A sad little milestone in the journey of this province’s decline was just passed with the introduction in the budget of a regional development agency for Southern Ontario. In an earlier day it might have been a mark of pride of some kind to be the last remaining part of the country that didn’t actually require federal assistance, but those days are clearly long gone. That this was implemented by a Conservative government means nothing, of course, other than that the last shred of content has been stripped from the brand. Well, it’s only fair. Regional development has been such a dazzling success and has delivered such undreamt-of wealth, to say nothing of a revitalized culture of self-reliance and enterprise, to all the regions in which it has been tried that it’s only right that Southern Ontario should finally be given a chance to catch up.
But not all the credit should be lavished on the “Conservatives.” The Toronto Star lauds our indomitable premier Dolton for elbowing his way to the front of the soup line, no mean feat when you think about the competition, those hardened panhandlers from Quebec and Down East who have been doing this for years. The strategy of doing nothing to improve Ontario’s productivity while loudly complaining about the unfair distribution of federal “booty,” as Jacques Parizeau so aptly termed it, is clearly starting to pay off.