Ted McMeekin, Ontario's Minister of Government Services, has informed Ontario's municipalities that in the coming economic downturn, the McGuinty government will continue to benefit from the Harris government's downloading of responsibilities from the province to the cities.
McMeekin said there will be no social-service bailout on the day his government announced it was tightening up spending because of the impact the world economic crisis is having on its finances.
Ontario has provided the city with $75.6 million since 2004 to offset social service costs. It has come in the form of annual grants and began as $19.5 million in 2004. The city received $12 million this spring.
In other words, cities (such as Hamilton) will have to find millions of dollars in the middle of a recession by either raising taxes or slashing programs that the poorest depend upon, again, in a recession.
McMeekin added cryptically that in a few weeks there'll be an announcement from the Ministry of Child and Youth Services that will mitigate his announcement. It remains to be seen if that's not part of some smokescreen to defuse anger at his government's short-sighted, mean-spirited and stupid decision.
I went to the Ministry of Child and Youth Services and wasn't hopeful of anything substantial coming out of it:
We’re calling on you to help us tackle poverty.
Maybe it means supporting a local food bank, volunteering at a homeless shelter or building a compassionate business that provides job opportunities.
We need you to tell us.
Here’s your chance to make a difference.
If this isn't a textbook example of Liberal hypocrisy I'll be surprised.