It’s all about me

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All right — name the one thing that the federal Conservatives repeatedly tell us that they’re doing the very best job at.

If you guessed the economy, you’d be bang on — it is the core of the Conservative mantra, that they are the only party that can protect Canada’s economic future, that they are the only ones who could have kept Canada’s economy intact during the meltdown of the past few years.

Give them a pass on that one for a moment — accept that they did a good job with the economy even if that meant passing the pain onto our kids with billions upon billions of new long-term debt and some of the biggests deficits in Canadian history.

Now, ask yourself a completely different question.

Is just managing the economy enough for a government?

Somehow, our nation’s dialogue on governance has taken a turn. It went from looking at what nationhood meant — from being a country at the same level as other nations, with shared responsibilities for the downtrodden and those in danger — and switch to a far more insular goal.

It turned from what a country should do in the world to what our country can do for us. For our wallets. For our smaller tax bills.

Ask the federal Conservatives about their achievements and they talk about the economy and lowering taxes, as if paying for the services we use and expect is a dirty thing.

Heaven forbid that employment insurance should actually protect people who have lost jobs. Forget that increasing the premiums for the Canada Pension Plan could give seniors enough to have the basic necessities at the end of their working years. Forget the value of home-grown scientific endeavour and advancement that isn’t tied directly and specifically to the corporate good.

Any sort of national altruistic discussion has become a single-note song. Do and Re are gone — but there’s plenty of Mi, Mi, Mi.

A strong economy is not the great tide that lifts all boats — it lifts some, the more expensive and larger craft, further and faster, while the rest of us are expected to feel better with a much larger share.

This country is still the huge land that it was 20 years ago. A big country, but suddenly and sadly, a much smaller place.

National discussions change over time; perhaps the clock will turn, and people in Canada will start looking beyond their own doors and wallets. But, as you listen to the voices that currently make up that discussion, any hope of finding non-selfish altruism seems far off.

And that’s a shame — because we are a country built on much larger principles than net worth.

You can build an entire life on greed.

You can’t build a country on it.

Organizations: Conservatives, Canada Pension Plan

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Tug O'Forelock
    February 21, 2014 - 12:08

    Can you actually read the editorial, David? It's about ... Canada. Even in this province, we're citizens of Canada. And Canada is a nation. But clearly, not in your world of differential citizenship.

    • david
      February 21, 2014 - 13:09


  • Tug O'Forelock
    February 21, 2014 - 11:54

    Oh, apologies, Great David, of course we are only lesser citizens at this end of the country, and of course, even though we have an equal vote, we must bow down and keep quiet about the direction of the nation we live in, because we have no right to speak. Talk about surreal - how gracious of you to remind us of our place. And pack sand.

    • david
      February 21, 2014 - 12:03

      The truth hurts, obviously. Yup, you get a vote....except when Danny tells you otherwise. You don't live in a live in complete denial. But don't feel's Harper's fault.

  • david
    February 21, 2014 - 11:46

    It is nothing short of surreal to read economic criticism of Canada, no matter how imperfect it might be, from a place that makes no other contribution to it than allowing "CFA" oil companies to operate here. It requires taking some local credit for the existence of these oil fields.....that kind of arrogance is world class.

  • Geezer
    February 20, 2014 - 11:10

    Stephen Harper is leading our country in the race to the bottom.

  • joe
    February 20, 2014 - 09:02

    They are doing an excellent job of cutting gutting and demoralizing the public service. One would have to wonder how far it can go before the whole system comes crashing down

  • Joe
    February 20, 2014 - 08:50

    In a recent John Sanford novel it was once again pointed out that if there is an average intelligence, then there are 50% of the population that are below that average. Fertile ground for the Conservatives, business schools and business community.

  • Brad
    February 20, 2014 - 08:16

    It's not even just politics, this letter can be applied to the state of society here in NL today. Sure, we do give the most $$/head to charities and do help people in need, but we love charging high prices for food, housing, entertainment, or anything...often without the quality for what you pay for. You can only play the "it got here by boat" card for so long. Someone once told me "Newfoundlanders will help their fellow man, but they will rob their neighbour in order to do it".

  • Judy Gibson
    February 20, 2014 - 04:46

    That is so true...thank you for putting the problems with our federal government so clearly and succinctly. The problem is that we have people and environments and not just an economy...and to the Conservatives, people are expensive and the a nuisance. Anyone willing to support the Conservatives in the next election needs their head read.