAT BEEF SEEN--
WHAT WE'VE SEEN IN THE LAST
LITTLE WHILE IS THAT'S NOT
GOING TO WORK OVER TIME.

Steve says DO YOU FIND IT
ACCEPTABLE TO RUN DEFICITS OVER
THE NEXT THREE FISCAL YEARS?

Sean says AGAIN, OVER WHAT
ALTERNATIVES?

Steve says AGAINST THE
ALTERNATIVES OF RAISING TAXES
OR CUTTING SPENDING?

Sean says I DON'T LIKE DEFICITS
FINANCING. I THINKS THERE’S BEEN
A VERY CLEAR SIGNAL SENT ABOUT THAT.
BUT PAUL MARTIN IS IN A
SITUATION QUITE FRANKLY BETTER
THAN MOST MINISTER OF FINANCES
OR MAYORS ACROSS THE PROVINCES
AND CITIES.
I THINK ONE OF THE ISSUES
THAT'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE
ADDRESSED SOON, AND HOPEFULLY
BY THE NEW PRIME MINISTER, IS
THE INCREASING MISMATCH OF
LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT, THEIR
FISCAL RESORES FOR THE PROGRAMS
THEY'RE EXPECTED TO DELIVER.

Janet says AND THAT'S NOT A SECRET.
SORRY, DAVID.
THAT'S NOT A SECRET.
THEY'VE KNOWN THAT.
THAT'S BEEN OUT THERE.
HOW MANY HEALTH MINISTERS HAVE
THEY HEARD SAY AND PREMIERS
OF ALL OF THE PROVINCES?
THAT'S WHY THE PROVINCE HAS
BEEN YELLING SO MUCH--

Sean says OUR POPULATION AGES, THAT'S
ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE.

Janet says ABSOLUTELY.

Dave says BUT STILL, I MEAN, IF WE'RE
GOING TO GO OUT FOR A
CONSULTATION-- I FIND IT
AMAZING THAT THE TREASURER
WOULD SAY THAT WE'RE TAKING TAX
INCREASES OFF THE TABLE.
BUT WE MIGHT RUN DEFICITS FOR
THE NEXT FEW YEARS.
UM, I MEAN, I'M A NEW DEMOCRAT,
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT I
BELIEVE IN DEFICITS WHEN THE
ECONOMY IS FIRING ON, AT LEAST
SEVEN OUT OF EIGHT OF ITS
CYLINDERS RIGHT NOW.
WE SHOULD NOT BE LOOKING AT
RUNNING A DEFICIT.
WE SHOULD BE LOOKING AT WHAT
THE TAX BASE IS NOW.
I KEEP HEARING, AND I HEARD IN
THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT THE
OTHER DAY THAT OUR COST OF OUR
NECESSARY PROGRAMS ARE NOT
SUPPORTABLE BY THE TAX BASE.
THEN LET'S GET REAL.
AND TAKE A LOOK AT THE TAX
BASE.
AND LET'S BE HONEST WITH
PEOPLE.
AND SAY WE'VE GOT TO HAVE IT
MORE SOLID TAX BASE.
AND IF YOU, IF THE CONSULTATION
COULD BE BASED ON WHAT, WHAT
SERVICES IF YOU DON'T WANT TO
INCREASE TAXES, THEN WHAT
SERVICES NEED TO BE ELIMINATED
THAT SHOULD NOT BE PART OF
BASIC--

Sean says I COMPLETELY GREE WITH MY
FRIEND, DAVE COOKE ON THIS.
AND IF I HAD ADVICE TO MY OLD
FRIEND, GREG SOBARO AND THE
PREMIER IT, WOULD BE SIMPLY
THIS.
AND QUITE FRANKLY ADVICE TO THE
ENTIRE GANG DOWN AT QUEEN'S
PARK, YOU'RE NOT FOOLING TOO
MANY PEOPLE UP THERE.
PEOPLE DO KNOW THERE'S TOUGH
CHOICES.
BE HONEST.
COME CLEAN WITH
A CLEAR STATEMENT WHAT HAVE THE
CHOICES AND QUESTIONS ARE.

Steve says LET ME PUT THIS ON
TABLE.
MINISTER OF FINANCE SAYS HE'LL
LOOK AT, I THINK THIS IS AN
ADEQUATE QUOTE, "ALTERNATIVE
REVENUE-RAISING MECHANISMS."
HE MENT NOT TAX INCREASES LIKE
INCOME TAXES OR RETAIL SALES
TAXES.
HE MENT SOMETHING ELSE.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE MENT.
YOU'RE A FORMER FINANCE
MINISTER.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THESE OTHER
ALTERNATIVES MIGHT BE?

Janet says ACTUALLY I'M SMILING BECAUSE
YOU KNOW SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT ARE SITTING ON THE SHELF
AND IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO
SEE--

Steve says WHAT'S ON SHELF?

Janet says FOR EXAMPLE, THE LIBERALS
SAID THAT PART OF THEIR PLAN TO
DEAL WITH THE 2 BILLION DOLLAR
DEFICIT WAS TO DO 900 MILLION DOLLARS
OF ASSET SALES.
SO, THIS IS ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT I THINK IS
SURPRISING IF YOU WANT TO ACCEPT
THAT THERE'S A 5
BILLION DOLLARS DEFICIT, THEY COULD
HAVE DON
SOMETHING, THEY COULD DO WITH A
2 BILLION DOLLARS DEFICIT.
HE COULD HAVE STOOD UP THIS
FALL THIS WEEK AND SAID, WELL,
IT WAS 5 BILLION BUT HERE'S
OUR PLAN TO DEAL WITH 2
BILLION AND NOW IT'S NOT FIVE,
IT'S THREE.
ETCETERA.
HE DIDN’T DO THAT.
HE'S GOING OUT AND SAYING FOR
THE PEOPLE, GEE, TELL US WHAT
TO DO.
AND--

Steve says OKAY, BESIDES ASSET
SALES WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

Dave says THERE'S--

Janet says USER FEES.
ABSOLUTELY.
THERE'S USER FEES IN HEALTH
CARE.
UM, YOU CAN, UM, AND--

Steve says USER FEES IN HEALTH
CARE?

Janet says CERTAINLY.
INCREASING TOLLS.
INCREASING FEES FOR SERVICES.
THERE'S ALL KIND OF THINGS THEY
COULD DO.
I SUPPOSE THEY COULD GO OUT AND
SELL THE LCBO.
YOP WHAT ELSE--

Dave says THE TREASURY BOARD-- IT'S
NOT TREASURY BOARD ANYMORE.
IT'S MANAGEMENT BOARD.
THEY HAVE A WHOLE LIST OF
THINGS.
THESE NOT GOOD WAYS IN MY VIEW
OR PROGRESSIVE WAYS OF RAISING
REVENUE.
BUT I MEAN, THERE'S EVEN PHOTO
RADAR.
PHOTO RADAR CAN RAISE A LOT OF
MONEY IF YOU WANT TO GET INTO
THAT AND USE IT'S A FUNDRAISER
AS OPPOSED TO-- TO SOMETHING TO
DO-- BUT, BUT-- AND THEY'VE
ALREADY FLOATED THE IDEA OF COPAYMENTS
FOR THE ONTARIO DRUG
BENEFITS PROGRAM.
THAT'S ALREADY BEEN FLOATED.

Sean says BUT THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT
THE CORE OF THIS ISSUE IS HOW
DO YOU MANAGE THIS
HEALTH BUDGET AND HOW IS THERE
MONEY LEFT OVER FOR EVERYONE
ELSE?
AND I THINK THAT THE
FORMER NDP MINISTER OF FINANCE
HAS WRITTEN SOME RATHER
COMPELLING STUFF.
BASICALLY SAYING THAT, UM,
THAT TAXES
WILL HAVE TO BE RAISED IF, OR
SOME KIND OF CHARGES WILL HAVE
TO BE RAISED IF-- IF THIS
HEALTH BUDGET IS GOING TO BE
SUSTAINED STEAF TWO MORE THING
ON TABLE.

Steve says I WANT TO GET
TWO MORE THINGS ON THE TABLE, AND
WE ONLY HAVE A FEW MINUTES
LEFT.
THE TWO CENT A LITRE GAS TAX IS
NOW OFF THE TABLE.
THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT WAS GOING
TO FLOW THAT MONEY TO MUNICIPAL
GOVERNMENTS TO HELP WITH
TRANSIT, FOR EXAMPLE.
HOW PATIENT JANET DO YOU THINK THAT MUNICIPAL
GOVERNMENTS WILL BE ACROSS THE
PROVINCE NOW THAT THIS BIG
PROMISE APPEARS TO BE NUMBER
HIBERNATION.

Janet says I DON'T THINK THAT THEY'LL
BE VERY PATIENT AT ALL.
EXPECTATIONS WERE RAMPED UP
VERY HIGH.
THE LIBERALS IN THE ELECTION
CAMPAIGN PROMISED EVERYBODY
EVERYTHING.
NOW THEY'RE BEING ASKED TO
DELIVER.
I DON'T THINK THEY'RE GOING TO
FIND PEOPLE WHEN THEY GO OUT
AND DO THIS SORT OF CONSULT AGO
TO BE VERY SYMPATHETIC.
QUITE FRANKLY, CONSULT AGO IS
NOT A STRATEGY.
CONSULTATION FOR A GOVERNMENT
IS WHAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE
DOING.
IT'S LIKE YOU’RE ASKING YOUR
BOSS TO GIVE YOU A PAY RAISE
BECAUSE YOU SHOW UP FOR WORK.
THEY'RE STANDING UP AND SAYING
THEY'RE GOING TO DO
CONSULTATION.
THERE'S OUR STRATEGY.
THAT'S NOT A STRATEGY.
GOVERN.
THAT'S WHAT THE VOTERS SAID.
THEY DIDN'T LIKE THE SOLUTIONS
WE HAD TO PROBLEM.
OKAY.
FINE.
THEY PUT THE LIBERALS IN THERE.
SO GOVERN.
DECIDE.

Sean says YOU KNOW, GOVERNMENT IS ALSO
ABOUT TAKING THE
VOTERS INTO YOUR CONFIDENCE IN
SOME DETAILED WAY.
A GENERAL ELECTION IS JUST
THAT.
IT'S A GENERAL ELECTION.
AND IT'S ABOUT THE VISION
THING, HOPEFULLY.
ABOUT A CHOICE, A
BROAD-BASED PLATFORM.
BUT WHEN YOU LOOK, FOR EXAMPLE,
AT THE MASSIVE ONTARIO HYDRO
AND SOME OF THE TOUGH CHOICES
THAT IS ARE GOING TO BE MADE IN
THE ELECTRICITY AREA, FOR
EXAMPLE, OR YOU LOOK AT SOME OF
THESE ISSUES IN HEALTH CARE,
TRUST ME, THE PUBLIC IS GOING
TO EXPECT TO BE TAKEN INTO A
GREATER DEGREE OF CONFIDENCE.
I AGREE WITH MY
FRIEND JANET AND DAVE, THE
GOVERNMENT BETTER NOT THINK
THIS IS A DODGE.
BECAUSE THAT WON'T WORK EITHER.
BUT THINK AS WE FOUND OUT IN THE
RAE DAYS OF THE '91-93 PERIOD.
IF YOU GET YOURSELF INTO A REAL
FISCAL HOLE, TRUST ME, YOU WILL
BE BACK TALKING TO THE
PEOPLE--

Steve says I HAVE AN IDEA
FOR YOU HERE-- ONE MINUTE.
GRAHAM COTTER SENT ME AN E-MAIL
TODAY.
He reads WHY DON'T TAXPAYERS RALLY
AROUND THE GOVERNMENT AND MAKE
A LARGE FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION
VOLUNTARILY?
WE CAN RAISE MONEY FOR POLITICAL
PARTIES AND TRY TO REDUCE THIRD
WORLD DEBTS AND IRAQI DEBTS.
WHY CAN'T WE DO SOMETHING FOR
OUR OWN PROVINCE?
A CITIZEN'S MOVEMENT
TO HELP OUT
GOVERNMENT AND ITS SERVICES
INSTEAD OF DESTROYING THEM
WOULD REDEEM POPULISM,
FORGIVE ME JANET, FROM THE
STATE OF THE BLUE MEANIES, IS
HOW WE DESCRIBED IT.
WHAT ABOUT THAT IDEA?

Janet laughs.

Janet says WE DID IT-- THERE'S AN
ACCOUNT.
ERNIE EVES AND MIKE HARRIS PUT A
SPECIAL ACCOUNT IN.
YOU CAN DONATE MONEY TO PAY ON
THE DEBT.
AND EVERY YEAR, GOD BLESS THEM,
CITIZENS WOULD SEND IN MONEY TO
DO PRECISELY THAT.

Steve says IS THAT RIGHT?

Sean says I CAN IMAGINE SOME OF MY GOOD
FRIEND IN THE OTTAWA VALLEY
SAYING-- I READ IN THE PAPERS
THIS WEEK WHAT'S GOING ON IN
ONTARIO POWER GENERATION.
AND I'M SUPPOSED TO SEND THOSE
CHARACTERS MORE MONEY TO HELP
SOLVE THE PROBLEM?
NOT ANOTHER RED CENT UNTIL I GET
A BETTER ACCOUNTING FOR WHAT
DISASTERS WERE OCCURRING AT
PLACES LIKE ONTARIO HYDRO THE
LAST FEW YEARS.
YES, MAYBE I'LL SEND MORE
MONEY.
BUT I WANT A BETTER STEWARD
SHIP AND MORE UNDERSTANDING
WHAT HAVE WENT WRONG.

Steve says THAT WAS CALLED THE
SAMANTHA DNA CHELSEA FUND, WASN’T II? AFTER
THE TWO KIDS WHO GOT IT
STARTED.

Janet says ABSOLUTELY--

Steve says WE HAVE TO GO.

Janet says ALL RIGHT.

Steve says MISTER CONNOR, I GOT
YOUR MESSAGE ON THE SHOW AS I
SAID I WOULD.
AND ONE
MORE ITEM FOR THIS PROGRAM.
THE LIBERALS TRIED TO MAKE THIS
GREEN WEEK AT QUEEN'S PARK,
HIRING NEW WATER INSPECTORS, A
DEVELOPMENT FREEZE ON A GREEN
BELT.
BETTER NUTRIENT PRACTICES ON
FARMS AND ALL PART OF THE
AGENDA.
BUT NOT ALL LIBERALS ARE AS
GREEN AS THEY MAY APPEAR.
NOW HERE'S THIS WEEK'S EDITION
OF "BACK ROOM 411."

(music plays)
A clip captioned "Backroom 411" shows very fast clips of Ernie Eaves and other politicians giving speeches and press conferences. Then, Susanna Kelley and Robert Fisher walk down a long hallway and past a glass-paned door.

The clip ends, and Susanna and Robert sit in the studio with Steve.

Steve says ROB AND SUSANNA, FOR
THE FINAL TIME OF 2003 FROM THE
BACK ROOMS.
LIBERALS ROLLED OUT GREEN WEEK
THIS PAST WEEK.
HOW GREEN ARE THEY LOOKING
IN YOUR VIEW?

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Robert Fisher. Provincial Affairs Specialist."
Robert is in his fifties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair.
He’s wearing a dark green suit, white shirt, and dotted brown and white tie.

He says PRETTY GREEN, STEVE.
I REMEMBER DALTON SAYING IN
OPPOSITION, WHEN HE BECAME PREMIER,
HE WANTED
CLEAN AIR AND CLEAN WATER AND
CLEAN GOVERNMENT.
THEY HAVE TO START TO DELIVER
ON THAT.
THIS TIME YOU HAVE A PREMIER,
AND I THINK THIS WAS NOTICEABLE
THE OTHER NIGHT WHEN YOU TALKED
TO THE MINISTER, THAT THERE'S A
COMMITMENT TO DEALING WITH
THESE ISSUES AND A BELIEF THAT
THEY HAVE TO BE DEALT WITH.
AND ALSO I THINK THAT THE
IMPORTANT THING IS INTERNALLY
IN THE MINISTRY, UM, THE
MINISTER AND THE PREMIER HAVE
REIGNITED PEOPLE WHO HAVE SORT
OF BEEN DORMANT FOR SO MANY
YEARS OF LIKE, WHEN WILL THEY
DO SOMETHING?
NOW THEY HAVE AN ACTIVIST
GOVERNMENT.
AND I THINK THEY'RE STARTING
DOWN THE RIGHT ROAD.

Steve says HAVING SAID THAT,
TAKE US TO THE OAK RIDGES
MORAINE PLEASE, AND WHAT ELSE?

The caption changes to "Susanna Kelley. Queen’s Park Bureau Chief."
Susanna is in her forties, with short blond hair in a Bob and bangs. She’s wearing a red tailored suit.

Susanna says THERE'S AT LEAST ONE LIBERAL
WHO IS NOT AS GREEN AS PERHAPS
THE REST OF HIS PARTY.
MISTER WAYNE ARTHURS.

Steve says AND HE IS?

Susanna continues HE'S THE LIBERAL MP FOR OUT
IN THE PICKERING AREA.
FORMER MAYOR OF
PICKERING, AS A MATTER OF FACT.
YOU REMEMBER THAT THE LIBERALS
PROMISED DURING THE CAMPAIGN
THAT THEY WOULD STOP THE
DEVELOPMENT OF 6600 HOMES IN
THE RICHMOND HILL AREA OF THE
MORAINE.
IN THE END, THEY ONLY CUT 900.
AND 900 UNITS.
THEY'RE STILL GOING
AHEAD WITH 5 700.
WE DID TRY AND GET OUT OF
THE MUNICIPAL
AFFAIRS MINISTER, YOU KNOW,
WHAT ARE THE DEVELOPERS
GETTING?
SINCE THEY DID GIVE UP 900
UNITS?
WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO GET?
WELL, THEY'RE GOING TO GET
EXTRA SAND.
WHAT LAND?
SO MUCH LAND.
IN SETON.

Steve says SETON IS WHERE?

Susanna says NEAR THE PICKERINGAREA.

Steve says NORTH PICKERING, OK.

Susanna says EAST. ANYWAY, HE SAID, WELL, WE'RE
NOT READY TO TELL YOU.
WE'LL LET YOU KNOW IN THE
SPRING AFTER WE CONSULT IN THE
PICKERING.
THAT'S STRANGE.
BECAUSE SOURCES TOLD ME THAT,
UM, YOU KNOW, THAT THE DEAL
WITH THE DEVELOPERS WAS, WAS
WITHIN HOURS.
YOU KNOW, MAYBE WOULD TAKE A
COUPLE OF NIGHTS TO WRAP UP.
THAT WAS IT.
SO WHY ARE WE WAITING UNTIL THE
SPRING?
WHY THE CONSULTATION WITH THE
CITY OF PICKERING?

Steve says SO WHY ARE WE
WAITING UNTIL THE SPRING?

Susanna says WELL, APPARENTLY THE FINANCE
MINISTER INTERVENED ON BEHALF
OF MISTER ARTHURS, TO HAVE MISTER
GERRETSON CONSULT THE CITY OF
PICKERING.
MISTER ARTHURS IS AT ODDS WITH HIS
OWN PARTY A'S POLICY ABOUT THE
SETON LAND.
HE WANTS THE PARTY SAID
DURING THE CAMPAIGN THEY WOULD
PROTECT TWO THIRDS OF IT AS
WELL AS CONTINUE PROTECTING
AN AGRICULTURAL RESERVE, UM, MISTER
ARTHURS AND THE CITY OF
PICKERING WOULD LIKE THOSE TWO
AREAS CONSIDERED FOR
DEVELOPMENT.
THERE'S A BIG FIGHT OUT THERE.
ABOUT THAT.

Steve says SO IF I READ BETWEEN
THE LINES, SOME BACK BENCHER AT
THE MOMENT IS FAIRLY OFFSIDE
WITH STANDARD PARTY POLICY AT
THE MOMENT.

Susanna says ABSOLUTELY.
BUT IT'S VERY INTERESTING THAT
HE COULD HAVE THIS KIND OF
INFLUENCE.
BECAUSE DURING, IN THE MIDDLE
OF THE CAMPAIGN, ONE PROMINENT
ENVIRONMENTALIST, UM, ASKED A
STAFFER IN THE PREMIER'S
OFFICE, THEY WERE QUITE
CONCERNED ABOUT MISTER ARTHUR'S
STANCE.
THIS WAS THE E-MAIL SENT BACK
FROM THE PREMIER -- I'M
SORRY, NOT THE PREMIER'S
OFFICE.
BUT FROM MISTER MCGUINTY'S
OFFICE.
THERE'S ONLY ONE LEADER AND
HIS PLATFORM AND THE PARTY'S
PLATFORM HAS A VERY EXPLICIT
POLICY ON PRESERVING THE ENTIRE
DUFFERIN ROUGE AGRICULTURAL
PRESERVE.
THAT'S OUR COMMITMENT.
WE'RE GOING TO KEEP OUR
COMMITMENTS.
END OF STORY.
WELL...

Steve says SO WAYNE ARTHURS, SIT
DOWN, IN OTHER WORDS.

Susanna says YEAH, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?
THAT WAS THEN IN THE MIDDLE OF
THE CAMPAIGN.
THIS IS NOW.
IT LOOKS LIKE MISTER ARTHURS IS
HAVING A LOT MORE INFLUENCE.

She smiles.

Robert says YOU CAN BE FLEXIBLE ON THOSE
A THINGS, STEVE.

She chuckles.

Steve says WE SAW FLEXIBILITY
FROM THE GOVERNMENT THIS PAST
WEEK.
BECAUSE WHILE THE NDP DOESN'T
HAVE OFFICIAL PARTY STATUS,
THEY GOT QUASI-OFFICIAL THIS
WEEK, DIDN'T THEY?

Robert says THE PREMIER FINALLY TOOK MY
ADVICE--

Steve says THERE'S A FIRST
FOR EVERYTHING.

Robert continues EXACTLY. IN A WAR WITH THE NEW
DEMOCRATS.
YOU KNOW, THE HOUSE WAS
PARALYZED.
THERE WAS A LOT OF NON SENSE
GOING ON.
YOU KNOW, I THINK THE PREMIER
DID EXACTLY THE RIGHT THING
HERE.
HE DIDN'T GIVE THEM EVERYTHING
THEY WANTED.
THERE WAS NEGOTIATION BACK AND
FORTH.
BUT THEY GOT MORE MONEY AND
MORE QUESTIONS AND SOME PROFILE
AND I THINK THAT FOR THE
PREMIER TO HAVE INTERVENED AND
STOPPED THIS NONSENSE, AND
BROUGHT DEMOCRACY TO BOTH SIDES
OF THE HOUSE, I THINK HE DID
ABSOLUTELY THE RIGHT THING.
FOR THE PROCESS.
FOR THE LEGISLATURE.
FOR THE GO AHEAD OF THE
PROVINCE, ACTUALLY.

Steve says HE PICKED UP THE PHONE
AND CALLED HOWARD HAMILTON
AND MADE IT HAPPEN.

Robert says GOT HIM IN THUNDER BAY
AIRPORT.
DIDN'T REVERSE THE CHARGES AND
PAID FOR IT HIMSELF AND SAID WE
HAVE TO RESOLVE THIS THING.
OFTEN IT TAKES LEADER TO
LEADER.
YOU CAN HAVE FRACTUREOUS
CAUCUSES DEALING WITH THIS
KIND OF THING.
I THINK HE DID ABSOLUTELY THE
RIGHT THING.
THERE'S A LOT OF REASONS ON
BOTH SIDES WHETHER HE SHOULD
HAVE DONE MORE OR LESS.
THERE’S STILL BE SOME FIGHTS ABOUT THIS.
BUT BY LARGE, I THINK
HE'S ENDED KIND OF THE TURMOIL.

Steve says HAVING SAID THAT,
ONE OF THE LIBERALS WANTS
TO HAVE A DRESS
CODE IN THE HOUSE.
PETER KORMOS DOESN'T LIKE IT.

Robert says PETER DOESN'T WANT TO WEAR A
TIE AND JACKET.
HE HAS WHITE SHIRTS.
HE HAS DOZEN OF WHITE SHIRTS.
COWBOY BOOTS.
OTHER DAY HE WAS IN THE HOUSE
IN A TUXEDO, LOOKED
SPECTACULAR.
DON'T EXPECT THAT TO LAST, YOU
KNOW?

Steve laughs.

Susanna says I WANT TO ADD ON THE NDP,
THEY STILL DO NOT GET OFFICIAL
PARTY STATUS.
I THINK PROBABLY
THE LIBERALS GAVE IN A LITTLE
BIT ON THE MONEY AND THE
QUESTIONS.
BECAUSE THEY DID, ONLY BECAUSE
THEY WERE GETTING A LOT OF BAD
PRESS.
I STILL BELIEVE THAT THEIR
STRATEGY IS TO TRY AND KILL OFF
THE PARTY.
BUT, BY PARTIALLY BY NOT GIVING
THEM OFFICIAL PARTY STATUS.
WHICH ALLOWS THEM TO-- TO IF
THEY KILLED IT OFF, TO TAKE THE
CENTRE, CENTRE LEFT VOTE.
AND, UM, AND THAT'S THE WAY
THAT THEY WIN ELECTIONS.
GOING FORWARD AGAINST THE
TORIES.

Robert says THE THING IS THE PREMIER,
LISTEN TO GREG SOBARO AND
MICHAEL BRYANT AND MANY OTHER
MEMBERS OF THE CONTACTED US
SAID THAT WE HAVE TO RESOLVE
THIS THING.
THE HOUSE LEADER IN WINDSOR,
HIS MAIN COMPETITION IS THE
NDP.
HE DOESN'T WANT THEM EQUAL.
OKAY?
OTHERS ARE A LITTLE MORE
GENEROUS BECAUSE THEY DON'T
HAVE THAT KIND OF FIGHT IN
THEIR RIDINGS.
BUT THIS WAS THE RIGHT THING TO
DO FOR EVERYBODY.
AND IN MANY WAYS, THINK IT WAS
KIND OF A WIN-WIN SITUATION.

Steve says THE FIRST GUY TO
SUGGEST IT WAS SEAN CONWAY SAID
IF I WERE DOWN THERE I WOULD
GIVE THE NDP OFFICIAL PARTY
STATUS OF DIDN'T GET THAT.
BUT CLOSE.
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE HONEYMOON.
A LOT OF PEOPLE SUGGESTED THAT
THE HONEYMOON MAY OR MAY NOT BE
OVER FOR THE NEW GOVERNMENT
SOONER OR THAN MOST GOVERNMENTS GET HONEY
MOONS.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Robert says HONEYMOON CONTINUES.
DISAPPOINTMENT.
HOWARD
CHAIRED THE TTC IN TORONTO, HE SAID HE ISN'T
HAPPY WITH THE GASOLINE TAX AND
WILL HAVE TO RAISE FARES.
HE MADE A LOT OF NOISE THIS
WEEK.
BUT GENERALLY WHEN YOU TALK TO
REAL PEOPLE, WHETHER IN
CORNWALL OR KINGSTON, WHEREVER,
PEOPLE ARE PREPARED TO GIVE
THIS GOVERNMENT SOMETIME TO
ACCOMPLISH THE AGENDA.
OUR UNDERSTANDING IN THE-- AND
THE POLLS SHOW THAT THIS THEY
HAVE ONE HECK OF A BIG MESS TO
CLEAN UP.
MAYBE THE COVER ISN'T BURIED,
THE COVER DOESN'T EVEN
EXIST.

Susanna says I WOULD DISAGREE WITH YOU ON
THAT--

Robert says AGAIN?

She laughs and AGAIN!
UNBELIEVABLE.
THE THINGS I'M HEARING FROM
ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE-- OUT
THERE, I HIT IT LIBERALS HAVE
SPENT A LOT OF POLITICAL
CAPITAL BY BREAKING THE
PROMISES.
ALTHOUGH THEY'RE STILL FAIRLY
HIGH IN THE POLLS.
THAT STUFF, UM, YOU KNOW, THE
IMAGE OF DAAL TO KNOW MCGUINTY
AS PINOCHIO, IT'S GETTING OUT
THERE AMONGST THE POPULACE I
THINK.
SO THAT-- I THINK THEY'VE,
THEY'VE HAD KIND OF A DANGEROUS
FIRST COUPLE OF MONTH.

Robert says GIVE THEM ANOTHER YEAR, AND
THEY'LL START TO WORK ON
REELECTION AND YOU'LL BE AMAZED
AT THE END OF 2004, WE'LL BE
TALKING ABOUT IT, HOW MUCH HAS
BEEN ACCOMPLISHED BY THIS
GOVERNMENT.

Steve says THE LAST NUMBERS WE
SAW OUT THERE, YOU KNOW,
THERE'S ALWAYS THE POLL OF
IF AN ELECTION WERE HELD
TODAY, WHO WOULD YOU OAT VOTE
FOR, MCGUINTY WAS 46 percent OR 47.
HE'S AT 51 IN THE LAST POLL.
HE'S GOT TO LIKE THAT NEWS.
I ALSO-- I THINK THE POLL ON
THE QUESTION-- LAST MINUTE?
POLLED ON THE QUESTION OF
SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT BE
ALLOWED TO BREAK ITS PROMISES
IF IT MEANS NOT GOING IN-- INTO
DEFICIT?
AND SAID-- WHAT WAS IT?
60 PLUS percent OF THE PEOPLE SAID
THAT YES.
WE'RE ACCEPTING YOU BREAKING
YOUR PROMISES.
DON'T GO INTO DEFICIT. THAT SORT
OF ARGUES WHAT YOU WERE SAYING.

Susanna says YES, IT DOES.
BUT I-- YOU KNOW, OF COURSE,
THERE'S A LOT OF ARGUMENT OVER
WHETHER THE DEFICIT FIGURES ARE
REAL AND WHETHER, YOU KNOW, THE
LIBERALS ACTUALLY HAVE SOME
MONEY THAT THEY DID A-- CAN
APPLY TO-- TOWARDS THAT-- THEY
WERE ALREADY COUNTING ON IN
THEIR PLATFORM SO MANY THE
DEFICIT MAY NOT BE AS BAD--

Robert says DEFICIT FIGURES HAVE BEEN
FUDGED SINCE CESAR.

Steve chuckles and says THAT'S TRUE AND THEY
DO TEND TO THROW IN
EVERYTHING IN THE KITCHEN SINK.

Robert says ABSOLUTELY. GOVERNMENT AFTER GOVERNMENT
HAS BEEN DOING THAT IN ONTARIO
SINCE THERE WERE GOVERNMENTS.
NO SURPRISE.
BUT THE POLITICAL CAPITAL IS
STILL OUT THERE FOR MCGUINTY
AND THIS GOVERNMENT.
BUT THEY'LL HAVE TO MOVE.
BY THE END OF 2004, THEY BETTER
HAVE SUBSTANTIAL PROGRESS ON
THAT AGENDA.
OR THEY'LL PAY A PRICE.
RIGHT NOW, I THINK THEY'RE
OKAY.

Steve says GOT YOU.
BEST OF THE SEASON TO YOU BOTH.

Robert says THANK YOU.

Steve says SEE YOU AGAIN IN
'04.

Robert says OKAY.

Susanna says HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

Steve says OK. THAT'S "4TH READING."
FOR THIS WEEK.
UNTIL NEXT YEAR, I'M STEVE
PAIKIN.
SEE YOU THEN.

Music plays and the end credits roll.

Queen's Park Bureau Chief, Susanna Kelley.

Producer, Erica Balch.

Director, Michael Smith.

A production of TVOntario. Copyright 2003, The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: In the Red