September 26, 2006


Ottawa's $2-billion hit list: Liberal programs long loathed by Tories get axe despite government's big surplus (STEVEN CHASE, 9/26/06, Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government tightened federal purse strings by $2-billion yesterday -- slashing spending hated by many Conservatives, such as medicinal marijuana research -- even as Ottawa disclosed that its coffers are bulging with another near-record budget surplus.

Last year's surplus was $13.2-billion, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced yesterday -- the third highest in recent years. He said it will all go to reduce the national debt, signing an oversized cheque to that end at a press conference that resembled an election campaign event. [...]

The Tories used yesterday's spending cuts to put their own stamp on the federal government, slashing programs loathed by rock-ribbed Conservatives but cherished by previous Liberal regimes.

It's all fine and dandy when a regime you approve of can't be slowed by the opposition. Our system is wisely designed to provide greater checks and balances, even at the cost of making harder to get good things done sometimes.

How far will this free marketeer go? (KONRAD YAKABUSKI, 9/26/06, Globe and Mail)

Lobbyists from Canada's archrival telephone and cable companies seeking insight into Industry Minister Maxime Bernier's thinking would do well do brush up on the writings of Bernier idol Frédéric Bastiat.

In particular, they should read the 19th-century French economist's tongue-in-cheek Petition from the Candle Makers, a satirical take on interest-group politics in which France's candle industry lobbies the government for protection from “unfair competition” from the sun.

These days, Mr. Bernier is inundated with petitions from all directions seeking to influence the tenor of a major, market-oriented reform of Canada's $33-billion telecommunications sector that the minister intends to unveil this fall.

But despite their pleadings, Mr. Bernier remains focused on Bastiat's cardinal rule: Economic policy should always put the consumer first.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2006 11:17 AM

Does anyone know if any of this surplus will go towards helping out with Canada's thread-bare military? From what I have been reading they really need it from a lack of proper equipment perspective.

Posted by: BJW at September 26, 2006 11:41 AM

Not from a lack of proper butt-kicking perspective, though.

Posted by: Pepys at September 26, 2006 12:43 PM


The military is awash in money. Plenty of new recruits and equipment. Of course, they had quite a ways to go.

Posted by: Peter B at September 26, 2006 1:40 PM

Doesn't the much maligned health care system need an infusion of cash?

Posted by: erp at September 26, 2006 5:04 PM

Not if they keep the economy growing and import enough immigrants.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2006 5:08 PM

Are you referring to fleeing American leftists?

Posted by: ratbert at September 27, 2006 12:09 AM