By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on February 5, 2021.
Rachael Harder – MP for Lethbridge
No one can minimize the very serious effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our individual lives, our communities, and the entire country. These are not normal times and the measures that have been implemented to mitigate the harm of the virus have been significant.
In the very early days of the pandemic, Conservatives were eager to work with the governing party to find solutions for Canadians.
We knew it was imperative to act quickly and effectively so those feeling the negative economic impact of the mandated shutdowns were supported.
We called on the government to close the borders – a recommendation they ignored for months-and sadly caused considerable damage.
To prevent job loss, we urged the Liberals to increase the wage subsidy program from 10 per cent to 75 per cent.
When our constituents told us about the problems they were having accessing the Rent Relief Program and other emergency benefits, we immediately proposed changes.
It often took weeks or months for the government to respond, but eventually they did.
All of this was done with the understanding that measurable support must be given to help Canadians until the tide turned and there was greater economic certainty.
A very serious problem we are facing now, is that even though the country is facing astronomical deficits, there is no plan for recovery, and there is no end in sight to their spending.
In the last year, our country has adopted many policies that in normal times would put us on track to mirroring economies like those of Cuba or Venezuela, where masses of people are out of work, and individuals are reliant on the government for survival.
It is entirely unsustainable for any long period of time, but oddly, and to our detriment, this federal government is proposing that many of the measures, which have been implemented during the pandemic, become permanently entrenched.
We are living in a credit-card economy.
We are consuming more than we produce; buying more than we sell; borrowing from the world to buy from the world; sending money and jobs out to bring foreign goods in. Others get the jobs, the investment and the savings. We are left with the debt.
Governments do not have money of their own. What they spend comes from taxation and borrowing. The less revenue there is to tax, the less money there is to spend on social programs, healthcare, infrastructure, and education.
For this reason, it is perplexing as to why the Liberals do not fight for industries such as the energy sector, manufacturing, and agriculture-industries that have helped stabilize our economy for decades and are well-positioned to continue in this fashion.
When the Prime Minister was embroiled in scandal over the SNC-Lavalin affair, where he pressured the former Attorney General in the hopes of letting a criminally charged company off the hook, his justification was that he was “fighting for jobs.”
And yet, when energy projects have been on the table and are slipping away because of economic uncertainty, environmental activism, or a President who made a campaign promise, the Prime Minister hardly lifts a finger.
For quite some time, Mr. Trudeau has fostered animosity toward the wealth creators in society and is minimizing the value of work.
He is stoking the fires of greed with the promise of greater economic equality for everyone, regardless of effort or investment.
What results from this anti-wealth mentality is the elimination of prosperity. Jobs and investment go elsewhere.
Businesses flee to places where they are not penalized for succeeding, and along with them go all the tax dollars that were once collected to pay for hospitals, roads, schools, and our social safety net.
While the private sector is shrinking rapidly, the government is engorging itself. This is entirely unsustainable, but it is incredibly beneficial to a political party that is most successful when Canadians are dependent upon it.
You see, doling out money is a political leader’s dream.
It turns the people’s affections toward him. It positions him as a hero and a caretaker. But responsible leaders restrain themselves from utilizing this enticing tool too much because they know in the long run, it is incredibly destructive for the people and the country.
Whenever we discuss permanently increasing government handouts, we must look at the potential negative ramifications, not just for the economy, but for society – which is people.
Ronald Reagan famously said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”
Frankly, I am tired of hearing this Liberal government patronize Canadians by telling them to sit on the sidelines and cheer.
What coach benches his best players?
Instead of putting the government in the position of the ultimate problem-solver and exploiting the pandemic to increase governmental control in the lives of Canadians, I believe we have a real opportunity here to do just the opposite.
We can shift the spotlight onto Canadians – those who are dreamers, risk-takers, wealth-generators, and job-creators.
It’s time to put them in the game!
They have the ability to put forward exceptional ideas, solve problems, and build toward a vibrant future. We must unleash the power of the workforce so Canadians can start receiving a paycheque instead of a government cheque.
The Liberals can try to reset, restart, and reimagine this country, but the fact is, the power belongs to the people.
Canadians always have been and always will be the solution to the problems we face.
To make this country truly great for ourselves and for future generations, we must each live according to our potential.