Conservative futures

Leftist policies are ruining Canada

If the Trudeau government is re-elected, many predict that Canadians will pay more taxes because of a budgetary deficit of about $20 billion.

Infrastructural Projects and Budgetary Deficit

Trudeau promised to balance the budget and erase the deficit by 2019 but the government recently announced plans to increase spending by $22.8 billion. In 2015, Trudeau promised to invest in infrastructure and build metro lines, bridges, and roads in order to stimulate the economy and make it more competitive. Out of $188 billion budgeted for infrastructural improvements, the government spent only $19 billion and approved some 4,700 projects. A report by the Parliamentary Budget Officer reveals that little progress has been achieved because of reporting gaps, delays, and other problems. Moreover, provincial spending on infrastructural projects increased but not as planned before the introduction of the program. The Parliament Budget Officer also noted that GDP increased between 0.13 and 0.16 percent as a result of the government’s infrastructure plan. These figures are significantly lower than the 0.4 percent that Ottawa projected. Conservative politician and critic Matt Jeneroux points to the fact that the infrastructure project brought no real economic benefits, one of the main reasons being that the provinces are not actively engaged in investing in infrastructural improvements. The government owns just 2.1 percent of infrastructure compared to 59.8 percent of infrastructure owned by the municipalities and 38.1 percent by the provinces. The division of responsibilities among the municipalities and provincial and territorial governments is a source of concern. Provincial/ federal funding for infrastructural projects is more readily available because of their diverse income streams. At the same time, close to 60 percent of infrastructure is owned and managed by the local municipalities. They collect a small percentage of tax dollars to build new or maintain existing infrastructure, be it youth centres, senior centres, or sports fields.

What is more, according to a report by Michael Fenn et al., investing in new infrastructure does not necessarily bring positive results if sufficient funds are not available to maintain existing infrastructure. Decisions on infrastructural improvements should be made in view of their strategic value, return on investment, and demand. To this end, data on the current condition of assets can help assess whether an asset should be sustained, replaced, or repaired. Limited data is currently available when it comes to the condition of different asset types, including pumping stations, treatment plants and pipes, community centres, administrative buildings, etc. Statistics Canada collects some investment data but the details necessary for comprehensive and prudent infrastructural planning are lacking. Data should not only be collected for big infrastructural assets but for assets such as shelters, police stations, paramedic stations, health care facilities, fire stations, and cultural facilities. Data must also be collected on the types of facilities and assets and the asset management strategies implemented at all levels of government. Factors that have an impact on decision making include age, performance indicators and physical condition, replacement value, use and demand, and others. All these were not taken into account to the extent required when the infrastructure program was developed.

Government’s Fourth Budget and Increased Spending

The government’s fourth budget targets key electrical groups that voted for the Liberal Party, including workers, indigenous people, and postsecondary students. The budget includes additional $586.5 million for training under the Employment Insurance system and to compensate for lost income when a person enrolls in a training program. The government also increased spending by $4.7 billion to improve social and healthcare services in indigenous communities and to settle land claims during the next 6 years. Plans have also been announced to lower interest rates on government student loans and to eliminate interest payments during the 6-month period after graduation.

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Experts suggest that the federal government must assess spending priorities so that the budget deficit becomes more manageable. Whether it is infrastructural projects to attract foreign investment or measures to improve literacy or healthcare services, the federal and provincial levels of government must agree on priorities and how money should be spent as to have a positive effect on the broader economy.

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Political Correctness Gone Amok

Gender equality, environmental protection, climate change, and renewing the relationship between non-indigenous and indigenous people in Canada are all important issues today. Political correctness refers to measures and language that aim to avoid placing groups of people at disadvantage. It also refers to using language that is not offensive. And while the main idea is inclusion and respect for diversity, many believe that sensitivity and political correctness have gone amok in Canada.

Aboriginal Reconciliation

Aboriginal reconciliation refers to building a healthy relationship between aboriginal people and the rest of Canada. And while reconciliation is a key issue today, political correctness won’t do any good when it comes to correcting racism and discrimination. One example is the naming of an extension of 23rd Avenue in Edmonton. The segment has been named Maskekosihk Trail as an act of reconciliation and repairing relations with the Cree people. Maskekosihk means people of the land of medicine in the Cree language, and the name of the street is displayed in Cree syllabics and Roman letters. City councilor Bryan Anderson’s stance on this ignited controversy. He was widely criticized for pointing out that the word is hard to pronounce and memorize. He was also criticized for disrespecting indigenous languages and names and later apologized.

Gender Identity

Gender equality means equal access to opportunities and resources for all people, regardless of their gender. Most people agree that gender equality makes societies safer by preventing discrimination and violence. Many would also agree that gender inequality prevents women from realizing their potential and thus affects self-perceptions and lived experiences. However, some people have taken the notion of gender identity (and gender-neutral language) to an extreme, arguing that neutral pronouns such as zer, zim, and ze must be used in place of she and he. University of Toronto’s Professor Jordon Peterson sparked controversy and was bashed for refusing to use alternative pronouns that are gender neutral. Critics say that Professor Peterson is trans-phobic and denies the existence of transgender people. Proponents, on the other hand, ask whether people should be allowed to call themselves as they wish.

What Canadians Think

Opponents argue that political correctness has gone too far and is ruining Canada. In fact, a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute reveals that many Canadians agree on this. The researchers conducted a poll among 1,510 Canadians in different age groups. The survey shows that for some 76 percent of Canadians, political correctness has gone amok. Among people over the age of 55, 82 percent believe that political correctness has gone mad. The percentages for people aged 18 – 34 and 35 – 54 are 67 and 78, respectively. When asked about language, 67 percent of Canadians state that in their view, many people take offence over other people’s language use. The majority of people or 87 percent admit that they are careful about what they say because they want to be polite. The rest or 13 percent admit that criticism over the language they use is the main reason. The percentage of people who want to be polite is the highest in Manitoba (92 percent) and the lowest in Saskatchewan (76 percent). When it comes to gender, 88 percent of women admit to wanting to be polite compared to 86 percent of men. The researchers conducting the poll admit that they were surprised by the findings – the majority of Canadians believe that politically correct culture has gone amok. In the view of many, language policing is taken to the extreme.

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