Thursday, September 27, 2007

Surpluses, and The Price We Pay

Harper's bragging about the Federal budget Surplus.

Taking a page out of Ralph Klein's playbook, we find PMSH bragging:

Harper cited an old expression about the inevitability of death and taxes: "In Canada for far too long the same thing could be said about debt and taxes," he said.

He said paying down the debt is an investment in Canada's future, and serves as good news "for the taxpayers of our future, our children and grandchildren."

But is it really? Alberta paid off its debt in record time - due largely to a booming economy. But the province suffers from a variety of ailments from a decade and a half or more of parsimonious underspending on the part of the provincial government.

In Calgary, we have major, and in some cases historic, schools that are falling apart for want of a new roof. The city is in desperate need of at least two new hospitals; our transportation infrastructure is clogged with traffic; public transit in Calgary is a bad joke on a good day and goodness knows there's a plethora of other topics where a government bent on reducing the debt has done so by swapping one form of debt for another.

Before Canadians get all excited about Mr. Harper's "financial prowess", they should look long and hard at the situation that has been wrought in Alberta.

Perhaps more concerning is the fact that nearly 10% of this surplus comes straight out of programs that benefit society's vulnerable. In essence, 10% of this comes on the backs of literacy programs, minority rights, and we should not forget the massive commitments to military spending that the Con$ have made, which are not necessarily reflected in this number.

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