Is it really time for a change?
In the 1970′s Saskatchewan lead the nation in economic growth. It had low unemployment, balanced budgets, and a profitable relationship with Ottawa. They had been in power for a long time and the people felt it was time for a change. The provincial government was seen as too cozy with Trudeau. The province elected Grant Devine. Grant brought change. He immediately lowered taxes but wasn’t able to reduce spending. In 2 terms he managed to butcher the civil service and mire the province in debt.
Saskatchewan did need some change. The NDP overbuilt infrastructure. The economy was driven heavily by crown corporations and choked off private investment. The Devine Conservatives did make some very good moves. They diversified the economy and privatized some crown corporations. What good they did is overshadowed by profound fiscal mismanagement.
This is what scares me about the Harper conservatives. I believe the downside to the Conservatives outweights the negatives of the Liberals. Some Liberals have become arrogant. Some time in opposition may help that. However I think we need to carefully consider our options.
If the Liberals are forced in to minority coalition with the Jack Layton NDP we could see the country pull strongly to the left putting our economic growth on skids.
The Conservative platform expects 90 billion dollars of government revenue in the next 5 years, even though they plan to dramatically cut taxes. That is 50 billion dollars more than the Liberals expect and 30 billion more than the NDP. It doesn’t take a mathematics degree to figure out what happens if they go through their spending and tax cut obligations and the revenue is not there. We are right back to the huge deficits of the Mulroney era. My estimation is that the Conservatives don’t have a fiscally prudent plan.
The Paul Martin approach of underestimating revenue and putting whatever is left over against the debt makes much more sense to me.