THUNDER BAY, ON - December 31, 2009 - As the end of the year approaches many people take stock of the year that was and make resolutions for the year to come. If politicians did this they first would realize that there is much work to be done.
The political year of 2009 in Canada was – yet again – marked too often by hypocrisy and self-interest. Looking forward to 2010 there are many ways which politicians could raise the bar higher. Start with more honesty in politics, focusing on making Canada more prosperous, instead of only worrying about grabbing and holding on to power for its own sake. Here are suggestions for a few of Canada’s political leaders.
1. Prime Minister Stephen Harper:
Stop worrying about holding on to power for its own sake. Focus more on the basics of providing prosperity through limited government. Provide a clear detailed plan for balancing the budget – preferably over three years.
If you don’t believe in man-made global warming, then stop pretending you do. Instead, reject all forms of new carbon taxes like cap-and-tax. If you want to be ‘green’ find policies that won’t break the bank and will provide a cleaner environment in ways all can agree on.
2. Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff:
Stop trying to be all things to all people. You can’t both demand stimulus spending, having threatened to topple the government if it didn’t happen, then criticize the deficit that arose from it.
Start issuing clear ideas you to which you are committed. You have mused about a new high-speed railway, national daycare, East-West power grid, the Kelowna Accord, and raising the GST. Pick some you believe in and defend them. Better to debate the merits of a controversial plan than to have none at all.
Even better still, outflank Mr. Harper with a fiscally prudent agenda.
3. Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe:
The Bloc Quebecois are honest and clear. They want taxes raised to balance the budget and want Canada torn apart.
Take a long hard look at the benefits to Quebec of being in Canada – including the $8 billion a year in Equalization payments. Wind up your party, the goals of which never go higher than draining as much as possible into Quebec from the rest of Canada. The country deserves better; that includes Quebec.
4. City Mayors
Provincial and federal coffers are bare. Deficits loom for years and debt is piling up. Cities also have been over-spending. This time, though, cash bailouts won’t be on offer from higher levels of government. Mayors should protect local ratepayers from hikes in property taxes, user fess and levies. Now is the time to get back to basics focusing on core city priorities not grandiose ideas that cost billions of dollars.
5. All Politicians:
Resist calls to balance budgets on the backs on over-burdened taxpayers. The easy path of tax hikes is followed too often. Take the less-trodden road of reducing spending.
Focus more on honesty and sincerity. You might be surprised by the benefits that accrue. Canadians may actually like what they hear. If not, we are broad-minded enough to agree-to-disagree with respect.
Happy New Year!