Choosing six out of 49 numbers that will turn you into a millionaire is an easier task than predicting the political events and outcomes of 2013. I have therefore decided to list my wishes for the New Year instead.
We need clear priorities across the country. As a nation, we’re still spending too much money, and often on all the wrong things. For example, was it really necessary to pump even more money into the auto industry when Ottawa is still in a deficit? With the auto makers showing more and more signs of shifting production away from Canada (Ontario) and back to the U.S., particularly “right-to-work” jurisdictions, any tax dollars given to the companies won’t spur manufacturing at home. The car companies will simply take the money and use it as welcome spending money on their way out of Canada.
With Alberta’s oil selling at a major discount, and vital pipelines not yet built, we should consider scaling back production until the situation has changed. I don’t see any upside in selling our precious natural resources at bargain-basement prices, because the money foregone now will never be recouped.
Speaking of Alberta, rather than going deeper into deficit and taking up debt again for the first time in almost a decade, the province should throttle its excessive spending and implement a 5% provincial sales tax.
On the federal front, we should all hope for a reinvigorated Liberal Party under a strong leader (that is, almost anyone but Justin Trudeau). A rebooted Liberal Party would provide the Conservatives with much needed competition on their own side of the political spectrum. The ensuing contest of ideas would benefit Canadians across the board.
Our neighbours to the south must set aside their ideological differences to rebuild America. To be sure, neither side has clean hands – both the Republicans and Democrats, including President Barack Obama, are guilty of pushing personal agendas to the detriment of the entire nation and its prosperity. Whether it be taxes, spending cuts or gun control, all must pull together and work for America on the basis of common sense. Their motto should become “What can we do for America?”, and not “What can we do to grind our own axes?”.
I sincerely hope to see a British referendum on leaving the EU this year. The EU has failed, and there’s no saving it. Britain’s exit would speed up major reforms desperately needed across the continent. For starters, Europeans must return to the roots of the EU, that is, a free-trade area and not a political union. Some of the stronger countries can, if they want, keep the euro currency, but the vast majority – such as Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and even France – should be forced to adopt their former national currencies.
As a matter of principle, European governments should tighten their belts. Their overblown civil service apparatus is no longer sustainable – the boss of Austria’s public broadcaster now makes more money than the American president, courtesy of TV license fees and taxes, while a district head in one of Vienna’s districts has a higher salary than the Russian president. As I keep reminding my European friends, soon the air they breathe will be taxed – not a joke; things really have become this dire over there. It’s just a matter of time before this outrageous scenario becomes a reality.
On that note, A Happy New Year to all.