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Monday, October 06, 2008

National Citizens Coalition: Watchdog group goes partisan

The National Citizens Coalition, a national small government watchdog group, has decided not to be non-partisan this time around. In a blog post entitled "It's the economy stupid," Kylie Young writes:

What this country needs is a government that will keep spending under control, and do all it can to help small businesses. Except for the Conservative party, all our federal parties have proposed to significantly increase spending, increase taxes or increase both. One has to look no further than Bob Rae’s Ontario of the 1990s to see that increased spending and increased taxes resulted in an economic disaster.

So before you bombard me with e-mails accusing me of being bias towards the Conservative party - get over it!

The fact is the Conservatives are the only party talking about keeping federal spending under control. I do not have to wait and see the Conservative platform to know that it will contain only a fraction of the spending the other four parties have initiated.

The National Citizens Coalition, has and always will stand for “more freedom through less government” and a government taxpayers can afford. In these challenging economic times, overburdened taxpayers need the federal government to tighten their fiscal belt, just like millions of Canadians are doing right now.

I agree with Kylie--the government needs to be a lot smaller. But just what makes her think that the Conservatives are going to be in favour of smaller government? Sure, they might say so, but their actions as a minority government give us no reason to believe that they will tighten their belts, or otherwise shrink the size and scope of government. If anything, just the opposite is true.

And to think that she is endorsing the Tories, on the NCC blog no less, without having read the Conservative Party's platform, is, frankly, ridiculous. There is nothing except some inchoate "sense" that the Tories really will, this time, shrink the government and really will, this time, cut taxes significantly, and not spend more money on, for example, agricultural subsidies.

Paul Tuns' response is right on the money:

I have no idea why they don't wait for the Conservative platform to be released; at least then they could claim to have studied the implications of each party's position and considered them carefully and then endorse the Tories. Instead of being principle conservative observers, they have become complete shills. And I'm not sure what gives supposedly small-c conservatives confidence that the big-C Conservatives won't spend. Have they forgotten the 25% increase in federal spending in the first two Harper/Flaherty budgets?

Apparently, Paul, they have forgotten. Or they have, like too many other Conservative shills, plenty of excuses at-the-ready: Oh, it was a minority government; loe, it's necessary given Canada's culture; boop boop the winds were blowing in an easterly direction!; etc.

I predict that you'll eat your words, Kylie, when the Conservatives release their platform which will include increased spending, no mention of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, no mention of the long-gun registry, no significant action on bread-and-butter small government issues.

UPDATE: Peter Coleman, President and CEO of the NCC left this in the comments to the blog post by Kylie:

Just to be clear about this blog posting. The NCC does not and will never support a political party. We do not get any government handouts and would never take them. We have been critical of the Conservative government in the past and will continue to do so. We believe that the income trust issue decision was handled badly and we launched a campaign to say so. We will continue to campaign for barley farmers who want to sell their own crops to whoever they want, keeping government spending in check, and reigning in runaway human rights commissions. This follows a tradition in the NCC. In fact many card-carrying Progressive Conservatives are still angry at us for opposing Brian Mulroney on the GST and the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.

We have always believed that in very difficult economic times, government needs to tighten its belt and we are looking at whoever is elected to do so. It is just a statement of economics right now that the only party that is showing any sign of fiscal sanity is the Conservatives. In other words, the alternatives - Green, Liberal, Bloc and NDP - would attack the our current fiscal challenges with higher taxes and more government. If global warming or social justice or big union power are more important to you than economics, then vote for an alternative.

Peter Coleman
Presiden and CEO
National Citizens Coalition

I, for one, appreciate the clarification. Having said that, I'm not sure if it's a sufficient clarification. Peter says that the NCC "will never support a political party," but then goes on to insist that it makes sense to support the Conservative party because they're "the only party that is showing any sign of fiscal sanity." That sounds like support to me.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on October 6, 2008 in Canadian Politics | Permalink

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Comments

Good work Mr. Jaworski.
And it was about time we see at least one post adressing directly the upcomming elections.
In less than a week, this country will have to vote for its next government so I'm really interesed in reading opinions on the Shotgun.
I'm sure others share the same interets I do for some good partisan fights on the Shotgun.

*

"The fact is the Conservatives are the only party talking about keeping federal spending under control."

Is it just me or the CPC already drove this country into deficits after inheriting of a huge surplus made by their predecessors?


Posted by: Marc | 2008-10-06 1:39:58 PM


Sorry guys, but I have to agree with the NCC on this one.

Of the major parties, the conservatives are the only ones even considering controlled spending as a positive.

And while I agree with your concerns regarding Conservative spending habits, would you honestly endorse any of the other parties as a nationally viable option?

Smallest of evils, this time around. Gotta vote for Stephen Harper.

Posted by: Q | 2008-10-06 1:45:22 PM


With this move, the NCC has basically neutralized itself as an effective pressure group for small-government Canadians. If all ideas-based groups followed the NCC and jumped on a party bandwagon, it would eliminate the incentives for political parties to endorse those ideas to court the supporters of those groups for votes.

The lesser of two (or three, or five) evils is still evil. Yeah, they're the best of a bad bunch, but that doesn't mean that the solution is to cheer for them - it's to continue pushing for the ideas that we believe would make for a GOOD political party and encouraging the existing parties to endorse those ideas as well. At the end of the day, you can lend your vote to the party that most closely takes on those beliefs, or hang onto it until someone takes them on to your liking.

If the folks at the NCC want to fight the political party fight, there's already an entity in Canada dedicated to fighting for a Conservative government: The Conservative Party of Canada.

Posted by: Janet | 2008-10-06 2:13:41 PM


Further post on the NCC blog:

Just to be clear about this blog posting. The NCC does not and will never support a political party. We do not get any government handouts and would never take them. We have been critical of the Conservative government in the past and will continue to do so. We believe that the income trust issue decision was handled badly and we launched a campaign to say so. We will continue to campaign for barley farmers who want to sell their own crops to whoever they want, keeping government spending in check, and reigning in runaway human rights commissions. This follows a tradition in the NCC. In fact many card-carrying Progressive Conservatives are still angry at us for opposing Brian Mulroney on the GST and the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords.

We have always believed that in very difficult economic times, government needs to tighten its belt and we are looking at whoever is elected to do so. It is just a statement of economics right now that the only party that is showing any sign of fiscal sanity is the Conservatives. In other words, the alternatives - Green, Liberal, Bloc and NDP - would attack the our current fiscal challenges with higher taxes and more government. If global warming or social justice or big union power are more important to you than economics, then vote for an alternative.

Peter Coleman

--I have to say that this is the only responsible thing for the NCC to say at this point. It's hard to criticize them...

Posted by: Q | 2008-10-06 2:20:10 PM


As I see it, the NCC calls them as they see them.
Agree or no, they are honest and forthright in their statements. Would that other organizations in Canada do the same.

Posted by: atric | 2008-10-06 3:19:29 PM


The NCC should be nailing their former leader on the fact he HATES free speech.

Posted by: Faramir | 2008-10-06 11:00:34 PM



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