The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Conservatism in Canada
These are troubled times but, thanks to the resolute, visionary leadership of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland and their allies these are also times of great change for the better. Now we have a minority government in Canada and the possibility for change of our own we finally have a Conservative federal alternative with the capacity to offer a resolute, visionary role for Canada in the world. Remember Stephen Harper's impassioned call for the spread of democracy and his clear articulation of Canada's obligation to uphold it through strength whatever the... what was that? You don't remember him making that speech? You're saying that nobody in Canadian federal politics is making the case for bringing liberty and democracy to the millions suffering fascist rule? That the story of Canada's international role has been ceded to the sycophants, the socialists and the separatists? And now Mr. Harper is prevaricating on missile defence?
Maybe there will be a sub-paragraph in next spring's Conservative Party policy convention. That will show the world where we stand.
Mr. Harper, there are many of us on the internet trying to make the case for a renewed Canadian role in these troubled times. We do not have access to national print media let alone the airwaves to make that case. The task, sir, falls to you.
Cross-posted to Ghost of a flea
Posted by Ghost of a flea on November 11, 2004 | Permalink
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I became a fan of Stephen Harper back in his days in the wilderness, when I stopped by his web site and read a couple of the speeches he was giving. I started being ambivalent about him the day that he proposed some kind of nutty pharmacare plan during the last election campaign.
I am waiting for a different kind of conservative leader to come along - a real fire-breather - but I am aware that it may not happen. I probably would be considered an extreme right winger however. I believe that federally (and provincially) funded health care should be abolished in favor of private, charity and in some cases municipally run health care. I think that public education as it exists in Canada is a joke and a waste of money, and should be replaced with, ditto. Retirement, unemployment, and welfare plans: ditto. At least three quarters of the federal, provincial and municipal bureaucracies: gonzo. And like you, I believe that Canada must have a strong military, or else a strong military will be provided for us, and as a consequence we will have no say on any important international matter, especially trade.
The fact that Paul Martin is crowing about having a "surplus" while the provinces are sinking into quagmires of debt, demonstrates that the whole welfare state proposition, championed by the Liberals and NDP and acceded to by the majority of the Conservative party, is pipe dream. Most of it will disappear the day that the provinces are unable to borrow money cheaply on Wall Street. So things will eventually improve whether or not we have a real conservative leader to carry the lantern for us. Until Canadians are up against the fiscal wall, most of them simply will not believe that there is a problem. It's a sweet song that the Liberals sing, after all.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-11 10:30:42 AM
I have absolutely no sympathy for this position.
First, the Federal surplus is automatically applied to the debt - sorry, but it needs to be paid off.
Second, the Provinces have the ability to tax, but are too chicken to do it. Until I see a Province raise taxes and say to its population:
"Yes, you're taxes are high, but we believe that the Provincial Tax is appropriate to cover Provincial Expenses - blame the Federal government for taxes above and beyond"
they have no credibility in claiming that it is the Federal goverment that is putting them into debt.
Posted by: bob | 2004-11-11 10:41:35 AM
You seem to believe that the money which provincial governments spend on social programs is spent wisely, and that whatever tax it takes to sustainably fund these programs is justified. I don't.
But I admit that there are many Canadians who would agree with your views on taxes. In fact I know of 10,000 people who would agree with you - the Ministry of Health bureaucrats in Ontario who are trying to "manage" the relationship that I have with my doctor and with my local hospital.
I think that when you set out to run fully socialist systems (the way Marx intended), you end up in the gutter with Cuba and North Korea. If you don't make the supreme effort to pay for all your welfare sustainably, you end up as a formerly wealthy county that is in terminal decline and which is addicted to borrowing money and sponsoring massive immigration in a desperate attempt to grow the economy to the point where both the future welfare commitments and the debt can be paid for.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-11 12:09:42 PM
Again, I fail to see how the mismanagement of Provincial dollars is anyone's fault except for the Provinces.
Posted by: bob | 2004-11-11 1:33:29 PM
Where I live, the province is run by the same party that runs the federal government. Same people in the back rooms, same fundraising machine, same campaign staff, same ideology, same rhetoric, and the same candidates who switch from one level to the other. (And unfortunately for my property taxes, my city government is run by the same gang)
That's why I don't blame "the Province" for mismanaging provincial dollars, I blame "the Party".
Is it not a curious thing, that Dalton's speeches are to my knowledge devoid of any acknowledgement or criticism of the fact that his province is treated as some kind of cash cow for the federal pork which is so generously handed out across the country? And that Paul Martin never comments on the fiscal irresponsibility of what was once the richest province and economic engine of the country? Smells like party discipline to me.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-11 7:37:06 PM
"Is it not a curious thing, that Dalton's speeches are to my knowledge devoid of any acknowledgement or criticism of the fact that his province is treated as some kind of cash cow for the federal pork which is so generously handed out across the country? "
I confess I've never understood why Ontarians never seem bothered by that. Do they consider it a type of noblesse oblige, or what?
In any case with a tax and spend government in control of the province it probably won't remain much of a cash cow for long.
Posted by: Kevin Jaeger | 2004-11-11 7:46:37 PM
Interesting idea...the new sport in Canada will be the race to the bottom of the "have nots". Imagine if Quebec became the "have" province; would there be a sudden change in federal redistribution policy?
Posted by: lrC | 2004-11-12 12:52:28 PM
"Imagine if Quebec became the "have" province; would there be a sudden change in redistribution policy?"
Yes, I think that the equalization formula will be modified as necessary to keep the pork rolling to Quebec. If it isn't happening already.
The rumour here in Ottawa that floated out of the civil service is that when equalization was originally invented, the economic knobs came up with 10 or 12 different potential formulas that could be used. The group who was examining the formulas tried plugging in the provincial economic numbers. The formula which gave the most money to Quebec was immediately selected without any discussion, and the rest were discarded.
Posted by: Justzumgai | 2004-11-12 2:42:38 PM
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