Ralph Goodale has a good write-up and some startling facts about the Harper government's spending priorities:
MR. HARPER PUTS JAILS AHEAD OF HEALTHCARE
This year is ending with some odd contradictions.
The Harper government says it doesn’t want to risk European-like debt problems, so it will curtail future federal funding for healthcare, and Canadians will just have to settle for a patchwork of provincial differences and deficiencies across the country.
But strangely, Mr. Harper has more than enough money to spend billions on bigger jails. He has more than enough money to spend additional billions on over-priced, uncompetitive fighter-jets.
He has more than enough money for expensive government advertising, unlimited political consultants, the most costly Cabinet in history (including his high-flying, high-living Defense Minister), and 30 more MPs to be added to the House of Commons (costing $100 million more per Parliament).
But healthcare is less important and must be cut back? Really?
The Harper government is also contradictory on job creation. They claim jobs are their Number One priority. Yet, this coming Sunday, the Conservatives will increase job-killing EI payroll taxes by $600 million, hitting every employee and employer in the country – small businesses especially.
Now is the wrong time to hike payroll taxes. Canada’s unemployment rate is rising. The quality of available jobs is falling. Even here in buoyant Saskatchewan, we lost 4,200 jobs last month and the unemployment rate jumped by a full percentage point.
A third contradiction – a truly mean-spirited one – is the way the Harper government designs its “tax credits”.
In this year’s budget, the Conservatives boasted about “tax credits” for volunteer fire-fighters, homecare givers and families enrolling their children in arts programs. But there’s a catch. You have to earn a minimum level of income before you qualify. Below that level, you get nothing.
So why does this government deliberately discriminate against lower-income fire-fighters, homecare givers and families?
In the eyes of Conservatives, why are less wealthy Canadians less worthy of help?