Friday, June 3, 2011

The federal chopping block

Terence Corcoran on potential cuts to federal spending kicks off the discussion about how the federal government has not even begun to think about ways to significantly reduce spending.  Treasury Board head Tony Clement has talked about reducing spending by less than 1%.  Imagine if gas prices were studied at length, announced to be coming down, and then prices fell by only one cent?  Yawn. 

What is needed is a fundamental discussion and review of the proper and moral role of government in Canadian society.  Originally a mostly-free nation, our lives and economy have become choked with laws, regulations and rules about almost everything we do all day long.  Hundreds of thousands of government workers spend their careers either operating monopolies that prevent us from making free decisions or designing and implementing punishments if we make choices that do not meet their approval. 

What if you want to build your home your own way?  Sorry, thousands of rules prevent you from doing so.  Want to buy your food from the farmer or supplier of your own choosing?  Sorry, our food producers are strangled in red tape too.  Would you like to choose your own occupation?  Sorry, there are libraries of rules about who can do what for whom, how, when, and for how much. Wish there was a competitive market for electricity to keep your costs down?  No luck there since the government forces hydro companies down your throat and prevents competition.  Do you want to live your life unmolested by state functionaries and meddlers who think they know better than you how to run your life?  Lots of luck with that.

Stephen Harper was once outwardly in favour of the freedom of individuals to live life in peaceful pursuit of happiness, meaning a vastly reduced size of the state.  In minority governments any proposed changes could have been voted down at any time.  Now he has a chance to show greatness and live by the principles that once defined him.  Will he be just another politician who gains power and adopts the same old methods that have seen government ooze into every corner of our lives? Or, will he be willing to spend four years making human rights and freedoms the cornerstone of his term, lifting the burden of government from our backs? By clearly explaining the almost forgotten philosophy and principles of freedom to the public along the way and being willing to lose the next election if the voters cannot stand a rollback of socialism and the ensuing economic boom that would come with it, Harper could earn a place among the great politicians - one who is in it for the people and not for power.

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