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Diane Francis: The Liberal government is Canada's biggest problem

April 12 2021

Re-printed without permission

Canada is a ship of state with no one at the helm who understands how a country operates, how to steer it, where it should head, or what it should avoid

The Liberal convention involved the usual self-congratulatory nonsense about a job well done, which wasn’t true, an endorsement by a former central banker promoting his new book, and not a single innovative idea as to how to pay for everything they want to give away in order to be re-elected.

I suppose you must have a convention if you planned one — even after your government is responsible for a vaccine procurement botch-up, for foreign policy mishaps, or for handing out billions indiscriminately during the pandemic. And, of course, you would do at that convention what you have always done, which is to read out a shopping list of giveaways, staggeringly expensive, without a single mention of wealth creation or where the money would come from.

What was missing was any mention about an increasingly serious problem of soaring house prices. According to OECD data, since 2000, prices in Canada have risen faster than in Britain, France and the U.S. and sit above the OECD average.

Clearly the high cost of Canadian real estate, and excessive rents, continues to be an impediment to wealth creation: it drives away investors and talent and causes social problems and overextends families.

But never mind all that, say the Liberals, because we only require one in three voters to stay in power and, besides that, recent polling shows that we could win a majority so let’s just stay the course with expensive giveaways to provide drugs, a basic income, and good teeth for everybody.

In a nutshell, the Liberal government is Canada’s biggest problem. The country is run by professional politicians who lack “domain expertise” beyond getting re-elected. Current placeholders lack credentials, experience, or talent to head the ministries they run, surprising in a country with so many educated and capable people.

The Canadian cabinet is devoid of representatives from the critically important sectors of oil and gas, mining, technology, manufacturing, agriculture, export, science, construction, engineering, retail or finance. It lacks anyone knowledgeable about economics, geopolitics, innovation, entrepreneurship, innovation, or future trends.

For instance, the Prime Minister of Canada was a teacher and snowboard instructor; the current finance minister is a journalist who’s also burdened with other portfolios; the health minister is a graphic designer; the procurement minister, a law professor; the foreign minister, an astronaut; the minister of natural resources, a self-described TV “personality”; the minister of agriculture, a campground proprietor and so on.

Canada is a ship of state with no one at the helm who understands how a country operates, how to steer it, where it should head, or what it should avoid. And Parliament and opposition parties — that represent two out of three voters — have been silenced by Prime Ministerial manoeuvres for months. So, Canada drifts, managed by a cabinet, comprised of three dozen members, most of whom know very little about anything.

Some cynics argue that ministers don’t really matter because they are only figure heads propped up by deputy ministers. But ministers should have domain expertise so they can ask the right questions, issue the right directives, correct course, and lead not follow. They are elected, not the civil service.

But judging from the convention’s tone the Liberals are quite pleased with themselves and see no room for self-improvement. Fortunately, the private sector operates pretty well in spite of who’s in charge but make no mistake our Ship of State is not in good hands.

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