One of my favourite blogs is Inkless Wells by Paul Wells – just the right mix of politics, jazz and general considerations on Canada and the world written in a rather sarcastic way.
But his back page in Macleans last week (I get mine a week late the new one is already on the Web by the time I get the old one) gave me a weird feeling.
You see, I have a fairly traditional view of politics in Canada. The Liberals are for lots of government – governments can solve all or most problems in society and if we can’t we’ll sure throw a lot of money at it. The Conservatives are for smaller government, personal responsibility, self reliance, et. al. Which may explain why the Liberals have been in power for 75% of the time since Confederation.
But I digress.
So here I am in my little bubble and Paul Wells picks a quote from the then Liberal Premier of New Brunswick. Wells says:
In 1997, four days before he retired after a decade as New Brunswick’s premier, McKenna gave a speech full of the sort of stuff everyone knows but nobody votes for. “Dependency — unemployment insurance, welfare cheques, transfer payments — have all become a narcotic to us to which we have become addicted.”
So, a Liberal Premier talking tough about dependency and Equalization – a narcotic, no less.
Now flash forward eight years. We have a Tory Premier (remember the bit about small government and self-reliance) and he is demanding more Equalization from Ottawa. It’s our Constitutional right! He said this exact thing in the paper recently just about as indignant as he could be.
Further, he has increased government spending in five years almost 40% – all the while the population is stangant or declining.
So, to recap. A Liberal Premier demanding we get off Equalization and dependency and a Tory Premier demanding more Equalization as it is our Constitutional right.
Sound a bit like the twilight zone to you?