Saturday, August 27, 2011

Direct Democracy Fails British Columbia

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, direct democracy doesn't work. With apologies to Kent Brockman, the result of the HST referendum demonstrates why direct democracy is a terrible way to determine public policy. The argument here is not necessarily about the HST itself. I happen to like the idea. I think it creates a simpler and less obtuse business environment. That's actually not the point. The point is that governments will have to do unpopular things in the course of doing what is best for the long term success of the country, province or city. The GST is an excellent example. Extremely unpopular when it was introduced and still unpopular today, the GST is a major contributing factor to Canada's relative fiscal strength today and our fiscal strength during the Chretien and Martin governments. In fact, it was Stephen Harper's cuts to the GST which first compromised our surplus position. If the people had been able to vote directly, the GST would never have been introduced, would have been recalled in 1993 and every year subsequent.

We elect governments because a) 34 million people can't come to agreements in any sort of town hall way and b) because we don't have the time to govern. Canadians are too busy working and taking care of their families to consider the long term fiscal and economic implications of doing something like scrapping the HST. We pay our politicians and civil servants to study these things and come to a decision. Yes, periodically we choose which path we want the government to be on, but we can't as a people make the little calls along the way. British Columbians may be celebrating the death of the HST but they should take a long hard look at their cousins in California before they go too far down this path. People, if asked directly will almost always vote for lower taxes and better services. This is a path that leads only to fiscal ruin. We elect governments to make the tough choices necessary to get to a better future. If they fail in that task, vote them out and elect somebody who will undo the damage. There was no reason the NDP couldn't have run on this platform, won and then repealed the HST. However, they would have done that knowing that they would be held responsible for the ensuing budget deficits and fiscal problems that. No one will hold the people of BC responsible for their blunder. Democracy without any responsibility for bad action leads only to chaos.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Death of a Leader

The Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth is dead. Jack Layton's life was cut short far too quickly. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Jack Layton was for better or worse a dominant force in Toronto politics for the last thirty years. Jack Layton served the people of Toronto-Danforth since 1982 as either city councilor or as member of parliament and he died doing so. Any person with that kind of devotion to public service should be applauded. Let us celebrate the life of a man committed to serving the people of Canada.
All views expressed in this blog are those of the author and the author alone. They do not represent the views of any organization, regardless of the author's involvement in any organizations.

All comments are the views of the individual writer. The administrator reserves the right to remove commentary which is offensive.

The author is not responsible for nor does he support any of the advertisements displayed on the page