It seems to have gone largely unnoticed in today's Globe that the Liberal Party has done something significant in the debate about the best direction for the economy. Gerard Kennedy, the Liberal infrastructure critic, said one of the things his party should look at it is potentially raising taxes as a remedy for the recession.
Mr. Kennedy's pronouncement follows Liberal finance critic John McCallum's comments to Bloomberg on Monday where he confirmed he was not opposed to higher deficits as a further government measures to fuel recovery. On potential Liberal plans he said they, "could conceivably lead to a higher deficit because we say for all the reasons I've given that jobs are priority number one."
While McCallum is right to say, as the Prime Minister's has long noted before him, job creation is vital as we creep out of recession it is hard to conceive how a 1970s tax-and-spend approach, which now appears to be advocated by the Liberal Party, is going to create real growth. Michael Ignatieff may have nostalgic memories of Trudeau-era economics, but a return to the 1970s is not what Canada needs.
Yes, the current government has engaged in deficit spending. Unfortunately it has been required as an extraordinary measure to battle a crippling global recession. But at the right time, and likely sooner rather than later, it needs to end as the country gets its footing.
Neither employers nor employees need a federal government that is going to increase their tax burden and cripple them with debt. The problem is when you start taxing and spending it is damn heard to turn the tap off. The Liberals should not be encouraged to go down this path.
Without a doubt, the government must come forward with a budget in March that has a serious road-map forward, that is achievable and that is credible. The scrutiny of that balance sheet will and must come. But if what Gerard Kennedy said is in fact Liberal Party policy, let the debate begin because what he suggested could have serious ramifications on the economic growth of this country.
(Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail)