Letters: What the numbers really tell us

When I look at Tuesday’s balanced federal budget, I couldn’t help but be a little cynical

Dear Editor:

 

When I went to university, I majored in science and minored in economics for my first degree.

Facts and numbers are important to me — you will often hear me responding to information with: “Show me the science behind that statement.” I also have a real respect for history and believe it should help to inform the present. It is from that perspective that I was musing on yesterday’s federal budget.

There is much to be said for balancing budgets. When I was mayor of Cranbrook, we always balanced our budget — municipalities are bound by law to do so, which is why local government is often called the most fiscally responsible level of government.

When I look at Tuesday’s balanced federal budget, I couldn’t help but be a little cynical, which is not how I approach life in general. That cynicism is based on a couple of things.

How was the budget balanced? $2 billion comes from reducing the government’s contingency fund down to $1 billion. This is the money that governments put aside to cover the costs of natural disasters, or national crises. Another $3.3 billion comes from selling off shares in General Motors.

Let’s put these choices into a context we can all understand. This method of balancing the budget would be the same as you paying your bills using money you received by selling your car at a fire sale price and cashing in your RRSPs. Your bills might be paid, but there is little reason to celebrate!

My second concern with this budget comes from reviewing recent history.  The Harper Conservatives ran deficit budgets every year from 2008 to 2014 ranging from a low of $6.1 billion dollars to a record high of $58.2 billion.

In the last nine years, Stephen Harper has added $4,400 in new debt for every man, woman and child in Canada.

With this record, it is remarkable that anyone in Canada still believes the spin that the Harper Conservatives are good fiscal managers.

 

Wayne Stetski

NDP Candidate for Kootenay Columbia

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