How About Reality Politics?

Well, that didn’t take long. The three Musketeers’ – Harper, Trudeau and Mulcair – had hardly vanished in the fading blip of switched-off TV sets when the new round of promised spending moved up a notch.

With his cold-water-tap smile flickering briefly on usually angry lips Tom Mulcair renewed NDP promises to end unemployment, provide child care for every working mother at no more than $15 a day, and earmark $2.6 billion for a universal prescription drug program.

And he will do it all while balancing budgets every year during his term of office – if the NDP gets the nod from the electorate on October 19. Readers who believe he can accomplish all he is promising should vote NDP; readers who feel he doesn’t yet deserve “reality show” rating should look elsewhere.

It should be noted that a universal drug coverage plan has sputtered on many a political party back burner since health care came into being and that Elizabeth May and the Green Party, flushed it front and centre in the current election campaign – long before Mulcair.

Poli-watchers with long memories will recall the genuinely held early ambitions of Dennis Cocke, when as minister of health in Barrett’s government (1972-75) he dreamed of universal dental care to twin general health care. It was one his great disappointments that he could never find a financial formula taxpayers would have found affordable.

It is important that Mulcair and his NDP candidates tell us where they expect to raise the $2.6 billion – almost double Prime Minister Harper’s $1.9 billion now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t budget surplus – without raising taxes.

Speaking of Prime Minister Harper I wonder who advised him to keep the budget surplus – known since the end of March when the last fiscal year ended – secret for so long? Because it was useful vote-getter during the election campaign? Come, come Mr. Harper, we voters are not as slow on the uptake as your imagine. We accepted month after month of sad economic news and the need to hold spending in check.

We had our doubts when we were told cuts were needed in so many federal services – including the armed forces, the Coast Guard – and even postal delivery to name but a few. We grumbled, but accepted – until we learned the $1.9 billion had been saved at great cost to services and benefits to military veterans, seniors, First Nations and so many others. And more than a few us now have reservations about a Prime Minister who behaves more and more like a US Republican President.

The last of the three Musketeers, Liberal Justin Trudeau didn’t fare much better than his rivals in two hours of TV but he did seem a little more realistic.

Every hamlet, village, town and city in Canada is suffering minor ,or all too often , major infrastructure, breakdowns. Roads with potholes, bridges approaching replacement dates, public buildings in need of upgrade or replacement, parks and recreation centres in need of expansion and renewal

Trudeau’s promised plan to address nation-wide infrastructure problems as a job creator is sound. If organized and administered wisely it would create thousands of jobs from labourers to highly skilled engineers and technicians and be of incredible benefit nation-wide. He also announced how his government would raise the cash to pay the bills – a tax increase for the one percent highest income earners in the country, increased revenues from the increases workforce and increases export sales.

And three years of “modest deficit budgets.” That sends a warning shudder through our bones and rival electioneers shouted loud about the debt our young people would have to pay if Trudeau’s Liberals have their way.

It’s true there would be a bill, but at least it was honestly stated. Present generations of taxpayers have a historic penchant for spending and leaving the next group up to bat to pick up the tab. The generation before mine did it, and when we “old Canadians” finally shuffle off with some of our “governance” bills unpaid, it can be guaranteed our children and their children will do the same to whoever succeeds them..

My generation has built on foundations put in place by really “old Canadians”. Despite the never-ending chaos in other parts of the world, I think we live in a pretty good space; and I think our successors will build on what we leave them and make it even better.

Especially if they insist their political leaders deal with realities.

4 comments

  1. If there is any benefit to this interminable campaign it very well could be that voters will eventually begin to make the observations stated in this column without having read this column. At least that was my thought as I watched the Calgary debate.

    The lengthier campaign is somewhat like a lengthier rope; and we all know what that can be used for.

  2. Well Jim….luckily for me I’m in SAANICH and will proudly and wisely vote for the incumbent here, Elizabeth May….She is a very very hard working Member of Parliament as her peers in the HoC will attest to and have so attested as you know two years in a row…. Let’s talk infrastructure though….. as far as we on the South Island are concerned…. I’m not sure how much more Ottawa can promise us right now. (1) We’re to get Blue Bridge dollars; (2) They have promised us the golden carrot for sewage treatment facilities; (3) and thanks to the Conservatives…have finally promised money for a McKenzie& Admirals Interchange on the TransCanada….. How much more could a “Trudeau junior” really provide over next 5 years. Not much I don’t think.

  3. With regard to the previous comment, I agree with you when it comes to voting for Elizabeth May. However, it would be more than welcome if Ottawa were to reinstate some of the much needed social programs that it has eliminated.

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