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October 1, 2008

Harper is ripping off Ontario

CANADA - Stephen Harper is ripping off Ontario and the price tag is $11.8 billion.

After years of refusing to say exactly how much he'd like to shrink the gap of up to $23 billion between what Ontarians send to Ottawa in taxes and is returned in federal funding, Premier Dalton McGuinty has finally named his price.

The magic number is contained in a report this week by TD Bank chief economist Don Drummond did some calculations to come up with the number.

"There may be a compelling story of 'discrimination,'" Drummond wrote.

McGuinty hailed Drummond as "an independent third party" and said the money would go a long way to cushioning Ontario's struggling economy.

"If we had $11.8 billion here, we wouldn't be talking about a struggling economy," the premier told reporters. "We'd have a lot more resources to put into infrastructure."

But McGuinty said he doesn't expect federal party leaders — who have so far turned a tin ear to his fairness campaign — to ante up cash with the Oct. 14 election date approaching.

"I don't think anybody's looking for any of the folks at the federal level to say 'here's $11.8 billion.' But we are looking for a public acknowledgment that what we have today is unfair and a genuine desire on their part to sit down and work with us to redress that over a period of time."

McGuinty's demand comes as he is crusading for "fairness" from the federal leaders in the Oct. 14 election.

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