Friday, December 19, 2008

Harper's Economic Solution - More Politicians

Canadians concerned about the government being out of the office during these troubling economic times needn't have worried. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is hard at work looking for candidates to fill seats in Canada's Senate. There are 18 of these plum jobs available, with pay packages superior to those earned by long serving GM employees with no concern of ever having to go on strike. But if you're interested you better hurry, its being reported that one of those seats is already earmarked for Irving Gerstein, chief fundraiser for the Conservative party.

It seems Stephen Harper, long a champion of a 'Triple E' Senate, (Elected, Equal, and Effective) has given up on efforts to reform our often derided chamber of sober second thought. There's certainly no shortage of interest in these patronage positions which pay over $130,000 per year with no requirement to retire until the age of 75. But for those unable to curry the Prime Minister's favour there may be another option. Harper is also planning on introducing legislation in the spring that will increase the number of MPs on Parliament Hill by more than 30.

If there's anything Canada does not need, it is more politicians.

With just about every sector of the economy suffering, politics may be Canada's only growth industry. If there's anything Canada does not need, it is more politicians. We have to be one of the most governed nations on Earth! Think about all the different levels of government we have in this country. Canadians have to elect representatives for: School Boards, Municipal Councils, Regional Councils, Provincial Legislatures and The House of Commons. Is it any wonder Canadians get confused about who is responsible for what? And if anyone complains about a lack of Canadian productivity, tell them we don't have time to be more productive. We're too busy deciding who to vote for and casting ballots in all these damn elections!

Politicians and their mouthpieces are applauding this move, calling it more democratic. What a load of BULL! In this age of jet travel, cell phones and blackberries, politicians are more connected to their constituents than ever. If anything we need fewer elected officials not more. The United States has roughly ten times our population, and they get by with 435 congressional seats in their House and 100 Senators. Why do our elected bodies need to be of similar size? Do we really need more back bench MPs sitting on their asses and pounding their desks when someone from their party fires a childish zinger across the floor? Maybe if we attached some type of generator to their arms we could close a few coal fired power plants and at least clean up the environment a bit.

And while I'm in full rant, how about a massive tax cut Mr. Harper? I'm not talking about crisscrossing the country throwing nickels and dimes at Canadians with another meaningless 1% cut in the GST. You inherited a nice big surplus from the Liberals a couple years back, totalling something like 15 billion dollars. Now thanks to initiatives like that piddly little 2% reduction in GST the cupboard is totally bare, just when you're being called upon to inject tens of billions of dollars into the economy. Instead of bureaucrats deciding where to invest all that cash, give a good chunk of it back to us in the form of income tax cuts. Keep 10 or 20 billion for needed infrastructure programs and let Canadians spend the rest. If you're worried about lost revenue take the GST back up to 7%, I don't mind paying a couple extra pennies when I buy my Tim Horton's coffee.

At least with consumption taxes like PST and GST governments collect some money from drug dealers and others engaged in illegal activity. I have never heard of a crook who gets taxes deducted at source. We live in a consumer driven economy Mr. Prime Minister, and the more do-re-mi Canadians have in their pockets the more we'll spend.

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