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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Harper Government agenda contains some practical solutions to our ailing economy

The coverage of the Speech from the Throne yesterday was almost universally negative on the Western Standard.

Dr. Moin Yahya thinks the Conservatives are “slithering” toward socialism with their call for a national securities regulator.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May thinks it is “shocking” that Harper has so quickly broken his campaign promise not to run deficits.

And Kevin Gaudet with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) thinks the government’s plan for an Obama-style “cap and trade” carbon tax scheme is “ugly.”

But in a statement released today, the government has highlighted some policies that sound promising:

The Harper Government will conduct a thorough strategic review of all program spending to streamline operations and save taxpayers money and this review will also include all Crown corporations and assets. As part of this review, all Departments and agencies will be required to produce detailed quarterly financial statements accessible to the public.

A review of crown corporation assets? That sounds like a prelude to much needed privatization and divesting.

The Harper Government will encourage investment in the uranium mining and airline sectors by raising the threshold for foreign investment while retaining the right to block foreign investment if it jeopardizes national security.

Wow! Excellent stuff. I’ll presume that by “encourage” Harper means only that his government will remove the tax and regulatory burdens on uranium mining.

The Harper Government will provided targeted supports to industries by reducing tariffs on imported machinery and equipment, extending the mineral exploration tax credit, extending support for international marketing of forestry products and providing incentives for energy-from-biomass.

This all sounds excellent. I’m not going to indulge my cynicism by questioning what the government means by “incentives” for biomass energy. Given the policy prescriptions that preceded this, I’m going to assume the best.

The Harper Government will support small businesses by further raising the small business tax threshold, indexing the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption to Inflation and establishing a new venture capital fund for entrepreneurs.

Smart. Very smart.

The Harper Government will push for an agreement on a Canadian internal economic union that would reduce interprovincial trade barriers, improve labour mobility and increase investment.

More interprovincial trade? That’s a great idea.

While the Western Standard will continue to criticize the Harper Government when it indulges in big government rhetoric and policies, we will also give credit where credit is due.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on November 20, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink


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I note that he has said nothing about Section 13 in either the throne speech or this.

Are we feeling betrayed yet?

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2008-11-20 4:22:50 PM


Not me. I never trusted Harper in the first place :-)

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-11-20 4:43:36 PM

I don't think the Throne Speech would be the place for such an annoucements, especially a speech focused on the economy. That being said, I'm not expecting Section 13 to find its way on the government's agenda.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-20 4:57:35 PM

So Matthew, can I announce the WS formal surrender on this issue?

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2008-11-20 5:08:49 PM

We never surrender. I'm waiting patiently for a Libertarian government.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-20 5:16:51 PM

In all seriousness, BLC, I think we'll see a free vote on a PMB like Keith Martin's.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-20 5:22:56 PM

Seriously when the US bond markets collapse under the huge weight of US foreign debt, (the currency bubble - the next great bubble to burst) sometime around 2010, none of this is gonna matter. All bets are off, and globally the gloves get dropped. It'll all be about oil then as the Middle East's long-suffering peoples will find out soon enough.

One thing is going to soon be in very short supply globally: hard currency. I suspect we won't know for sure just how much currency the US is issuing to guarantee these huge bailouts (and if the auto sector gets a bailout, that'll be enough to do in the US greenback) and I'd like to know what the US government's contingency plan is for bond market downgrading!

Do we still think going off the Gold Standard was such a great idea?

We are in for a great depression that is going to make 1931 look like good times... Get ready to make your own clothes people :o)

Posted by: bcf | 2008-11-20 6:20:45 PM

And to think there are still people who think shacks in the East Kootenays are worth $400 000!!!!!

Posted by: bcf | 2008-11-20 6:22:24 PM

I shall wait to see if he does any cutting of the size of government and especially the federal civil service, which should be a no-brainer. After all there is a huge redundancy with many federal ministries and that should be immediately eliminated. All this would result in a decrease in federal spending. Next they need to look at cutting federal programs, again many of which are redundant, which will decrease spending even more. So we shall see.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-11-20 7:27:07 PM

And Alain, the wordt part may be figuring out what to do with all that unfunded liability and obvious buyouts that will rear their ugly heads when you cut the civil service.

Posted by: DML | 2008-11-20 8:35:50 PM

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