Monday, April 11, 2005

Conservatives? Be careful what you ask for!

Pondering politics!

The Sponsorship Program was intended to again buy Quebec support with Canadian tax dollars. The Gomery Inquiry was commissioned by the Liberal government to investigate apparent, yet not proven, allegations that the Sponsorship Program funds were inappropriately allocated.

The Inquiry may cost more than any misappropriated funds. Canadians have no expectations that the Inquiry will protect governments in the future from people acting wrongfully. Hanky panky has been going on in politics for decades and it is not about to come to an abrupt halt regardless of the final outcome of the Gomery Inquiry.

The Conservatives see this as their golden opportunity to make a case that the Liberal government should be thrown out and that Conservatives should be given control of the cookie jar. Will they be any better? How well were you served by the Brian Mulroney and Grant Devine governments?

Would Canada be better off with a new government? Will we have thrown the baby out with the bath water? Another federal election within a year or so of the last one will not serve Canadians well. They are expensive and an interruption to a long-awaited summer. Further, newly elected members are just now getting used to spending their lavish salaries.

Are we hurting? Not really, as the current Liberal government has Canada in a sound fiscal position. This is paramount to providing for all the services and programs we Canadians have come to expect from our governments. In the last year, the Liberal government struck a $41.2 billion accord with the provinces and territories to secure funding for our cherished health care system. There has been strong growth in our economy and in job creation. The debt has been reduced by $52 billion and there has been $100 billion in tax cuts. Canadians have benefited from seven consecutive balanced budgets, the fastest growth in exports in more than seven years and $7 billion in GST rebates for municipalities. All this has the fiscal Harper Conservatives complaining that the federal Liberal government has too much surplus revenue. What would they be saying if the government was not fiscally responsible?

The media once argued that the Conservatives were so good in opposition that they should be left there. Conservatives have not performed well in government. Oil rich Alberta is an exception and even now the taxpayers are complaining that there is no indication of any meaningful tax breaks expected from the Klein Conservatives who have no debt and plenty of revenue. Why should we expect the Stephan Harper Conservatives to be any different?

Finally, be careful what you ask for, you may get it!


Larry Birkbeck