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A look at healthcare spending 0

MPP John Yakabuski

During election campaigns, Dalton McGuinty paints a rosy picture of the economy and takes full credit for it.

After elections, it's all dark clouds and rain, $16 billion in provincial deficit and significant belt-tightening across the board, none of it his fault, but still wanting us to believe that he's the guy who's going to pull us out of it.

I'll not blame the economic crisis that grips most of the world on McGuinty, but I will lay blame for the situation in Ontario squarely at his feet, because, folks, we are where we are because this is the guy who was driving the bus.

And by the narrowest of margins, he still does.

And the bus he drives is wasteful and costing us a fortune in squandered money.

This past year $16 billion more than they've taken in.

They spend a lot, but do so in poorly targeted ways, and we're on the hook for the results, usually in the form of higher taxes and fees coupled with reduced services.

Witness the situation with Cliff Nordal the hospital executive in London, Ont. who received a $1.17 million bonus, on top of his salary, just to stay on the job for four years.

The then chair of the London Health Science s Centre, Jeff Low, who structured the deal back in 2006 keeping it secret until recently, has now been appointed chair of the Southwest Local Health Integration Network.

Earlier this week Health Minister Deb Matthews commented that the deal was "way beyond troubling."

Well madam minister it was you who appointed Mr. Low.

Honestly, they just don't seem to get it.

No wonder we're in the mess we're in.

We'll leave the ORNGE air ambulance scandal for another day.

If the McGuinty Liberals were better stewards of the public purse, the provincial deficit would not be where it is today, something the Drummond Report points out.

And so it appears we're in for a bit of a tough time here economically, with stories like the one above contributing factors.

As Deb Matthews herself asked, "How much health care could we have bought with that money?"

Good question, Deb.

It's still possible to have a tremendous influence over what's happening in the province through the use of sound, judicious economic policy enacted for the best interests of the province at large.

And some of these policy proposals, put forward by Tim Hudak's PCs, are the extension of innovative thinking that's current with the times.

Managed competitions for government contracts and the delivery of public services is one such idea.

Rather than just leaving these the sole purview of public sector unions, who currently enjoy a stranglehold, such competitions should be opened up to private-sector unions, businesses, and non-profits as well, creating the competition that delivers efficiencies and enhancement of quality.

It's a practice already in place in the United Kingdom and some American states, and Florida, for one, has already seen a savings of some $500 million over five years.

That's money that in Ontario, we could buy a lot of healthcare with.