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A misperception on the Conservative government that needs to be exposed.

Don’t believe the myth Conservatives are prudent fiscal managers of your taxpayers money, because current data and statistics show it’s quite the opposite. In fact, current stats show they’re quite willing to spend your money wastefully on political propaganda to meet their political goals:

Ottawa’s advertising budget ballooned to a record $130-million last year, according to previously unreleased figures that show a 64-per-cent increase in the government’s marketing bill in a time of unprecedented deficits….the latest tally is more than three times higher than the advertising budget of $41.3-million in 2005-2006, when the Harper government took office.

The one thing that bugs me more then anything about current polling is the percentage of people out there that have gotten it into their heads that the Conservatives are and would be better with taxpayers money and better fiscal managers then the Liberals or the other parties. The laughable cost of the G8/G20 Summit – which included all the well-publicized extra expenditures such as the “fake lake” and the gazebos in Tony Clement’s riding that were miles from the Summit – plus the developing controversy over the sole-source contract on the F35 Stealth jets may have started to help erode that view.

However, the opposition parties are going to have to continue to be proactive on exposing that perception of them as a myth, and I dont think they need or should wait until an election campaign to do it.


15 comments to A misperception on the Conservative government that needs to be exposed.

  • AlisonS

    Part of the problem is the media which keeps repeating that Harpie’s strength is the economy. Every time I hear or read that, my blood boils. What a pile of crap, but I don’t know how we, the public, can counter that argument.

    • Redrum

      @AlisonS, we need to find the authoritative citations — like Coyne — showing the deficit was already ballooning by billions well before the recesssion & stimulus spending began, and _cite_ them far & wide on various media sites, a la the Con-Bots. Fight fire with facts, as it were.

  • Ted

    Calling the Conservatives fiscally irresponsible and big spenders is not to say that the Liberals have always been great fiscal managers, but have you known a single conservative/Conservative/Progressive Conservative government that has not left office with finances in worse shape than when they came to power?

    Harper, Mulroney, Klein, Harris-Eves in Canada. Reagan, Bush I, Bush II in the US.

    The liberals/Liberals at least can claim some real, not fabricated history of leaving finances in better shape when they were done: Chretien-Martin, Clinton, Doer, Romanow to name a few.

    I would love to see the phrase “tax and borrow and spend Conservative” enter the political lexicon.

    • TofKW

      @Ted, not many, but there are a few Tory governments that were sound economic managers.

      You have to go back a long way to Diefenbaker in federal politics. He lost the 1963 election thanks to misreading Quebec (and openly fighting with the Bank of Canada governor to loosen up his tight-fiscal policy didn’t help either) but Canada’s fiscal position was better off after leaving office than in 1958 when he became PM. Admittedly that was thanks to the beginning of a recession that caused the country to go into deficit for the first years of his government.

      After that the story isn’t so good; Clark wasn’t around long enough to judge, and Mulroney was given a really bad hand in 1984 but after 9 years more should have been done than introduce the GST & a free trade agreement with the US. But compared to Harper, Mulroney is a pillar of fiscal conservatism. Harper is the biggest spending PM in history and I can’t believe more people don’t call him out on this. Sweaterboy is a firebrand western populist, not a fiscal conservative.

      In terms of provincial politics, the PC’s have a better record in the Atlantic provinces. But these are Red Tories unlike the Reformatory yahoos we’re stuck with federally. Successful economic premiers include Bernard Lord (who lost re-election on a fluke, and regardless of winning the popular vote), Pat Binns (really a 4th mandate is asking too much), and I’ll say Danny Williams is doing a pretty good job on the Rock right now.

      Out west you can claim Alberta …though it’s hard for anyone to screw up in wild rose country so long as the oil keeps flowing.

    • kwittet

      @Ted, Ted

      Of course Chretien-Martin left office with surpluses. After downloading all the services onto the provinces who then downloaded to county and municipal levels and yet kept the same levels of taxation they dam well should have ran huge surpluses. So here we sit in 2010 with the huge spender Harper whose original budget was rejected and he had to introduce a stimulus spending plan budget to keep in power and now you slam him for it? So he spends like a drunken sailor to rebuild infrastructure that has crumbled over the last 15 years under Chretien-Martin.

      Is he a good fiscal economic manager? Not really but you all seem to forget that there is always a mess big or small left behind for every new government whether it is Liberal or Conservative. I am not sticking up for him because he could be doing a better job.

      • Redrum

        @kwittet, you mean downloading things like Health (a provincial responsibility); Education (ditto); and Welfare (ditto, for the social assistance portion)?

        • kwittet

          @Redrum, My point was until the Chretien years all of those things were at least subsidized by the feds. As soon as Chretien Martin took over they downloaded so they could get the surpluses. I never said it was right or wrong , I just said that is how they partially achieved their numbers.

        • Redrum

          @Redrum, I’m just saying, either provide the specific, correct examples of what they actually downloaded (hint: housing, & HRDC’s employment counselling & training fxns were devolved), or use the more accurate terminology, of “cut the transfer payments,” if you want to make the point more defensibly.

          That said, of course the Libs made massive cuts which hurt the province. But don’t forget their backs were against the wall and they had to, for the good of the country: the Bond Market was downgrading our credit rating such that we’d _never_ get out of debt; the Economist etc was saying we were on the verge of bankruptcy, as with Greece now.

          And the point is, the Cons are pretending the Libs are like the stereotype of the NDP: just spend, spend, don’t worry about debts & deficits, foist it all on future generations. But that’s manifestly untrue: the Libs proved they can and do make the tough economic choices when they have to. Whereas this gov’t just makes those choices on a boutique basis on items they don’t have to and shouldn’t (like on “interest groups” and their own areas of responsibility like enevironmental monitoring), and didn’t make responsible choices when they spent like drunken sailors well _before_ the recession (which they denied was coming) ever happened.

  • Redrum

    So, these Harpercrites have been wasting between 10 to 20 times more on advertising and self-promotion ech year than is spent on the long gun registry:

    which is not only a horrible display of priorities (and particularly hypocritical, given the role that, ahem, _Ad_scam had in getting them to where they are), but which also:

    is clearly “wasteful and ineffective,” judging by the polls (it hasn’t “worked” in making them any more popular, or “keeping the cities safe from the coalition,” now, has it?).

  • Aren’t myths enduring?

  • You can’t run a government without a bureaucracy… That’s like saying 25-30% of my Big Mac is a wasted dollar (employee costs of most fast food joints run 25-30%)… I’m sure more fast food owners would love to “trim” their burger-flipping “bureaucracy” a little… Would that result in a better burger? I doubt it.

    This is the same argument as the “axe-the-tax-any-tax-please” bs. Sorry, but I like my roads paved, my water safe, my streets defended, and schools to have books… Taxes pay for all those things that we bitch about when we sit around with a cup of Tim’s feeling we were waiting slightly too long at the public library, in line for the bus, or through a construction zone that should have been completed 6 months ago – except morons like us were crying about the costs and/or our taxes, so the municipality decided to “trim” the maintenance budget… just a little.

  • Robbie Burns

    It is estimated that 25-33% of every dollar spent by any federal government is a wasted dollar. How do we root out the inefficiencies in the bureaucracy and the pet projects of various MPs?

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