Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Conservative Government's Priorities

Of all the Liberal leadership delegates, I am probably most opposed to Gerard Kennedy. While there are numerous reasons for this--largely having to do with my own political views vs. Kennedy's and not Kennedy's record or character--I applaud Kennedy for being one of the first candidates to publish a statement about how Stephen Harper will not be attending a major AIDS conference being held in Toronto.

I find it quite amazing that, given the list of other prominent individuals attending the conference, Mr. Harper has declined to attend, citing a scheduling conflict.

This is another example of the short-sightedness of Conservative priorities. An analysis of these priorities shows that unlike the Liberals, Conservatives are amazingly short-sighted. The environment and climate change are low on Conservative priorities. As is AIDS, which is perhaps the single largest impediment to the development of Sub-Saharan Africa. Paying off the national debt, an increasingly good idea as interest rates rise, is largely being ignored in favour of current consumption (i.e. in the form of both tax breaks and higher spending).

Admittedly, increased current spending can be good provided the rate of return on that spending exceeds the cost of capital. In this case, however, interest rates are rising, and the fiscal stimulus is largely coming in the form of tax cuts instead of spending on infrastructure and other public goods which yield long-term benefits.

Harper's Conservatives need a longer term vision. Their policies may have been popular enough among some quarters in the short term, but they further exacerbate the short-sightedness which has been increasingly permeating most Western societies in recent decades.

Personal savings have fallen lower and lower over the past several decades, even to the extent that net savings in the United States recently hit 0%. Part of this, at least in Canada, has been mitigated by the Liberal government's policy of paying back the debt. That is now occuring less and less, to the detriment of the Canadian public in the long-term.

If the Conservatives are to pave the way for a prosperous Canada in the long-term, they must increasingly focus on these long-term issues which do not provide them with immediate political capital. So far, it seems quite unlikely that that will be happening, and I for one am pinning my hopes on the Liberals to ultimately fill this void.


Blogger YoungLib said...

I must say that I too am opposed to Gerard Kennnedy's campaign. The fact that he called to cancel 3 hours before the last debate began speaks to how little he cares about substantive policy, and the french language.

11:33 AM  

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