Tuesday, June 29, 2004

A Liberal Minority Government in Canada

Well, it's official. The votes have been counted. We have elected a Liberal minority government in Canada.

My wife and I were glued to the TV last night, watching the Canadian federal election drama unfold, trying to keep our son from the remote control. His watching preference was for any or all of the many Simpsons episodes which seem to rotate, channel to channel, so that no evening minute doesn't offer at least one viewing opportunity.

We might have been better off ceding the remote control to our son. At least we could have shared a few belly laughs with him at the antics of Homer Simpson and his family. Instead, we were disappointed at the prospect of yet another Liberal government.

While the Simpsons neatly tie up any loose plot ends by the end of each episode, in real life, especially with governments, it is not that tidy. Government foolishness, regardless of which party enshrines any particular bit of idiocy into law, often haunts us for decades to come. At least, when we tire of the Simpsons, we can turn off the TV. What do we do when we tire of government? Tossing out one bunch of bozos merely gets us another bunch of bozos. Is the devil you know better than the devil you don't know? Is that it? Does that explain why the Liberals are back again?

Wouldn't it have been nice to get a Conservative government for a change, just to see if they might at least make an effort, however half-hearted, to wean Canadians from the government teat?

Are we all a bunch of masochists in Canada? The Liberal record is one of sloth, indifference, even corruption. The gun registry fiasco has cost us over a billion dollars and doesn't even work. The Sponsorship scandal cost taxpayers many more millions of dollars and lined the pockets of Liberal cronies, mostly in Quebec. And we reward this behaviour? What is wrong with us?

Is it that the Conservatives pose a threat to our Canadian catatonia? What is it about the Conservative rhetoric that scares everyone so? Is it that they at least pay lip service to individual responsibility? Are we so unsure of ourselves individually that we need to snuggle up to the inviting bosom of government, latch on to a turgid nipple and never let go?

Surely we all know that the largesse of our government cannot go on forever. The flow of so-called services and benefits is going to slow down to a trickle, then dry up completely, eventually. We will all still be there, sucking away hungrily. But there will be nothing left. Nada. Zip.

What is going to happen then?

Doesn't anyone do the math? The ratio of employed to retired is getting smaller and smaller, year after year, decade after decade. By 2015 or so, it will be what -- two or three workers to every retired individual? Is that sustainable? From whose magic hats will future governments pull that very expensive cradle-to-grave security we clamour for? Not yours, not mine. No, they will be looking to tax our children. Think our taxes are high? Wait another decade or so to see what our kids will face. Is that the future we want for our offspring?

Maybe I'm too cynical. Maybe our future governments will find some new, miraculous way to solve all of our problems, financial and otherwise, and we will all live on merrily, truly carefree into our golden years. Sure.

The only consolation I can see for the moment is that Paul Martin appears to be a reasonable, decent sort of person, hopefully not cut from the same cloth as his predecessor, Jean Chretien. One can hope, can’t one? Pierre Elliot Trudeau, the beloved Liberal who set us on our current path towards oblivion, was at least honest about how and when he was going to screw us. I always pictured him as having "F**k You" emblazoned on his forehead. Jean Chretien, on the other hand, I imagined as having his middle finger extended to us all, hand hid behind his back so that we wouldn't realize how duplicitous he was.

Paul Martin? Let's wait and see. As if we had a choice.

No comments:

Post a Comment