This year I’d really like it if the progressive or liberal leaning citizens of Canada stopped arguing cost with the conservatives and instead tok the debate where I think it ought to go. We are not a poor nation by any stretch of the imagination. We are not poor because in the past we used the powers of government to provide the necessities of an affluent relatively free society.
Government built schools, elementary, secondary and post secondary. This wasn’t done because we all like paying taxes it was done because educating the society is the surest, simplest and cheapest way to ensure that we can have economic independence for the bulk of our citizens. The ability to earn a living is paramount in producing a civilized way to forge a national identity. Cheaping out on our schools, as has been shown anywhere in the world is a false economy which leads to a generation left with no way to satisfy their desires for goods but crime.
What we generally think of as poor in Canada is laughable when compared to many places in the world but the standard of living we enjoy was not created by narrow minded, short sighted people constantly crying about the cost of our infrastructure.
Our society enjoys a standard of living the envy of most of the world because we ensured we could be educated and able to find ways to work for a living. We ensured that children from any and all cultural backgrounds were shown what was expected of them as good citizens and taught the basics required to allow them to fit into an economy and gain what they needed through labour and effort.
To continually cut back on the education system merely leaves us with a generation unable to move forward in this manner and ensures that crime, whether white collar, blue collar or violent will grow as a percentage of the population finds no other way to earn a living.
Conservatives thump the drum continually about the cost of all our government spending but never think of the cost of not spending. Clowns like Mike Harris liked to brag about being a self made man, ignoring the fact that it was the generation before him that provided a decent education system that allowed him the options of finding gainful employment. Having risen to power he then prefers to say it all costs too much and we should cut, cut , cut to ensure our wealth. All that will do is ensure that a new generation lacks the ability to find their own legal way forward.
The conservatives have for too long controlled the debate over government spending as purely one about the cost of one thing or another. We are constantly told that as society we cannot afford the things that made our society wealthy in the first place. Liberals have largely fallen into the trap of trying to argue not about the value of what we get for our tax dollars but about the cost with no reference to that value.
The world over and for all of recorded history it has been shown that societies that spend on creating their the infrastructure needed are the ones that generate wealth for all their citizens. Whether it is schools ir good roads,hospitals or good civil forces, parks, swimming pools, rinks, art centres, libraries, whatever, societies that use their collective wealth to provide amenities for the citizens are the ones that prosper.
When societies start looking backwards and deciding that they cannot afford these things for the next generation they inevitably start to crumble and falter.
In 2012 lets start taking the political debate where it should be. It is not about how much we spend, it is about what we spend on. Spending on the things that ensure and educated, healthy, mobile, safe society will lead to greater wealth and greater enjoyment for all Canadians. Short sighted cost cutting will do nothing but ensure the elite remain the elite while the rest of society struggles for the necessities and fractures more and more.
It is time we admit we are not a poor nation and we can indeed afford those projects that have been proven over and over to create wealth and good citizenship. To do otherwise is to lead towards the destruction of what we have created here rather than expanding and strengthening it