I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of deficits and debt. Both the federal government in Ottawa and the provincial government in Saskatchewan are running larger than predicted deficits. To the credit of the Saskatchewan Party, the provincial government is taking steps to address the issue and bring the budget back to balance. The feds on the other hand are continuing to ignore the looming fiscal cliff because apparently a few extra billions in spending right now is what we need to prepare for the retirement of the baby boomer generation, and a much small workforce over the next twenty years.
The SK government unveiled a plan to increase a whole host of taxes (PST by 1 point, property taxes (education portion), and sin taxes (taxes on beer, wine, spirits, and cigarettes), and end a series of PST exemptions in order to raise the revenue to balance the budget. I’m surprised that the PST will now be applicable to children’s clothing. I thought if there was one exemption that would stay, that would be it.
This budget really seems to hammer home the reality that there’s no significant appetite for making the government smaller at either level of government. Canadians – in Saskatchewan and elsewhere – seem to really love their government programs. A right wing party (the Saskatchewan Party) has authored what normally would be called an NDP budget, the only difference is that there’s no new spending. We need serious root and branch reforms to our health care and education systems. Its not good enough to just reorganize the administration of these programs. The programs need to be altered fundamentally. It’d be nice to have two clear choices in an election and to have some clear blue living sky between them on the issues that really matter.
Its time to take on the tough challenges and start having the courage of our convictions. The Federal Liberal Party won a majority government by running to the left, let me repeat that, to the left of the NDP. I think Conservatives should stop settling for a slightly right of left of centre party, and be a genuinely conservative party again.