The Conservative government has shut down hundreds of federal and world renowned research facilities as part of their war on science. The bulk of facilities affected pertained to the climate science that has actively gotten in the way of the government’s coveted pipeline projects. The Conservatives are silencing their critics as they cut scientific funding in the name of ideological gain.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced yesterday the first budget since the Conservatives won their coveted majority. The budget aims to cut $5.2 billion over 3 years by cutting an average of 7% per program and will phase out over 19,000 civil service jobs. It is worth noting that in the first 2 years of their first mandate back in 2006, the Conservatives increased program spending by over 40% and this budget is a far cry from restoring Canada to a prudent economic state.
While skeptics fought a reasoned fight against some of the Liberal Party’s new constitutional amendments, the party voted with sufficient numbers to pass some of former President Alfred App’s controversial departure gifts. In doing so, they also took a stab at new policy conventions and voted for a “Bold New Red.”
In a previous post, I analyzed the main talking points of the Conservatives and found that a basic logic behind their proposed cuts in spending increases for provincial healthcare transfers made sense. However, while the logic behind the plan was sound, the plan itself wasn’t. The lack of leadership and the misguided neglect of the system will lead to bigger problems in the future – at least, this is what the Parliamentary Budget Watchdog says.
When you think of healthcare funding, you will likely think that the money we spend goes directly to healthcare. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Instead, the money goes to hospital administrators and CEOs who have a tendency of treating themselves well and when cuts come along, they are never the first to get the front end. As the NDP scream that healthcare lacks funding, it is becoming more and more evident that healthcare is properly funded, but mismanaged, yet another strike against a political party that is already well known for being unrealistic.
The Conservatives have announced that cuts will be made to healthcare and let’s face it, it had to happen sooner or later. While the Conservative approach may be against that of the Canadian will and may also align with a stern ideological aspect, the economic logic makes sense.
Regular users of the Canadian Healthcare system know that something isn’t right. The system is broken, inefficient and mismanaged. It has become expensive and for the causes that it has received greater funding, it has not improved. Our healthcare system still easily deserves a failing grade for wait times, understaffing and overall performance but while some believe that it is due to a lack of funds, the reality remains that the funds are mismanaged and that regardless how much money you throw in the system, it will be wasted and your healthcare won’t improve.
Canadians pay a lot of money every year. They pay a GST and PST or HST, they pay income taxes, they pay payroll taxes, they pay municipal property taxes and there is a tax for almost everything in Canada. These taxes overlap and soon we all find ourselves struggling to balance our budgets and wondering why money disappears so fast. Meanwhile, government officials tell us that they are doing their best to manage budgets which in most cases are in deep deficits and are leading up to huge debts and budget run offs. The money that we pay is supposed to go toward infrastructure and the services we count on and every time our taxes are raised, there is a promise for better service. Ironically, as taxes increase throughout the country, the quality of our roads and infrastructure, our education and healthcare, and the safety net that we are obliged to fund are all deteriorating. As we speak, public servants with inflated salaries and perks are going on spending sprees and having their unions try to hold taxpayers as hostages. As we speak, government officials are wasting our money and in some cases, even allegedly funding organized crime. Government and bureaucracy in Canada: hand in hand, putting their hands in the public piggy bank, it is time for change.
A lot of speculation has been put into the way that Harper is going to deal with the upcoming healthcare accord. If there is one thing we know, he won’t make a repeat of Paul Martin, he won’t make each province sign a separate deal (which is what most commentators thought he would so) and he won’t make a big summit where everyone must agree to one blueprint (like what Paul Martin did). However, despite, however Harper approaches this, there is one certainty: a new approach to healthcare will be taken – and frankly must be taken.