Politicians pretend to care about our kids’ future
Governments say one thing but their reckless spending tells another tale
Whenever politicians talk about our kids’ future, immediately place your hand firmly over your wallet.
Now I’m sure they care about their own kids well enough and likely a few nephews and nieces along the way. And no doubt the older ones probably dote on some favoured grandchild.
But it’s this sacred invocation of that collective noun, referring to those young and yet-to-be-born Canadians, that should set off alarm bells in our noggins and result in an immediate reflexive movement of a hand to that exposed back pocket.
OK, this might seem a tad obscure, so let’s serve up a timely example. Please, let’s hear it from the lips of federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.
She was being interviewed on CBC and therefore was suitably served up a nice, juicy softball question about the possibility of maintaining jobs yet protecting the environment.
McKenna couldn’t wait to wade in. Yes, of course, Canadians can have both — thereby eating our cake and yet still having it.
McKenna went on to say we need to get our resources to market (stop laughing — maybe we can revert to wheelbarrows) but climate change is having its own impact on Canada’s economy. OK, so here it comes.
“We can’t just pass on the costs of climate change to our kids,” she said.
Well, why not?
If the government was that bothered about our kids’ collective futures, then why in heaven’s name do they continue spending billions upon billions more each year than they take in?
Surely layering on more and more debt even when the national economy is supposedly humming —unemployment is at a 40-year low, though it’s hard to remember that living in Calgary — is not exactly the way to solidify the economic future of these much adored young ’uns.
When the Grits took power, they pledged to balance the budget by 2019. Well, that’s out the window. We are spending like a record-breaking lottery winner with three months to live. This year’s national deficit will be about $18 billion and we’ll still be in the hole by 2023 to the tune of $12 billion a year. If we fall into recession, those numbers will probably double.
And the feds are hardly alone. The amount of debt our provincial government’s merrily racking up is eyewatering. In four years they have overspent by about $40 billion. Don’t forget, this is a province of barely more than four million souls.
The City of Calgary, thankfully, has limits imposed upon its borrowing, but here too we have grand projects and plans a-plenty that, despite an economy stuck in the mud, still suck up dough faster than the speed of any prudent thought.
But ask them all why they do this and invariably those children will be trotted out as some wonderful excuse. All we need is Beethoven’s Ode To Joy playing somewhere softly in the background and we’d be focusing through tears while writing another cheque.
It is utter garbage. This endless and reckless spending has nothing to do with future generations but everything to do with us.
Our parents and grandparents could say those words and mean them. Many had emigrated and then broken raw land on the cold prairie; they lived through depressions and fought for their new country through two world wars. They relied on themselves and their community of neighbours and didn’t run bleating for the government to fix any minor inconvenience.
We are still living high on the hog off their sacrifice and hard work. Of course, we care about our own kids, but building a nation for a future generation through our own sacrifice? Come on: what a laugh. The truth is we’ve used up our forebears’ sacrifice and their banked credit.
But not content with that, we are now drawing down on the future account of those yet to come.
Worse yet, we use them as both excuse and reason for our own selfishness.