Another gutless Conservative government

In the 1980s Brian Mulroney presided over enormous increases in government spending and taxation. The national debt ballooned as each year”s deficit was piled onto the one before it. Only when the Liberals came to power did this change.

But the Liberals deserved absolutely no credit. It simply wasn’t possible to spend any more or raise taxes any higher – the Mulroney Tories had maxed out both these options. The Liberals did what they do best. They jettisoned their usual tax and spend predisposition to steal the thunder from their only effective political opponents – the Reform Party.

The fiscal mismanagement of the Mulroney Conservatives created the need for the Reform Party whose credible threat to the Liberals then forced them to make what progress they did in cleaning up the mess.

Now, after years of balanced budgets and even some very modest tax cuts, Canadians still find themselves the most overtaxed people in the developed world. Why? Because we have another gutless Conservative government.

Now this pejorative is intended as a double-entendre denoting cowardice while also alluding to the practice that could create the fiscal freedom to indulge in tax reductions – broadly and deeply. That is, by “gutting” the many and varied wasteful government programs that simply rob the tax payer to pander to special interest groups.

The recent auditor general”s report details overspending on the fisheries, the gun registry, computer equipment and infrastructure grants and many other items. Here”s one particularly egregious example. Almost half a billion dollars was spend last year on foster homes for 8,000 Native children on reserves. That”s $56,000 per child with no accounting for how the money was used or whether the children were any better of as a result. Sounds to me like an excuse to funnel more money and/or power to Native elites. Who else determines where this money goes?

How about the 41,000 illegal immigrants who have been already ordered deported from the country but whose whereabouts are unknown? Why are we spending money on a system to screen immigrants when those who fail to meet the test stay here anyway? Why not save ourselves the money and scrap the whole thing?

Because gutting wasteful programs creates political enemies and doing that takes guts. From its actions to date it looks like we have just one more gutless Conservative government.

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