Meritha and I voted early this morning. There was no lineup. I expect voting will pick up later in the day.
I’m not a member of any political party; the online community I’m involved in – Let’s Do It Ourselves at ldio.org – is non-political. However, we, and LDIO, do have a philosophy.
We believe in federal governments doing only those things which only federal governments can do; provincial or state governments doing those things which provincial or state governments can do; local governments doing only those things that are necessary to do collectively on a local level, and families and communities doing things together, and for each other.
The blurry photo is a picture of my grandfather standing in front of the tiny log cabin that he built on the banks of Battle Creek in 1904. When he built it, Alberta and Saskatchewan did not exist but were still part of the Northwest Territories.
There were no roads, no telephones, no electricity; no nothing except neighbours and a 50 mile horseback ride to the nearest town which was Maple Creek. You, not the government, looked after yourself and your family, and you looked after your neighbours.
“Progressivism” has brought us a long way from that. We are now so progressive that we are not only, not looking after ourselves; we are – through our governments – borrowing money to spend on ourselves and leaving the bill for our children and grandchildren.
The immorality of it should cause us to squirm. And if you haven’t voted already, would you reflect on that when you walk into the polling booth today?
The last blog was about how the NDP’s socialist ideology works in practice, rather than in theory. It doesn’t, at least not for young people or for job creating entrepreneurs. But for bureaucrats and the unions, it’s Fat City! This blog is in video at https://youtu.be/oJc3txLOHyU
But what about the Liberals? In my lifetime I’ve lived under mostly Liberal governments, and the one I remember best is Pierre Trudeau’s.
Liberal name tag or not, Pierre Trudeau was a socialist, and a close friend of Marxists like Fidel Castro. Pierre Trudeau was also an admirer of Communist China, – as is his son – and when he took office in 1968, he put his ideology into high gear claiming that it would result in what he called: “The Just Society.”
What we actually got was The Broke Society. Government programs sprouted like weeds, and for the next 25 years, so called “progressive” governments routinely spent more than they took in. Debt became acceptable, even to so-called conservatives.
By 1993, the accumulated deficits, or debt, had reached 420 billion dollars. But of course, we were getting all that free stuff from the government!
But of course, it wasn’t free. Our free stuff was paid for by other taxpayers, and, their free stuff was paid for by us. But in the middle was the bureaucracy, and the lenders, and they made out like bandits!
Taxpayers were squeezed, and when governments can’t squeeze any more from taxpayers, they borrow, just like Justin Trudeau intends to do.
From 1867 until the debt crises in 1993, our federal debt had grown
to 420 billion dollars. Of that, only 37 billion was borrowed to actually fund government programs.
That means that over 90% of that $420 billion debt had been borrowed just to pay interest on previous borrowing.
We’ve paid over $1 trillion in interest since 1990, and we’re still paying over 3 billion dollars a month! Justin Trudeau wants to borrow money for infrastructure. $1 trillion would look after all of Canada’s infrastructure needs.
Finally, after more debt was incurred – insisted on, incidentally, by the NDP and Liberals – dealing with the worldwide recession that began in 2008, Canada’s back in the black; running surpluses, and the economy is growing.
Yet Justin intends to borrow again, run deficits, and grow the debt. Is our debt the legacy we want to leave to our children and grandchildren?
Many Canadians have come down with an emotional condition called Harper Derangement Syndrome. Visit some online discussion sites and it’s like reading the script from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
It’s quite true; Harper’s not warm and fuzzy; he does whatever is necessary to get his legislation passed, and he controls his caucus.
But in the past year, Justin Trudeau has summarily fired all his Liberal Senators, and even blocked qualified Liberal candidates in favour of his handpicked choices.
And he’s actually told Liberals who don’t agree with his position on abortion that: “You can’t be in the Liberal caucus.” That’s the Trudeau style.
But that’s also irrelevant. Elections shouldn’t be about personalities or style but about experience and proven ability.
Our budget is back in surplus, our economy is growing, and, most importantly, we can reduce the size of the debt that our children will inherit.
How about that for a legacy?
According to the New York Times, – which incidentally is a very liberal newspaper – Canada’s middle class has become the world’s wealthiest.
And opposition and Ottawa Mandarin’s claims to the contrary, the world’s regard for Canada has become so positive that for two of the last six years, Canada’s been ranked as the second best place in the world to live.
The other four years – including this one – Canada’s been ranked number one.
How’s that for a legacy?
I know we live in a postmodern society, but on Monday, shouldn’t we vote with our heads, and not our emotions?
If you believe in smaller government and common sense politics, we invite you to join Let’s Do It Ourselves, an online community at ldio.org
We’re in the final days of a very important federal election campaign, and we need to get this one right. Maybe it’s because of my age, but I’m convinced it’s usually a good idea to look back, before moving forward.
Thomas Mulcair and the new Democrats certainly make a point of looking back to Saskatchewan’s 17 consecutive balanced budgets under NDP rule.
Unfortunately, independent financial analysts have suggested that those balanced budgets were sometimes produced by fiddling with accounting practices. But that’s not what’s important.
I grew up, and farmed in Saskatchewan during those NDP years, and those balanced budgets – real or not – were a rare bright spot in a chronically depressed, opportunity-lacking economy.
When Meritha and I pulled up stakes and moved our family to Alberta in 1975, we bought a home in a cul-de-sac. There were 10 homes, 6 of them occupied by economic refugees from Saskatchewan.
Comparing the paths the two provinces took tells us why.
At the end of World War II, Alberta elected a pro-business government; Saskatchewan elected an, incentive stifling, anti-business government. And for the next 60 years their economies headed in very different directions.
By 2005, Alberta’s population had more than tripled to 3.2 million, while Saskatchewan’s stagnated at 1 million. Under socialism, there was an exodus of businesses to Alberta, BC, and Ontario, and predictably, for 60 years, Saskatchewan’s sons and daughters followed.
The black humour of the time suggested that for Saskatchewan’s youth, the most appropriate graduation gift was a set of luggage.
Socialist policy always, sooner or later, results in diminishing opportunity, particularly for young people. In Social Democratic (socialist) Europe, youth unemployment currently ranges from 15 to over 50%.
Of course, the left argues that Alberta had resources, particularly oil. But Saskatchewan obviously had plenty of oil, and it’s now being developed. What it lacked was a business friendly government.
In fact, just a few years before they were turfed from office, the NDP abandoned some of their socialist dogma and lowered business taxes. To their surprise, tax revenue jumped!
But it was too late for the NDP. Brad Wall’s government took over and lowered taxes even more, and tax revenue soared. After 70 years, Saskatchewan is growing again, but in spite of abundant evidence that lowering taxes raises revenue, Trudeau and Mulcair want to raise them.
Sadly, Canada has another example of socialist folly. For decades Ontario was pro-business, and, Canada’s economic powerhouse. But in 1990, Bob Rae’s NDP took office and started implementing socialist ideology. As could be predicted, many businesses stagnated, or headed for the exit.
Then, when the Liberal party took over, they governed like socialists, and now, almost inconceivably, Ontario has become a have not province.
Economists compare Ontario’s finances to those of bankrupt Greece, and tragically, youth unemployment is approaching European levels.
Until this June, Alberta’s PC party governed like Alberta was their personal playpen and bank. With oil at $100 a barrel, they threw money at every problem, and seemingly, at every crony capitalist friend.
Four months ago the NDP took over but nothing’s changed. Union cronies have simply taken the place of the PCs corporate cronies, and they’re all securely seated on the gravy train.
And the socialists are governing like, well, socialists. Because if you’re a socialist you’ve just gotta do some socialism, so over the next three years they’re raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
But here’s the reality. What they are actually telling Alberta’s youth is that if they can’t find someone willing to train them, and pay them $15 an hour, they can’t enter the workforce. Read that again.
So erosion of the Alberta advantage accelerates, and the exodus back to Saskatchewan will continue.
There are plenty of things to dislike about Stephen Harper, although Harper Derangement Syndrome has become so absurd that in some cases it probably qualifies as a mental illness. I am not joking.
Harper isn’t warm and fuzzy; he does whatever he feels is necessary to get legislation passed, and he tightly controls his troops.
But can you really argue that Justin Trudeau isn’t controlling? For starters, ask the would-be Liberal candidates he forced aside to get his handpicked candidates in place for this election. Or ask any pro-life Liberal.
Thomas Mulcair is warm and fuzzy? Okay; he is quite fuzzy on how he’s going to spend tons more money, and still balance the books.
And I’m old enough to remember both Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau. They were both ruthless and totally opportunistic politicians.
But elections shouldn’t be about personalities, (or even the Niqab.) The bottom line is the economy, and in a world that’s spent the last seven years struggling out of a major recession, Canada has done exceptionally well.
Unlike most other developed nations, our books are back in balance, and the economy is growing.
Canada’s taken a pragmatic approach to the millennia-old problem of climate change; a controversial and still clearly unsettled issue if there ever was one.
(Millennia-old you say? Certainly. Google, Vikings in Greenland. Or Doggerland)
I believe that Canada has taken a rational approach to the Middle East refugee crisis, balancing compassion with prudence.
And as for all the hand-wringing about Canada’s place in the world, here’s a reality check. For four of the last six year, Canada’s been ranked number one as the best place to live. The other two years, Canada was ranked second.
Is there another country in the world where citizens would want to terminate that success by changing government?
It’s hard to believe that a head covering can become an issue in an election campaign, but the Niqab has managed to do it.
Newspapers carry a couple of articles each day, usually opposing the Conservatives in their opposition to wearing the Niqab during the Canadian citizenship ceremony, and it comes up in every party leader’s debate.
Earlier this week, Barbara Kay wrote an excellent National Post article on 10 reasons to ban the Niqab, and I agree with most of them. However I’d like to propose an overriding principle that suggests we should allow the Niqab, and that principle is tolerance.
I wrote a blog last Canada Day called: “Pursuing Tolerance, or why I believe in the Niqab.http://iwuz.me/2015/07/01/pursuing-tolerance-or-why-i-believe-in-the-niqab/ A few months of reflection has made me realize that the second phrase should have read: “or why I’m prepared toput up withthe Niqab.” I am quite aware that that stance will still put me offside with the vast majority of Canadians, including a whole lot of Muslims. So be it.
Many people in our society understand tolerance to meanaffirmationof an idea or practice, when in fact it simply meansputting upwith them. As a Canadian, I’m prepared to put up with, or tolerate, many ideas or practices that I find stupid, ill advised, indefensible, obnoxious, or even, intolerant. I view wearing the Niqab and Burqa to be all of the above.
And as such, I believe they are a valuable reminder to all Canadians of the inferiority ofMuslim societies to Canadian society. That’s why most Muslims move here.
But that’s not the main reason I support allowing a woman to wear a face covering during the citizenship ceremony,provided, that she is identified, open face, by a court official prior to the ceremony, as is the current practice.
It’s because I too have some beliefs and associations that some would and do find obnoxious, and some actually find intolerable. Here’s just one illustration.
Most of our eight grandchildren have, at one time or another attended a Christian Charter school. I support that, and I also support public education dollars following the students to those schools.
Our children pay provincial education tax, exactly like thefamily next door. Yet some people – including some politicians – insist that our children must pay education taxes to support the public school system,pluspay the full cost of educating their own children. That’s discrimination built on a foundation of intolerance.
Christian schools approach education from a particular philosophical worldview, but then,allschools do. The schools our grandchildren attended are open to all students of any or no religion, and they adhere to the provincial curriculum. Studies also show that most faith based schools produceat leastas well educated and socialized students asregular (secular) schools.
Unfortunately, there are many more glaring examples of intolerance in Canadian society. Think of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s barring – by fiat – all those who do not agree with his pro-abortion stance, from running as Liberal candidates. Canadian universities now routinely bar speakers whose views do not accord with the (usually) left-wing stance of the administration or the student council; and some Canadian law societies feel they have the right to dictate the social values of law schools.
I’m not prepared to spend moral capital by refusing to tolerate the Niqab when there are far more fundamental battles to be fought.
So far in Canada, the Niqab has been little more than an eyesore. But I want to be perfectly clear, that the moment that a Niqab or Burqa is used as a disguise in the commission of a major violent crime, or a terrorist act, the game will have changed.
By having tolerated the Niqab for 30 seconds during a citizenship ceremony, Canadian society will have amassed the moral capital to ban it outright should it be found to present a danger to society.
And finally, we don’t need to provide the radical fringe with martyrs. Forcing a tiny minority of Muslim women who choose to wear a religiously unnecessary bag over their heads, to uncover, is a waste of our time.
Let’s tolerate them, but throw our open and strong support behind the vast majority of Muslims who are just patriotic Canadians.