Thursday, December 13, 2007

Conservative inaction damaging progress of Mississauga, and the abandonment of fiscal conservatism

As I've written many times, Hazel McCallion should be the role model for fiscal responsibility, and her moderate and pragmatic values should serve as inspiration for all those who call themselves fiscal conservatives, as well as municipal governments.

While this incident further shows Conservative hostility towards Ontario's cities, the more interesting matter Hazel's bashing of the Conservatives should serve as a sign that the Conservatives have in fact abandoned fiscal conservatism. Given the huge deficits and gross spending by the Bush administration, and economist baffling decisions such as taxing income trusts and the GST cuts, it can be very fairly postulated that "economic conservatism" as generally understood, is no longer an actual set of policy prescriptions, but is merely a piece of rhetoric.

Replacing "fiscal conservatism" is two contrasting policies. While the Conservatives and Republicans cry they are fiscal conservatives, what they really are is "fiscal populists". The Bush administration, with its costly Iraq war spending, and military Keynesism, has been described by commentators as "Big Government conservatism", a combination of socially conservative domestic policies, expensive foreign policy, pork barrel spending, and corporate subsidies. In Canada, the Conservatives have seemingly showed disdain for basic rules of economics, and the advice of economists, in favour of implementing flimsy policies more concerned with bumping up Conservative support 1-2 points than with moving Canada's economy forward and helping individual Canadians achieve financial security.

Back to Mississauga, good to see the "small man of Confederation" has delivered the goods while Lawrence Cannon dithers.

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