NDP could learn lessons from Cuba

Re: MP has new perspective on Ottawa, Aug. 9

To the Editor,

Re: MP has new perspective on Ottawa, Aug. 9

NDP MP Jean Crowder would like to “bring forward good ideas with the help of Canadians.”

One good idea would be to end government overspending.

The federal debt is already $16,500 for every man, woman and child in Canada. With our aging demographic that works out to at least $25,000 for every younger Canadian to repay – an additional $100,000 mortgage on a working family of four.

A related good idea would be immediate austerity.

Canada lost its tripleA sovereign debt rating in October 1992, due to its growing public debt. (We do beat the Americans at some things.) In 1995, then-finance minister Paul Martin introduced deep spending cuts that outweighed tax increases by seven to one.

Martin said, “Not to act now to put our fiscal house in order would be to abandon the purposes for which this government stands – competence, compassion, reform and hope.”

By 2002, Canada had regained its surpluses and triple-A status. Surely Crowder can advocate these fiscally responsible values.

As a left-wing party, the NDP can go even further. It could adopt the slogan, “socialism means equal rights and opportunity for all, but not egalitarianism.”

Unfortunately, this idea is not really Canadian. It is taken directly from the Communist Party of Cuba’s economic and social reforms announced Aug. 1.

The Cuban reforms cut over one million government jobs, and reduced the role of the state across agriculture, retailing, construction and transportation. The Cuban Communist Party encouraged private small businesses and cooperatives instead of more government.

When even the Communist Party of Cuba rejects excessive government in favour of free enterprise, Canadians, as Crowder put it, “want to pay attention.”

Bart Jessup

Gabriola Island