Paul Martin, Canada’s Finance Minister and the man who wants to be Canada’s next Prime Minister tabled his “recession” budget yesterday; December 10, 2001. He might as well have stayed home.
The problem with Martin’s budget is that it does nothing to fix the many problems his previous budgets and Chrétien’s government has caused over their past three terms.
Since Chrétien took power, he did nothing to undo or repair some of the more contentious policies which were put in place by his predecessor, Brian Mulroney.
Free Trade is still with us – more than before. We all still pay the GST. The military is in tatters. National Health Care is at best precarious. Canada now has just one airline. And at that, the airline is a poverty case. Our biggest “private” companies have become so tax-payer dependent, that we no longer see the obscenity in the working class paying for the lifestyles of the rich and powerful. And Canada is adrift with no vision for the future.
Canada’s auditor General said everything in her most recent report short of: Canada’s administrators are incompetent. She should have; since it is true.
The most damaging aspect to Canada’s current economic position is in the fragility of our society due to the neglect of small to medium size businesses by the federal government. Rather than making it easier for small independent businesses to make profits and grow, The Canadian government put all of our eggs in just one basket. The basket of huge corporations.
Instead of giving Canada’s biggest companies massive amounts of money in terms of grants, interest free loans, unsecured loan guarantees and special tax advantages. Canada should have just made it much less expensive and more rewarding for smaller companies to make money.
What we are seeing today is what should be the demise of “Corporatism”. If the tax payers do not continue to bail out the “Big Boys” who are mostly great friends to the government, they might very well collapse and take many of us with them. We are already seeing it happen. So be it. Let them collapse and purge the system.
Paul Martin’s Band Aid Budget is just one more circumstance where the government hangs on hoping for a better day. Martin and others in the know lied to us when they kept saying that Canada’s economy is fundamentally stronger than the economy of the USA. And that we would probably avoid a recession.
He is also lying to us now by presenting us with a budget that does nothing to address our principle problems. And he is procrastinating in the hopes that the American economy will pick up and carry us out of this mess, partly of his own government’s making.
The moment Martin and company declared Canada’s economy to be more secure than the economy to our immediate South, was when we should all have heard the warning bells. And if we had; perhaps we could have better prepared ourselves. But now that we are either in it, or well on our way, all we can do is batten down the hatches and ride it out as best we can.
And when Martin presents himself as the candidate to win the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office), once Chrétien decides he has had enough and retires, we should remember what Paul Martin did and didn’t do when he had the chance.
Forget about his great past balanced budgets. Anyone can be a genius when everything is going their way. It is when things are tough, when one can measure a person’s worth. And from this Paul Martin budget, he simply is not measuring up.