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Monday, November 2, 2015

Rex Murphy: If Ontario’s teachers unions are non-partisan, then bulldozers are flying machines

It is a difficult proposition to make: that Ontario’s teachers, as a collective, are hard up. Their pension fund, according to figures from last year, reaches over $154 Billion — with a B — dollars, and has an investment portfolio that in its range and value makes Donald Trump look like a gaudy pauper. Indeed, $154 Billion is the kind of sum we normally associate with the dandies of Silicon Valley, the owners of Apple and Facebook, or with the oil-drenched oligarchs and hereditary plutocrats of some Middle Eastern countries. The funds net a commendable near 10 per cent average return which comes to approximately $15 Billion.

In a wonderful piece of near symmetry, the yearly gains from the Teachers Pension Fund could cover the whole of the province’s current deficit of $12.5 Billion, and have $2.5 Billion left over for top brand pizzas. (Kobe beef, sprinkled with Caviar, washed down with 100 year old Brandy). One observation we may take from this is that the wrong bunch is running the province. If the managers of the teachers fund handled the government’s money, it is reasonable to assume Ontario would not now be suffering the reputation of being the “world’s most indebted sub-sovereign borrower,” nor would it, with one-third the population of ever-so-debt swollen California, luxuriate in a debt load twice as large as the cash-hemorrhaging, drought-blasted golden state...

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