Straight Talk
EDITORIAL - Balanced budget must be Feds' #1 priority

Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty

Credits: Craig Robertson/QMI AGENCY


In 2013 the Harper government should keep its smart reforms coming while placing greater emphasis on fiscal prudence.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney continued the strong work on his file in 2012 by cracking down on citizenship fraud and stripping 3,100 Canadians of their citizenship. Most Canadians feel citizenship in this country should be earned, not something bought from a crooked consultant.

Adjusting the Old Age Security eligibility age from 65 to 67 was tough but necessary medicine. While this move was sneered at by the left as some heartless scheme, it was in truth a long overdue acceptance of basic math.

People are living longer and if they don't punch the clock a couple more years, they'll be an unsustainable burden on future generations. The government needs to keep adjusting policies to reflect real demographics.

That said, 2012 was no banner year for fiscal conservatism.

After Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney repeatedly told Canadians they are carrying too much debt, in November Flaherty said the budget may not in fact be balanced until 2016-17 ... then a week later did a double-take and said they're still hoping to get it done a year earlier as planned, before the next election.

Meanwhile, according to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the government is adding almost $60 million a day to our debt. Balancing the budget should be this government's top priority.

Also, for the government's positive measures to be embraced by Canadians, the Harper Conservatives need to stop offering up procedural stunts for the left to go manic about.

First their opponents wailed about prorogation which, as outgoing Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty has demonstrated, is the coward's way out.

Now they're arguing that the 443-page omnibus Bill C-45 is too long. And they're right.

Sure, the trend of tabling bills hundreds of pages long was pioneered by the Chretien government. But it was then-Reform MP Stephen Harper who denounced this practice. In the United States, small government proponents have smartly advocated for limits on the length of bills.

By building on the strengths of 2012, and making these adjustments, 2013 could be a very good year for the Conservatives and all Canadians.

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