Is it really time for a change?

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.

  1. #1 by lylem on May 27, 2004 - 2:01 pm

    Here Here!

  2. #2 by Sean Crocker on May 27, 2004 - 3:25 pm

    All Liberal, All The Time ;(

  3. #3 by Jordon Cooper on May 27, 2004 - 6:30 pm

    I agree with your economic points. I think you may have even understated the Conservative economic policies but I have to disagree about your assessment of what lead to the NDP defeat in 82. It was during that time that interest rates were going through the roof and both urban and rural people were losing their homes and farms. The NDP “farm bank” was very unpopular (I don’t know enough about it to know what it was about) and the NDP came across as indifferent to the problem. Devine campaigned against interest rates and the farm bank and that won him rural Saskatchewan and Sasktoon.

    Outside a great first week in power, it was downhill from there 🙂

    Now if we can just get him electe to Ottawa!

  4. #4 by Sean Crocker on May 27, 2004 - 8:02 pm


    Conservative platform ideas seem feasible, economists say: Plans hinge on assumption that spending will grow by less than 3 per cent a year

    OTTAWA — The federal Conservatives’ election proposal to hand out multibillion-dollar tax cuts while balancing the budget, paying down the debt and maintaining social programs is feasible, but tough, economists say.

    It would not be quite as disastrous as the rival Liberals make out, they add…

  5. #5 by Leighton Tebay on May 28, 2004 - 9:03 am

    The 2.9 percent yearly spending increase is a critical point. Government spending increases on average 4.5% each year. Add the difference up over 5 years and you end up with a 51 billion dollars.

    Either two things will happen. The Conservatives will not meet their targets and run deficits or they will have to pull 10 billion dollars worth of cuts out of social programs each year. It’s easy to say you are going to be tight with spending in opposition, but in government it is a totally different ball game. 9 out of 10 governments would not have the restraint to do what the Conservatives plan. Ontario is a prime example.

  6. #6 by Sean Crocker on May 28, 2004 - 9:25 am

    “It’s a very tough fiscal stance, but it’s not as tough as Paul Martin took in 1995.” (From the Globe article)

    Come on LT, admit that their plan isn’t unreasonable! 😉

  7. #7 by Leighton Tebay on May 28, 2004 - 11:32 am

    Paul Martin had to take the tough stance he did. It was the right choice for the time. Canada did suffer for it. I don’t see the need for Canada to do the same thing again just for some tax cuts.

    I haven’t said the Conservatives plan is undoable, just that it is not prudent. It is too risky. It means either significant cuts to social spending or deficits.

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