Oct. 19, 2019

The worst of all worlds – is this Canada's destiny?

If the polls are correct, Canada will face perhaps the worst political nightmare that can be imagined in Monday's federal election: a minority Liberal Government. Some might think this is an extreme characterization of the likely outcome but the evidence is pretty overwhelming. Look what a Liberal majority government has done! Just think what a minority Liberal government will do when it has to bend to parties that are even greater tax and spend parties than they are?

 Most Canadians are aware of the Liberal record of the last four years

A. Annual multi-billion-dollar deficits with the independent Parliamentary Budget Office saying there is no certain date when deficits will be no more under the Liberal plans

B. The cancellation of two major pipelines to unlock Alberta oil resources which would have seen Eastern Canadians get cleaner Canadian oil instead of dirtier foreign oil and Canada being able to sell at higher prices on the world market. 

C. The purchasing of a third pipeline project for $4.5 billion that is still struggling with delays. 

D. The law breaking of the Liberal Prime Minister determined by an independent officer of the Parliament.

E. An almost stagnant economy with ten of billions of resource investment going elsewhere. Latest figures have an economy growing at less than one per cent, in contrast to our major trading partner and neighbour, the U.S., growing at over two per cent. 

The likely partners in a Liberal minority government are the NDP and/or The Green Party.

Well, the NDP has stated in writing it intends to increase taxes. In its written platform online it says:

A. Increase corporate income taxes
B. Increase marginal tax rate
C. Increase capital gain taxes
D. A special tax on the wealthy
E. Re-introduce a federal minimum wage

It believes that Canada is in a climate emergency. You know what that will mean for spending, now don’t we? All kinds of fanciful ideas to spend more and more of our money whose results have never been proven. Add to that a national pharmacare program and the deficits will only get larger until the IMF steps in and warns of our dire situation. 

The Green Party for its part has a really extreme position on energy, for example. It wants to ban all new energy and mining operations. Yes, you heard that right. I quote from their platform 

• No new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved. Existing oil and gas operations will continue on a declining basis, with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will be banned outright due to impacts on groundwater quality, methane release and seismic activity.

• Cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline (and its $10-13 billion cost) as well as other subsidies to fossil fuel industries, totaling an additional several billion dollars a year. This money will be redirected to the Canadian Grid Strategy and renewable energy transition.

Need we say more about the Greens’ position? This will essentially close down the energy industry of Canada and an ongoing mining industry. For example, what will replace the billions of dollars of royalties now being received by B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador? These have been the only have Provinces over the last several years. I am not sure most Canadians really understand what the Greens are advocating.

Canada has just dropped two places in world competitive rankings down to 14th from 12th according to the World Economic Forum. The World Bank says we are 22nd in the world in ease of doing business. Imagine where the country will be if policies like the NDP and Greens are adopted? More bureaucracy, more regulations, more taxes, more spending, larger deficits. 

 Is this Canada’s destiny? 

Brain Peckford is a former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in retirement in Parksville, B.C.