--> Getting It Right: Spending for Votes - Not for Canadians

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Spending for Votes - Not for Canadians

As the political storms swirl in Ottawa, are Canadians paying attention to the dangerous financial decisions of the desperate Martin government?

We’ve all heard about the new spending; the opening of the vaults and the gleeful pouring out of money by politicians who, because of the loss of the moral authority to govern, have decided to revert to the old-fashioned (but often successful) model of flat-out vote buying.

Good politics, sure – but good fiscal management for our country? I think not.

Yesterday, Jason Clemens of the Fraser Institute released a summary of the increases in spending by the Federal Liberals. It is enough to strike fear into the hearts of Canadians who consider thoughtful fiscal policy the cornerstone of responsible government.

I know that this isn’t particularly exciting stuff – especially when we have scandal after scandal shaking Parliament. The headlines are compelling - Federal Liberals are leaving their party over a lack of open debate on same-sex marriage and Federal Conservatives are riding out the pain of suspect tapes.

Paul Martin’s whole shtick was responsible, fiscal management for Canadians. But what has become clear since he began this wide spending ride, egged on by the NDP, is that his government is willing to sacrifice that principle – along with the future well-being of our country – to cling to power however necessary.

$9.1 billion in extra spending has been announced since the 2005 budget was approved. Program spending has increased from $141.4 billion to $163.7 billion in just two years. This is over twenty billion dollars in two years – a 15.8 percent increase - far, far higher than inflation.

But even worse than this madness of spending is the Martin government saying they are going to fund some of it by finding $10.9 billion in internal savings over the next five years. Unfortunately, this is downright unbelievable from a government under whose watch the public sector has ballooned to levels not seen since the dizzying 80s and 90s when most Canadians accepted that government growth was out of control.

There are effectively no surpluses available now, after the Contingency Fund is reinstated – in fact Clemens says that the government can’t even put money aside this year for that rainy day fund because it has already been allocated in this pell-mell spending spree. If we get another SARS or September 11th, we are going to be running deficits. These deficits, and the interest associated with them, will hamper our ability to fund the priorities of Canadians, like health care.

Just a reminder - this is your money. How do you feel about your money being spent to prop up what is by all accounts, a corrupt and directionless government?


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