Conservative Dilema

There was an article today in the Globe&Mail about the soaring cost of ‘communications’ in the PMO — up 21% from last year. My initial reaction was that running the ‘Ministry of Truth’ (read 1984) is expensive — micro-management of the media so everyone stays ‘on message’ and ignores everything else. This troubles me. But my concern runs deeper — as a retired person and former small business owner my views should be conservative. But I have a great difficulty identifying with the current regime. There is a running disconnect between what they say and what they do.

One of the elements of the campaign was to implement fixed elections — instead of whenever they get tired of power. But as soon as they got in this was forgotten. And usually, conservatives seek to reign in spending — but everything that catches my eye seems to do the reverse, and the arguments put forward appear lame and unconvincing. A few recent examples — in Canada there has been a prison farm system that provides food for the inmate population. This is being closed down as ‘agriculture is no longer relevant’ (funny, I think we still eat to stay alive) and being replaced with food purchased out of country for double the cost. Gee, bet some of the PMs friends are in real estate development and want to get their hands on all that land…

Then there is this census thingy… for some reason they want to abolish the selective mandatory long form and replace it with a larger ‘voluntary’ form to more people — general view is (yep) the costs will be higher and the data accuracy diminished.

Then there was the ‘get tough on crime’ bit that is making changes to increase the cost of incarceration — but this is ‘revenue neutral’ because the real cost is pushed back on the provinces. The interesting thing is that crime rates have been declining here so the real reason for this push is unclear.

And let us not overlook the vast, expensive and contentious boondoggle of the G8/G20 conference. No one seems to be talking of the total cost of that event — factoring the economic impact short and long term to Toronto and Canada on top of the almost incomprehensible cost of ‘security’. Where did the money really go? And how security was handled… to my eyes this was more Chicago 1968 Democratic Convention with a sprinkling of Kent State and Selma. The message seemed clear — the rule of law can be shut off when it is not convenient. An interesting message for both citizens and prospective business investors.

It certainly seems that Canada is changing, but into what I am not sure. Clearly this is not one of the messages that the Ministry of Truth wants to let out. A pity…


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