Trimming the federal fat

“Cuts like a knife” — Bryan Adams.

Except for Quebec university students, Canadians are being remarkably quiescent about the recent federal budget. It just may be possible that the PM’s majority government adequately represents the wishes of the electorate. It’s a rare achievement given the usual rough and tumble of parliamentary democracy.

The (supposedly) big news is that the federal government is trying to bring the deficit, and thereby the federal debt, under control. Nothing could be further from the truth. The year to year shortfall is set to decline but the debt is inexorably growing like a malignancy. For a country that’s supposedly one of the world’s best in regard to disciplined spending, this is a disgrace. Successive governments, be they Liberal or Conservative, aren’t going to change. They’ll continue the expensive expanse of intrusive bureaucracy that will continue to be determined to micromanage people’s lives with more and more silly rules.

The four levels of government (federal, territorial, provincial and municipal) are hooked, as is a cancer cell, on growth for growth’s sake. When the mainstream media speaks of “cuts” it’s saying that the rate of expansion may slow, but the government’s take is always increasing. Loan sharks should have it this good.

Sure, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, International Development Agency, Border Services Agency, the Armed Forces and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) are seeing some reductions in their size, but so what? They’re all useless and/or incompetent. My food doesn’t need an inspector. Foreign aid simply takes my hard earned dollars to waste on some ingrates. The military didn’t exactly win the Afghan war—where was the victory parade? Border services leaks like a sieve and the CBC, for all its highbrow programming, depends upon a subsidy instead of listenership.

Provincially, the teachers want more money for their illiterate and innumerate students who, in Grade 12, read, write and figure at a rate common to Grade 6 students of my generation.

Translink bureaucrats feel they deserve a fat bonus for running a bus company; how hard can that be?
In Kamloops, we’re supposed to feel grateful that the taxes are only going up two per cent instead of six per cent. Why are they going up at all? You don’t suppose that it’s for the benefit of the people working there, since $100,000 salaries are becoming the norm rather than the exception.

I have no doubt that civil servants are decent people and all, but one could remove half of the jobs and no one would really notice. Fisheries and Oceans botched both seacoasts; Indian Affairs is a chronic disaster; the Privacy Commissioner’s a waste; the Military doesn’t need F-35’s; the Ministry of the Environment’s a drain on productivity; most universities teach useless non-technical courses; Interior Health’s famous for lousy results; the courts still have only convicted one (count’em) Stanley Cup rioter in a year; etc., etc. ad nauseam.

While lots of morons like to hate capitalism, the inescapable fact remains that if you don’t like your new Walmart toaster, you can return it for a refund. Too bad we can’t ever get the same accountability from our politicians and bureaucrats.