"The best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging"
Re: “Wild Rose MP touts spending cuts,” Feb. 22
Wild Rose MP Blake Richards and his colleagues could do all taxpayers a favour and reduce the federal deficit far faster if they would simply do what Stephen Harper proposed before he became prime minister.
On Jan. 28, Maclean’s Magazine in an article entitled, “Money down the test tube” reported: In 2004, ensconced as official Opposition leader, Harper was as unequivocal: “We don’t agree with corporate welfare and subsidization. Business should be business and government should run public-interest concerns.”
On Jan. 16, an editorial in the Calgary Herald entitled, “Corporate welfare is a waste of our tax dollars” stated: “That was then and this is now. This week, the Harper government re-announced one of its past Economic Action Plan stimulus measures, in this case, $400 million for what it calls venture capital activities, but what the rest of us call corporate welfare, or taxpayer subsidies to business.”
On Jan. 17, Andrew Coyne’s column entitled, “Why are we paying for industrial handouts?” wrote: . . . “$400 million more in federal subsidies to the venture capital business - yes, you read that right, government-funded venture capital - to be dispersed through a handful of private equity funds. By this bit of sleight of hand the venture capitalists were persuaded they were still venture capitalists and not wards of the state, while the prime minister was persuaded that this did not involve the government in “picking winners.”
On Jan. 18, Mark Milke’s column entitled, “Stop using our taxes to choose corporate winners” commented: “You might think that the federal Conservatives, who have added $125 billion to the federal debt since 2008, and who will add another $21 billion by the end of March, might be shy about unnecessary expenditures. In just the first two weeks of January, the prime minister announced another $250 million for the Automotive Innovation Fund — a federal subsidy program that provides taxpayer cash for research and development in the auto sector. Then the prime minister announced $400 million for venture capital, mystifying those of us who thought it was fine to let private-sector angel investors risk their own cash, not that of taxpayers, on high-risk startups. The recent taxpayer gifts are but the tip of the corporate welfare iceberg.”
I couldn’t have said it better than these opinion leaders. Back in 1988, Preston Manning and his Policy Director, Stephen Harper, used to recruit us Reformers by railing against Brian Mulroney’s annual deficits by saying, “The best way to get out of a hole is to stop digging!” It was good advice then and it’s good advice now. Pity the prime minister and his MPs don’t follow this sage advice.
DENNIS R. YOUNG,