Monthly Archives: March 2011

Common cents

When the recession hit in 2008, Canada’s governments fell off the balanced budget wagon with amazing speed, pouring themselves billions in public debt and courting a horrible interest payment hangover.

Today, with the country’s economic troubles supposedly in the past, the “emergency” spending continues in the apparent belief political, if not economic survival, requires it.

Except in the birthplace of Canadian socialism, Saskatchewan, where premier Brad Wall has the only budget surplus in the country and the highest popularity rating.

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Intellectual paralysis, brought on by cultural relativism

When Justin Trudeau rolled the new citizenship guide into a dunce cap and jammed it firmly onto his head he revealed a great deal about the sorry mess that is modern liberalism.

It is true that he has since apologized. But his contrived apology is of no interest. It is their unreflective words that reveal politicians’ thoughts, not the paste squeezed out of the PR machine once it is switched on, from the opening “Perhaps” through a disingenuous reference to “semantic weeds” to blaming his partisan opponents’ cynicism, to the “if they’ve been interpreted” ploy that apologizes for other people’s taking offence not his giving it. Plus it only appeared after a series of Tweets defending his original comments.

What merits attention is his original remarks. And not because he’s a deep or leading thinker. Rather, when a handsome and privileged but otherwise ordinary political celebrity talks without a script we get contemporary liberalism unfiltered. And unfiltered, it wrinkles its nose at a vigorous denunciation of “honour killings” and “female genital mutilation.” Calling them “barbaric,” he said, made him “uncomfortable” because it was “pejorative.” Continue reading

Why city hall needs party politics

So how do we get yet another spending increase even bigger than they’re letting on, dragging tax hikes behind it? I’ll tell you: unanimously. Things are back to normal in the City of Ottawa and we’re all going to pay for it.

I grant that under Larry O’Brien politics drifted much further from usual than we really wanted. But at least when he was mayor we thought big tax increases were just one among several choices and a bad one at that. Whereas under Jim Watson we’re back to the soothing conviction that there is only one policy course open to reasonable people, which regrettably is lousy but we should all smile and look wise while lurching toward disaster. And the whole city council agrees. Continue reading

An economic children’s story

The other day I was treated to a modern fairy tale about how the Big Bad Capitalists were gobbling up Little Red Unionized Worker in the America’s formerly happy Dairyland of Wisconsin. I suppose these things frighten impressionable children. But it just left me baffled.

The story, told by the CAW’s Jim Stanford during a debate on BNN, said that long, long ago when people were progressive and deficits had not been invented, governments bestowed upon the downtrodden masses the right to collective bargaining. And there was much rejoicing and prosperity reigned. But unionization worked so well the economy stagnated and real wages stopped rising and unionization declined except in the public sector and now there’s an evil plot against them there too. Huh? Continue reading