halfacanuck

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect my actual opinions.

May 19, 2004

Fault on McGuilty

So the new Ontario budget is out. Here're some highlights:

  • Dalton McGuinty lied about freezing taxes
  • Dalton McGuinty lied about calling a referendum before raising taxes, or implementing new ones
  • Dalton McGuinty lied about not running a deficit
  • Dalton McGuinty's Taxpayer Protection Pledge was a big fat lie
  • Dalton McGuinty's government is rewriting the Balanced Budget and Taxpayer Protection Act in order to weaken the protection it provides

Here's the text of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which Dalton McGuinty signed Sept 11, 2003:

"I, Dalton McGuinty, leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario, promise, if my party is elected as the next government, that I will not raise taxes or implement new taxes without the explicit consent of Ontario voters, and not run deficits. I promise to abide by the Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act."

In this budget the Liberals will:

  • Raise taxes on cigarettes
  • Raise taxes on alcohol
  • Delay the phase-out of the capital tax
  • Introduce a health premium costing the taxpayer at least $300 per year
  • Remove coverage of eye exams, physiotherapy and chiropractic services
  • Raise the cost of drivers' licences

And as for the Act, and the referendum, compare:

"The Ontario Liberals have a plan to reform government and renew trust in our democratic institutions. We will engage citizens in the political process and represent them fully, fairly and openly at Queen's Park. We will work in the interests of all Ontarians." - Ontario Liberal Party web site

With:

"As a result, the government plans to change the Taxpayer Protection Act - which requires a referendum on any tax increases - to allow the measures in this budget, [Finance Minister Greg Sorbara] said. A referendum would cost $40 million, Sorbara said, and that money would be better spent on health care or education." - National Post

Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

Now I have nothing against Liberals -- if I were allowed to vote it would probably be for them -- but this kind of duplicity makes me seethe. There are two kinds of people who would promise never, ever to raise taxes, and yet to deliver a balanced budget: drooling morons and those who'll happily lie to get elected. Dalton McGuinty clearly isn't a drooling moron, therefore he must be a liar. Anyone who knows anything about economics -- anything at all -- knows that it's sometimes necessary to raise taxes in order to have a balanced budget. If you don't believe that balanced budgets are necessary, and a lot of economists don't, then go ahead, promise not to raise taxes. But if you do believe that running a deficit is a bad thing, an evil thing, a weeping cancerous bubole of a thing, then please don't promise not to raise taxes, because that will make you a liar (or a drooling moron).

Not only did the Liberals, and Dalton McGuinty in particular, lie through their teeth to get elected (what else is new?), but they're now displaying a rampant disregard for the democratic process by dismissing the should-taxes-be-increased referendum guaranteed by law in the Taxpayer Protection and Balanced Budget Act as an expensive inconvenience. Of course it is. Democracy is expensive and inconvenient. It's inconvenient for the public to go vote, it's inconvenient for politicians to have to kiss so many babies and eat so much rubber chicken, but that's kinda the point. It would be a lot more convenient, and a lot less expensive, if a party could simply declare themselves the natural rulers of the universe and do away with all that costly "public consultation" nonsense upon which Western democracies are founded, but that would eventually lead to armed masses storming parliament. Armed masses can cause a great deal of damage, which is expensive and inconvenient to fix.

They wonder and they scratch their heads, these politicians, these doers of great works, and they ask themselves why the voter turnout rate in Canada is in a tumbling freefall. Do Canadians just not care any more, especially young Canadians?

The answer is simple. No, they don't care. They don't care because the two major parties are practically indistinguishable, and they all lie through their teeth, looking right into the camera with their piggy little eyes, so that they'll have their chance to perch their fat asses on the Commons bench. At which point they're safe for another four years and can do whatever they like, regardless of what they said they would do, even rewrite democratic laws supposed to put a check on their behaviour. Four years later we've forgotten about the lies, because we're too busy eating and showering and hating Rush Limbaugh to memorise all the empty promises that spill from our "leaders'" mouths. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We don't want to be fooled any more, and we know you're gonna try. That is why we don't vote. We take Monty Brewster's advice: none of the above.

So what's the point, then, in all these pledges politicians make during the election run-up? What's the point in a pledge if it can be totally discarded in a matter of months? It makes a mockery of the democratic process. We see Dalton McGuinty sitting pen in hand, scribbling his ludicrous moniker on his "Taxpayer Pledge", and we hope hope hope he really means it. He doesn't. It's time for that to change.

I propose that political parties be required by law to set out a formal agenda well prior to the election, detailing precisely what they plan to do when in office. If this plan is not implemented (barring exceptional circumstances such as a terrorist attack or a natural disaster) then the party should be fined and the money transferred to the education budget.

It's a sorry state of affairs, but it appears this is the only way to ensure these two-faced assholes will actually go through with their promises. Until something like this is brought into effect parties will continue to lie to us to secure our votes, and we'll protest by not voting, by losing interest in the political process. They only have themselves to blame.

Me? I'm arming myself.

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