by Devon Rowcliffe

The month of May ended with the most unexpected of twists: a maligned Ontario Progressive Conservative minister justifying her government’s austerity agenda by evoking a revered figure from Canada’s political left.

The Financial Post recently published an opinion article penned ostensibly by Lisa MacLeod, Ontario’s minister of children, community and social services. It asserted that the late Tommy Douglas, the most idolized left-wing politician in Canada’s history, had recognized the merit of running balanced budgets and avoiding debt as Saskatchewan’s premier.

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But do the Ontario Progressive Conservatives genuinely want what Douglas purportedly sought a half-century ago: robust social programs provided without government debt? Taking a broad perspective, the answer would appear to be: no, they do not.

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