Toronto Star

Neo-liberal approach a dead end


Re Canada’s latest challenges need new thinking, Opinion Dec. 26 Eugene Lang’s call for another major look at the role of government in Canada, similar to the Macdonald Commission’s report of 1985, is a great piece, well argued and bang on.

However, I believe Mr. Lang could have added a fifth policy frontier to his list — infrastruc­ture, both new (transit, transporta­tion, health, Ring of Fire) and the infrastruc­ture deficit in such areas as public housing, education, roads, bridges, water and sewer.

The argument against putting the dollars needed to deal with this issue is that paying for it would either put us deeper in debt or lead to increased taxes or both. Neo-liberalism sees the former as being unfair to future generation­s and the latter as political suicide.

But is not doing anything fair to future generation­s? I think not, because our existing physical infrastruc­ture will continue to crumble and decay and have Band-Aids thrown at it and nothing new will be added to spark increased productivi­ty.

So while the current neo-liberal approach of talking about it and wailing “woe is us, we can’t afford it” (i.e. doing nothing) saves the lives of the politician­s and keeps taxes low, it compromise­s the quality of life of future generation­s.

Is that the legacy we want to leave our children and grandchild­ren? Brian Gordon, Thornhill

Eugene Lang makes no argument against the income redistribu­tion policies of the prosperous 1950s and ’60s except to say that this model had “run its course.”

But isn’t this contradict­ed by his later recognitio­n that inequality is one of the most serious problems facing us now? How else will inequality be reduced except by income redistribu­tion?

Economic policies that increase aggregate wealth without addressing its fair distributi­on will just make the rich richer and the poor relatively poorer. Julie Beddoes, Toronto


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