Wynne among Canada’s worst fiscal managers
Fraser Institute performance analysis ranks former NL premier Dunderdale best.
VANCOUVER— Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne ranks as one of the worst Canadian premiers at managing provincial government finances while Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall ranks as one of the best, according to an analysis by the Fraser Institute.
Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada’s Premiers, 2015 examines the records of 10 Canadian premiers (five current and five former) relative to each other during their time in office up to the 2013/14 fiscal year.
Of the current premiers included in the policy think tank’s analysis and expected to table budgets this spring, Wall ranks first, while Wynne — the premier of Canada’s largest province — finishes last.
The study assigns each premier an overall score (out of 100) and rank (out of 10) based on their relative performance on three core components of fiscal policy: government spending, taxes, and deficits and debt. Premiers who managed spending more prudently, balanced their books and paid down debt, and reduced or maintained key tax rates – relative to their counterparts – ranked higher.
Wynne scored 39.5, placing sixth on government spending, fifth on taxes and last on the deficits and debt component, running the largest average deficit of all the premiers at 1.5% of GDP.
At the top of the rankings are Kathy Dunderdale, former Newfoundland and Labrador premier (84.6), Wall (71.5) and Christy Clark, premier of BC (64.8).
Charles Lammam, Fraser Institute associate director of tax and fiscal policy and study co-author said there’s room for improvement among the top performers.
“In Saskatchewan, for example, annual government spending increases were largest, greatly outpacing average inflation and population growth. In B.C., the province’s tax competitiveness has taken a hit with recent tax rate hikes on both corporate and personal income,” he said.
And several premiers who took office after 2013/14 are contending with the weak fiscal records of their predecessors. He noted Alison Redford, former Alberta premier, ranks sixth with “particularly poor performance” on the government spending and deficits and debt components, while Pauline Marois, former premier of Quebec, ranks seventh.
Here are the overall rankings:
1) Kathy Dunderdale, former premier, NL (84.6)
2) Brad Wall, Sask. (71.5)
3) Christy Clark, BC (64.8)
4) Greg Selinger, Man. (49.9)
5) David Alward, former premier, NB (46.0)
6) Alison Redford, former premier, Alta. (45.9)
7) Pauline Marois, former premier, Que. (40.8)
8) Kathleen Wynne, Ont. (39.5)
9) Darrell Dexter, former premier, NS (36.9)
10) Robert Ghiz, PEI, stepping down in February (33.2)