Remember the good old days when decent, hard-working citizens commanded the respect of the elected officials who served them and those who broke the law paid the penalty?
Welcome to the new Ontario, where flipping the bird at voters and the law gets you four years in office and licence to tax and spend carte blanche.
After Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara stood in the provincial legislature yesterday and delivered his government's much-anticipated inaugural budget, the Liberals can only be called liars.
In an outright betrayal of election promises to freeze taxes and balance the books, Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals circumvented both with a budgeted $2.2-billion deficit and billions more in new spending funded by -- you guessed it -- increased taxes.
At the heart of what, by any realistic measure, must now be considered a fraudulent Liberal mandate is the reinstatement of an annual Ontario health "premium" the last Liberals who tried to run this province eliminated and vehemently opposed.
Worth $1.63 billion in the first year and climbing to $2.6 billion by 2008, the premium will be dedicated to paying for $4.8 billion in additional health care spending over the next four years. It will cost taxpayers between $300 and $900 a year depending on income and the premium will trigger the first deductions from your paycheque this summer.
Calling this new taxpayer burden the product of "choices that are inconsistent with our election commitments" Sorbara said the Liberals "openly acknowledge" they can't follow through on the most fundamental aspects of a fiscal policy they held out as vote bait in last fall's election.
And as if such indifference isn't insult enough, the whole scheme is being perpetuated by a Liberal delusion that Ontario taxpayers not only endorse their government breaking something called the Taxpayer Protection Act but actually demand it.
In the event that the Grits will never be able to prove this assumption -- and they never will -- Sorbara tried simply to defend his divisive budget as "the reality of the work that we do."
And in a moment of utter profundity, the finance minister shared: "I think our credibility ... will only increase."
If, as Ontario taxpayers, we had any money to spare, we'd bet every cent of it on just that.
Because there's not a chance in hell this government's credibility can get any worse