Harper’s challenge

A weekly column from Mel Wilde.

Contrary to what most of us think, all governments are faced with barriers to making changes. To be sure, a majority government has far more ability to move the country forward, but there are still formidable obstacles to deal with.

It is a simple fact that old-fashioned political patronage has ruled many parts of Canada since confederation.  Atlantic Canada and Quebec have been enjoying a bonanza of federal projects at the expense of the rest of Canada for more than a hundred years.

Added to those regional practices, we have a history of funding the strangest bunch of characters our nation could muster up. The list of groups that feed at the trough and the sheer range of people who believe they have a right to our tax dollars is horrifying.

We have groups who get funds to support Islamic extremists and ones who have enjoyed millions to wave their fluttery hands as an art form.  We have painters who cover a canvas in simple colors with no apparent arrangement and so-called artists who create a tree with no branches.

We have so-called feminists who believe we should fund anyone who can be claimed to be a victim of one sort or another.  Some union organizations receive grants for what they call education and the funds are used to further their own agenda.

Then there are the big spenders like the CBC which gets over a billion dollars for some seriously questionable productions and spending sprees.  I’m not suggesting eliminating the CBC, but for goodness sake if commercial networks can get by, why not the CBC.

Our tax dollars should not be used to pay for hockey nights when commercial networks can cover hockey with no tax dollars. We should never pay for CBC sitcoms that do not take in enough commercials to pay their own way.  If no one watches, why should the taxpayer cover it?

Perhaps it’s time the CBC was changed into a kind of PBS network or a Knowledge type network.  We just can’t afford to keep funding all this largess, whether it’s for some groups pet project or large gifts like those we pay the CBC.

Our world is still tottering on the verge of financial collapse. We must have our government stop the spending and we need it stopped fast.  Just watch the battle in the United States or in Europe if you don’t think now is the time for restraint.

It has only been the last few years during which interest rates around the world have been low. Many of us clearly remember when we had seven percent or more as interest rates.  If we only went to four or five percent our country’s ability to pay its debts would be jeopardized.

It’s in our interest to cut out the frills right now and concentrate on growth and prudent spending. This precarious world will not give anyone a second chance to keep its house in order.

The last time our country faced a tough financial hit the government of the time cut transfer payments which damaged medicare so badly we have never recovered. They also cut pensions to seniors and hurt a lot of little people without any attempt to cut off those feeding at the trough.

Prime Minister Harper has demonstrated he manages with a principled approach to governance. Let’s all hope he continues down that path by cutting funds to those people who haven’t worked or earned their way.

I suggest that it’s better we get our financial house in order before tragedy strikes. Our biggest customer is the United States and regardless of who wins their current debate they are a debt ridden mess. The United States economic meltdown is a direct threat to Canada.

I would hope that our leaders would get at the tough stuff now so we can handle whatever the world throws our way.  If we wait…we lose!

 

 

 

Mel Wilde is a retired Director of Operations for a large Canadian corporation. He is a noted world traveller and has studied geopolitical issues for many years. His most noticeable interest is in the effects of different types of governance and organizational behaviour

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