Friday, May 28, 2004

And Now the Liberals Go For the Cities

Hot on the heels of his announcement of billions for health care, Prime Minister Paul Martin has now announced billions for cities. The money's to come from the federal gasoline tax, a portion of which will go to cities and municipalities. This is a nice idea, but as with health care, it really amounts to nothing more than throwing some federal money at a problem created when Paul Martin Finance Minister took the money away in order to balance the federal budget, leaving the provincial governments with the funding mess. Which itself is the primary reason so many provincial governments are so deep in debt.

What's lacking here are any real ideas about how to spur Canadian economic growth and create more wealth. The Liberals are relying on shell game that moves money around but does nothing to deal with the core problems facing Canada's cities and Canadian health care. Of course, this is more of the same from the Liberals who paper over difficulties while failing to address changes both domestically and internationally.

But we shouldn't be surprised by this announcement. Martin is trying to fend off the New Democrats who are growing in support in key cities like Vancouver, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax. At the same time, he's got to deal with growing dissent in rural Ontario where voters are looking more seriously at the Conservatives. All around, Martin sees threats and he's attempting to ward them off. It's no easy task and I'll have more on that in my next post.


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