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STROBEL

Debt has our babies bawling

By Mike Strobel, Toronto Sun

(FamVeld/Getty Images)

(FamVeld/Getty Images)

Canadian babies are world champion bawlers, a new study says. No wonder.

They’ve seen the debt we and our leaders are leaving them.

If you were up all night in the nursery or out buying diapers, you may have missed British research this week which found Canadian tots are tops for crying in their first 12 weeks.

At the peak, 34.1% of them carry on more than three hours a day, for more than three days a week. Canadian babies averaged 30 minutes more crying than other rug rats.

The study isn’t clear on why, and the babies aren’t talking.

But likely you are not surprised. My son Jackson, for example, was an all-Canadian wailer, though luckily, at 26, he now sleeps through the night.

The U.K., Italy and Holland also scored high in the study of 8,700 infants. Babies from Germany, Japan and especially Denmark, which has generous maternal and paternal leave, were the least fussy.

Denmark has something else — a government debt to GDP ratio of 40%, LESS THAN HALF of ours (91%). The Danes’ debt ratio continues to fall, ours to climb.

So you’d caterwaul, too, if that monster lurked in your closet.

Ontario’s debt is truly howl-inducing, having roared past $300 billion, and is forecast to hit $350 billion within four years. Just in time for kindergarten, you poor, unsuspecting tykes.

Since I’ve never seen a frightful forecast that didn’t turn out even worse, my money’s on $400 billion, especially if Kathleen Wynne pulls off another political sleight of hand and gets re-elected.

I hate to break it to our babies, but Queen’s Park spends more on debt payments than on post-secondary education, so they’d best learn as much as they can in kindergarten.

Now, add the feds’ $640 billion debt and watch those babies yowl. Team Trudeau’s new budget just threw another $28.6 billion deficit down the rabbit hole — and they’re not done yet.

Last year, the federal fiscal watchdog, the parliamentary budget office, warned: “The total government sector in Canada ... is not fiscally sustainable without permanent increases in revenues or reductions in program spending.”

Not sustainable? I wish Ms. Wynne was as keen on sustainable finances as she is on silly windmills.

As the Fraser Institute reported in January a Canadian family of four pays $7009 a year toward government debt — in interest alone!

We Ontarians are $606 billion deep in combined debt rung up by our glorious leaders. Let’s put that in terms a baby can understand.

We owe the equivalent of 680 billion jars of Earth’s Best strained carrots at Loblaws.

Or 11.7 billion Philips Soothie pacifiers (green, and they’re on sale for $5.19 at well.ca).

Or 25 billion Piglet snuggly toys from Hudson’s Bay. (Sorry to drag your little pal into this mess, Pooh.)

If I were Kathleen Wynne or Justin Trudeau — or anyone of any stripe who craves political power — I’d start working off that debt, pronto.

Lest those wailing, spitting, shrieking, thrashing babies grow up to be...

... wailing, spitting, shrieking, thrashing voters.

Strobel’s column usually runs Monday to Friday.

mstrobel@postmedia.com