Conservatives: No one is supposed to know how much we actually spend

Julian Wolfe
October 24th, 2012

The Conservatives may have enacted austerity and they may be calling themselves good economic managers, but as we speak, they are not only spending recklessly, they are trying to hide their spending from the public and from elected MPs in the House of Commons.

The Auditor General released a report Tuesday which concluded that the Department of Finance Canada often neglects the impact of tens of billions of dollars of spending and tax measures on the government’s long-term fiscal sustainability. In short, the Conservatives are spending merrily and their party is blind, along with the rest of Canadians. In other words, the deficit is larger than the media will tell us. In other words, this country is in deeper financial trouble than many can even imagine. In other words, the next government will face the same surprise the Chretien government did in 1993.

Without surprise, the report found that MPs of all parties are voting blindly on financial manners that will impact Canadians down the road.

“This lack of reporting means that parliamentarians and Canadians do not have all the relevant information to understand the long-term impacts of budgets on the federal, provincial and territorial governments in order to support public debate and to hold the government to account,” the audit says.

This isn’t a surprise as the Parliamentary Budget Officer will be considering legal action on over 60 federal departments that refuse to disclose the way cuts will be administered and what programs and services they will effect.

“This means that senior management and the Minister of Finance were not informed of the overall impact on the government’s long-term fiscal position until well after they had approved the budget measures,” the report says.

The report also concluded that if public debt grows faster than the economy, our fiscal outlook will be unsustainable and the living standards for future generations will be compromised. In other words, Canada’s financial outlook is in such bad shape that a debt crisis is being considered a possibility. We all saw how that turned out in Greece and much of Europe.

So the Conservatives claim to be good economic managers, and in 2006 they ran on a campaign of accountability. Lying in both domains, the Conservatives have held power for 6 years and have left a dent in Canadian fiscal policy and have ranked Canada as the worst of the G7 in fighting corruption and bribery.

“Unless there is strong political will to take this on as an important issue, Canada and other countries that are laggards will remain behind.”

Huguette Labelle, the chair of Transparency International

With a budget of austerity and unnecessarily painful measures to Canadians – like raising the age of retirement to 67 – the Conservatives have hid the fact that in their first 2 years of power they spent Canada into deficit (half a year before the global recession happened), doubled the Prime Minister’s Office and inflated the size of Canadian bureaucracy (Don’t forget the new senators and their perks). On top of that, they are spending over $60 million this year alone on government ads that act to showcase a government that has a record of job growth and economic stewardship. As we speak, the Canadian economy paints a different story. Prices at the stores are rising, the cost of living is becoming an issue, and job growth is stagnant at best.

So one must ask where the billions in stimulus went and where the Conservatives are spending the billions of dollars that they refuse to take account for and refuse to announce to Canadians and the House of Commons. One must wonder what the actual state of Canadian finances really are and how large of a mess there will be to clean up.

Do you believe in the numbers the government claims are the actual figures for Canada’s fiscal state? Do you think the Conservatives are about to repeat the history of Mulroney’s Progressive Conservatives in leaving behind an economy that is on the brink of collapse? How big of a clean up will the next government have to make before it can restore Canada to a good economic footing?

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   Categories: Accountability, Bureaucracy, Economy, Featured, Government Mismanagement, Retirement, Spending, Taxes

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On Monday, the longest campaign in modern history will come to a close and if current polls are any indication, Canada may be seeing a change in government after 9 years of Conservative rule under the leadership of Stephen Harper. Accountability was his calling card in 2006 and today, accountability may very well be one of the defining reasons for his departure.

In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper left Rideau Hall this morning with Governor General David Johnston’s approval to drop the writ and Canadians are now officially headed to the polls on October 19. For the first time since fixed election date legislation was brought in by the Conservative government, a fixed election date has been followed.

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