Casual commentary about political, cultural and economic issues with a particular interest on the city of Winnipeg by John Dobbin
Monday, January 3, 2011
NDP And the Deficit
The NDP on blogs and forums are still in full attack. They are either making bold claims about the massive majority they are going to win and sloganeering with "moving Manitoba forward" or they are attacking the PCs and Hugh McFadyen.
We are looking at five years of deficits and the only way the NDP could avoid breaking the law on deficits was to change it so that they could run deficits for a few years before balancing the books.
In 14 months, Greg Selinger has continued to spend and spend and his NDP supporters continue to tell us how brilliant it all is from the stadium to the human rights museum to the west side path of Manitoba's Hydro bipole III. So many worthy projects, so many more to come. It unlikely we are going to see a budget of restraint nor are we going to see a frugal election.
The NDP supporters are shouting the PCs will cut everything and people will lose jobs all over the place. They scream what will you cut?! It would appear that the shouting is a cover for not answering the question themselves. Make people fearful about the opposition and not answer the question that the government should be answering themselves.
Off the top of my head, the government ought to be looking at every department of government for ways to hold the line. They should be looking at holding wages down as a first option over cutting workers. They should stop saying yes to every call for money from the human rights museum to the stadium. They should stop making political decisions such as with the hydro line. They should drop the ethanol program as a failed policy.
Perhaps if they did some of those things, they might not have to look at harder options of raising taxes, cutting services or hoping for a runaway rise in the economy and burgeoning transfer payments. Hope from the Feds seem iffy given the fact slower growth and better control on spending seems to be the order of the day.
The opposition will indeed have to present their platform when the election happens but the NDP is the government now and they have shown no signs of controlling their high spending ways.
The very aggressive tactics of their supporters is going to intensify with every poll that puts their party behind. After 11 years, the hysterics and histrionics are not being well received. However, it seems the marching orders have been given to the party faithful to go for the gutter when it comes to attacking.
Some have been attacking Hugh McFadyen's personal life. Pretty awful but I expect we'll see more of it.
The PCs should try to avoid the most muddy of the tactics. They need to work on a solid platform, talks about the tough road ahead but emphasize the positive.
It is difficult to know what the Liberals will do. Jon Gerrard needs to find good candidates and present a platform that is different from the other parties. Not everyone is comfortable voting for the two major parties in the province for the simple fact that they can act out in this left/right free for all battle. The Liberals need to present a centrist platform and indicate that even a few Liberals in the legislature can help change the tone.
One thing is clear though. The NDP attacks will only draw attention to the lack of a plan on their own part. People will be less forgiving than they might have been even 14 months ago. Most in the province know that while the province might be doing better than other places, we can't depend on transfer payments booming and that the deficit cannot be imagined away.