B.C. Premier Christy Clark is doing a solid job by taxpayers in her province, according to a new ranking from the Fraser Institute based on taxation, government spending growth and the province’s debt and deficit. Among sitting premiers, Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne earns the lowest mark for her government’s increased spending and persistent deficit.
That doesn’t mean Clark’s people should start popping bottles:
“There’s really no superstar performer in the bunch. It’s just that some are doing better than others,” said Charles Lammam, co-author of the annual report, titled “Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada’s Premiers.”
“Even premiers that do very well on the rankings can also do better because this is a relative ranking,” he said.
Clark may come out on top, but her score is essentially a B+, at 78.5 per cent. (The ratings are calculated by averaging scores awarded in each of the categories. Those rankings are based on audited, public accounts of each province, which is why the annual report takes almost a full fiscal year to be released).
- Quebec’s Philippe Couillard is nipping on Clark’s heels at 78.2 per cent.
- Brad Wall in Saskatchewan shows in third place at 77.1 per cent
- Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil follows at 69.3 per cent and Greg Selinger at 63 per cent.
Which brings us to Wynne, and her C- of 61.4 per cent.
Now the rankings are strictly based on fiscal performance, which for a Conservative-minded think tank like Fraser is of utmost importance. There’s an argument to be made premiers’ job performance amount to much more than dollars and cents, but those tallies also determine how much their province can spend.
“As the largest province in the county, and as the lowest ranked sitting premier, I think it’s really important for Ontarians to look at what’s happening with regards to fiscal policy,” Lammam said. He also highlighted another interesting turn: the shift from Quebec and B.C. lagging behind other provinces to leading the pack.