What’s a Tory? Part 332

I know I have asked this somewhat rhetorical question a few times over the past two years each tim the Tories do a decidedly non conservative thing.

But after crunching those job numbers the other day, I continued to wonder about this issue. Since 1999, here are a few ‘Conservative’ actions:

Increase government spending wildly – in line with other provinces who have been growing their populations (presumably if you have more people you need to spend more on government – not so for the NB Tories – less population means massive new spending) – up over 40% since 1999 – close to $2 billion more.

Government jobs make up the bulk of all net new jobs created since 1999. During the Liberals in the 1994 to 1999 period something like 85% of all net new jobs were private sector and – it’s hard to get a hard # here but my estimate is that almost half of all net new jobs created by the Tories were government employees (the bureaucracy, health care, education).

Increasing dependency on Equalization and other Federal transfers. This one confuses me the most. The Premier has been by far the most vocal about this issue among all his peers – demanding more Equalization – stating our ‘constitutional’ right to more. Why would a Tory Premier want the brand of Welfare Premier? (I note with some glee that he has worked the term ‘self-sufficiency’ into his comments during this election – as someone who has warned for years against over dependence on Equalization and other transfers after witnessing first hand the devastation after Paul Martin’s cuts in the early 1990s – I find this a little ironic)

A colleague of mine that studies the health care sector told me that New Brunswick was one of only two provinces that categorically stated they would not be looking at ways to engage the private sector in health care in the wake of the Chaoulli decision in Quebec. Only Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

Gas price regulation.

So, to sum up.

The Liberals spent the last five years of their government in the 1990s climbing out of a huge post-recession hole – created in large part by decreases in Federal transfers. They created very few government jobs and increased the size of government by a relatively small amount.

The Tories spent the last six years rapidly expanding government spending and employment and demanding more Equalization and transfers to pay for it. In addition, they have made a number of moves that would be to the left of the Liberals such as their position on Chaoulli and gas price regulation.

What’s a Tory?

Maybe the question should be what’s a Liberal? With Bernard Lord firmly planted in the ‘liberal’ camp – big spender and big government – and poking fun that the Liberals for all their ‘cuts’ in the 1990s (the term they use is ‘lack of investment’), what’s a big ‘l’ Liberal to do?

It looks like Shawn’s only choice is to out-spend Lord which will be challenging considering his other promise to become a ‘have province’ which will necessitate big time recalibrating spending with own-source revenues.

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0 Responses to What’s a Tory? Part 332

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is quite amusing to watch the parties as they vie for different ways to appear to have ‘different priorities’. You missed the other main point, in that it hasn’t been just gas regulation, but Lord substancially increased the provincial tax on gas several years ago. Now he’s joining the liberals in talking about reducing it to levels of 2001. So even the liberals aren’t talking about a ‘new policy’ but just undoing a recent conservative policy-much to the happiness of the ‘taxpayers federation’. When THOSE guys praise you then you know you’re doing something wrong.

    So the tories raise taxes, while the liberals promise to lower taxes. Neither one will talk about what happens if/when federal transfers do fall again.

    However, this isn’t surprising as we all know that New Brunswick was the first template blurring the party lines. Hatfield was no tory, and Mckenna was no liberal, so that conversation is meaningless now.

    The health care is a perfect example. The population is aging, especially in NB and mentioning the word ‘privatization’ is a sure way to get booted out of office.

    Keep in mind if you do some research Doctors are already essentially privatized (we just pay their bills collectively which suits them just fine, it saves on administrative costs, they can bill for any stupid little thing, and the population is not wealthy, which means lots of deadbeat bills and people coming in crying poor mouth).

    As you’ve also posted before, New Brunswick covers the least amount of people’s drug prescriptions and has very little regulation in that matter, and there has been a MASSIVE increase in drug use. How much effect that has on patient care is rarely discussed.

    The only place they do play a part is in social control-so they won’t cover seniors drug, won’t talk about medical marijuana, but will completely fund ritalin and other drugs for kids (but won’t fund the amount necessary for adequate testing on whether a child actually has ADD).

    This is corporate rule people, so don’t go looking for consistency along party lines in government because you won’t find it. The only consistency is in what is not talked about, and who benefits the most from policies. And in New Brunswick its pretty clear.

  2. Reg says:

    Tory – (tôr’ē) n. A supporter of traditional political and social institutions. One who believes in a social structure based on strong communities and limited government. Extinct in New Brunswick for the past four decades.

  3. David Campbell says:

    Extinct in New Brunswick for the past four decades.

    You know, I thought I saw a Tory once. I was really excited at this very rare sighting. But when I got up close, it a liberal who had made a small tax cut and looked at a glance just like a Tory. But unfortunately, it wasn’t an actual Tory.