Our lives are inundated by numbers before our first breath and left to those remaining after we pass on. So much so, our eyes glaze over and only a few manage to stay lucid during certain periods of onslaught and have recall to make connections in their coming and going. Below are a selection of numbers that affect our lives and, of this I’m certain, pass unnoticed and disconnected on their passage through our experiences. Consider…



10. New Toronto '15


HENNESSY’S INDEX   ~   A number is never just a number

Summer 2015 ~ The Long Shadow of Mike Harris


$19 billion: Estimated annual cumulated impact of the Harris era tax cuts on Ontario’s fiscal capacity by 2013-14.

$14 billion: Estimated amount of cumulated provincial debt by the end of 2000-2001 that resulted from the Harris Government’s decision to borrow money to fund its mid-1990s tax cuts.

$3.5 billion: Estimated spending cuts to public programs, services, and public works during the first three years of the Harris Government.

$1.2 billion: Amount of real, per capita spending on elementary and secondary education that got cut by 1999.

-$2 billion: How much the Harris government cut spending on health care in its first term (when inflation and population growth are taken into account).

20%: How much public sector spending shrunk as a share of the total Ontario economy between 1995-96 and 1999-2000.

48%: Percentage of provincial grants to Ontario municipalities that the Harris government cut – $658 million in spending cuts in the first two years of its time in office.

$395 million: How much additional annual transit cuts that municipal governments faced by 1999 after the Harris government downloaded public transit.

$890 million: That’s how much additional annual social housing costs that municipal governments faced by 1999 after the Harris download.

Research provided by the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives



Now, these numbers may mean something to you who’re reading this, if you’re able to reference where we are as a society in our fiscal challenges as they relate to what was believed to be a Common Sense Revolution 20 years ago.

Of course, with a slight case of memory-loss, it was re-branded as the call for Stopping the Gravy Train and was received unanimously by those with self-centred belief in tax-cuts, once again!

It appears catering to individual greed still commands mindlessness and blindness to the bigger societal picture where long-term needs are concerned. ‘Where have all the flowers gone?’

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