After the release of the federal government’s budget, I am a little perplexed at the actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party. Trudeau says they are fulfilling their election promises and conducting business according the to will of Canadians who elected them. However, that is misleading at best and more closely resembles a lie based on numbers the prime minister provided to voters during the election. The Liberal Party and its leader spoke of increasing the annual deficit to no more than $10 billion and then balancing the budget in their fourth year in office.
However, that story changed once the Liberals took office and significantly increased with the release of the budget last week. The Liberals now plan to spend their way to a $29.4-billion deficit in 2016-17. They project a deficit of $113 billion over the next five years! So much for campaign promises and a maximum yearly deficit of $10 billion. It seems their logic is based on the idea that if a little deficit is good for the economy, a huge deficit will be awesome. I am sorry to say it does not work that way.
No matter how I look at the projections, they seem ridiculous. It’s like sending a kid to a candy store with the promise that mom and dad will give – actually loan – him $10 to buy sweets. The child is elated and starts planning the type and quantity of treats to purchase. Then out of the blue, the parents tell their child they will do more and he can actually pick out 2.5 times more candy than he was planning. Furthermore, he can get that many treats every year for the next five years! My point is the kid was elated at having goodies valued at $10 and gave little or no regard to how he would repay the loan. He was simply happy to go the candy store and start grabbing sweets. Which leads to the question, why would parents increase the debt their child owes (arbitrarily and without good reason) knowing the youth really has no comprehension how long it will take to pay back the loan?
According to Andrew Coyne of the National Post, servicing debts with our record-low interest rates now costs nine cents of every tax dollar. The cost is down significantly from the payback rate 38 cents per dollar when interest rates peaked in 1991.
At present, provincial debts are collectively approaching that of our federal debt or 60 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). That is a little shocking, but there are bigger issues to be concerned about such as provincial election candidates who never realized they should keep stupid social media comments to themselves.
It’s old news by now, yet it’s hard to imagine adults who aspire to govern our province do not realize crude comments they posted on social media will not come back to bite them in the butt. I know inappropriate comments are posted everyday on electronic media, but that does not make it right or socially acceptable. In fact, I feel people should be held accountable for all comments they make on media and to the public, but problem is who will enforce it and to whose standards? The public and professional media standards hold me accountable for my statements in this column. The newspaper in which it is printed is also held accountable. Rules regarding social media etiquette and common courtesy should apply to everyone and there should be penalties for infractions as four Saskatchewan election candidates discovered.
Speaking of negative things, I spotted something odd as I drove past the Highway 21 sign corridor on the south side of town. Two signs belonging to local businesses were laying flat which isn’t unusual given the strong winds that can blast open areas. However, the posts of one sign appeared to have smooth, horizontal breaks. When I biked back to the sign corridor, it was readily apparent that the signposts for the Star Cafe had been purposely cut with a saw. In comparison, the upright posts for other sign (owned by Pharmasave) which had toppled over showed jagged breaks consistent with pressure exerted by a high wind (or possibly a vehicle). I have never had much compassion for vandals and would really like to see the perpetrators pay for – and repair – the damage they inflict on property.
On an unrelated note, I hope residents enjoyed the Community Awards last week and the performance by Johnny Harris and the crew behind the CBC television show Still Standing. Both were great events. It’s always a treat to recognize and learn more about local individuals, groups and businesses that have made significant contributions to our. There are a lot of such people in Maple Creek, so don’t forget to nominate candidates for next year. Regarding the Still Standing performance that residents enjoyed on March 26, I have never seen the Legion Hall fill up so fast. The show itself was hilarious and I left with a side ache that was induced by continuously laughing. The performance by Harris, who also plays Constable George Crabtree in the TV show Murdoch Mysteries, brought back my earliest memories of Maple Creek including cattle sales and advertisements that left nothing to the imagination when it comes to scrotum sizes and reproductive abilities. I guess that goes to prove the censors of any media are ultimately its users, so we all need to carefully consider how we use it and interact with others.