Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back by popular demand...

Finally, at long last...the return. After what seemed an interminable period of time, a re-emergence sure to delight the faithful. Yes, back by popular demand...!

No, not the return of me and this blog. That would be a tad arrogant and presumptuous. Plus, I am still struggling to determine if there are faithful followers.

I am referring, of course, to the return of the Conservatives. The recent Speech from the Throne and Budget mark the government's return to its roots. Kind of like the Beatles "Get Back" sessions, but with less bickering and caught on-tape sniping.

You see, the past few years have seen the governing Tories focus their attention on growing the size of government. Federal spending grew, Quebec was wooed and the result was...another minority government.

In fact, save for those months in the not-so-distant past when Mr. Ignatieff tried to prompt an election and Liberal support plummeted, the government has never really been that close to its sought after majority.

Cue the financial crisis and the opening of the government taps. The purse strings were loosened and the government got into the business of, well, business. The measures themselves appear to have worked well, but then the bill came in.

Now, 12 months on from that "free for all-cash for all" budget, and the government has just delivered a new budget that starts to take them back to where they once belonged.

The stimulus will end, which was to be expected. And Canadians are being advised to prepare for some real belt-tightening. Again, to be expected.

But what I find interesting is the fact that the crisis and ensuing tab may actually position the government to do the things it has long favoured doing.

You see, if the government is not going to raise taxes (and don't for a minute underestimate the impact the GST cut has had on the federal purse) then something has to give. Most economists agree that Canada cannot grow out of this hole. So, if you don't raise more revenue or receive it through a growing economy, then the only option is to cut spending.

And by cutting spending, this does not mean freezing MP salaries or cutting down on government appointments. These are symbolic areas which may resonate with some quarters of the public, but which account for little in terms of overall government spending.

What will therefore be needed in order to reach the government's deficit reduction objectives are real cuts to spending. The kind of cuts favoured by many members of the government while in opposition or working for groups like the Taxpayer's Federation or the National Citizen's Coalition.

Maybe, just maybe, the crisis presented the government with an opportunity. An opportunity to get back to its core values and roots. A real chance to enact a change in the role of government.

If so, then shouldn't this be the area on which the Opposition focuses their questions? With all due respect, I think it's a far more important topic than the trials and tribulations of Mr. Jaffer and Ms. Guergis.



  1. Excellent assessment of the true nature of what we will face under a Tory tutelage founded on an insipid 'no new taxes' mantra. In the end, it will be a price too high!

  2. "Now, 12 months on from that "free for all-cash for all" budget, and the government has just delivered a new budget that starts to take them back to where they once belonged."

    About Time.

    ps. I love your blog :)


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