“The first week back in Ottawa was a busy and eventful one…” Rafferty


John Rafferty MPOTTAWA – The first week back in Ottawa was a busy and eventful one, so rather than dealing with a single topic I would like to do a bit of a rapid fire wrap up.

I always wondered about the myth that the Conservatives are the best party to be in charge of the economy and eliminating deficits. Provincially their record is abysmal on both fronts, and federally it is almost as bad. So I was not surprised to learn that among the first job cuts the Conservatives made was to fire 92 auditors at the Treasury Board (see: http://tinyurl.com/AuditorCuts). Auditors find out how and where money is spent, which clearly means that they have no use for a government trying to eliminate waste right? Not to worry though! After eliminating those positions and saving about $20,000 a day in those inflated ‘union negotiated’ salaries, the Conservatives decided to spend $90,000 a day on private sector consultants who are tasked with – you guessed it – saving money! Why do we have a $40 billion deficit again? (see: http://tinyurl.com/SavingOrWasting)

This first week back also saw the Conservatives release their giant mega-bill on justice issues. I have to make a disclaimer first though – New Democrats do in fact support public safety, oppose crime, and want criminals punished. I have to say that because every time we ask the Conservatives a justice related question they accuse of supporting criminals and hating families. With that out of the way, Bill C-10, combines what would normally be 9 separate justice bills into one. It’s not a great way of doing things because my colleagues and I support some of the contents of C-10, but oppose others. Then again, maybe that is the point. After all, Conservatives have playing politics with public safety down to an art form.

One of the big problems with C-10 is that the responsibility of enforcing the bill, including the imprisonment of many of the new criminals, will fall upon the provincial governments in Canada. More prisoners, costing taxpayers between $70,000 and $100,000 per year to incarcerate will cost the provinces a fortune and they will no doubt choose to pass the buck onto the municipalities. This will inevitably lead to an increase in our property taxes and other taxes. When C-10 passes it will become the worst case of downloading of costs from one level of government to another since Paul Martin’s heyday as Finance Minister 15 years ago. Oh, and it won’t make our streets any safer since it does nothing to prevent crime and only punishes criminals after the fact. I will have much more to say on C-10 another time.

‘MacKay Airlines.’ Has a nice ring to it doesn’t it eh? Well that is what the federal government’s fleet of Challenger Jets has essentially become for Defence Minister Peter MacKay. Media outlets are uncovering some worrisome decisions that have been made recently by Mr. MacKay regarding the use of our government’s planes. He authorized the Chief of Defence Staff to use a plane to fly to a holiday in the Caribbean, and used one himself to fly to work from a fishing trip just to name two decisions. These trips aren’t cheap and cost Canadian taxpayers about $12,000 an hour (not a typo). These are but two examples, but if you would like to some more information and examples please visit: http://tinyurl.com/MacKayAirlines, where you will be redirected to a short CBC National video report on the story.

So that, more or less, was the first week back. I didn’t even get to touch on the visit to Canada by British Prime Minister David Cameron or the weakening economic data that shows Canada may be the first country (yes first – even before the US or European nations) to fall back into recession. Maybe next week.

John Rafferty MP
Thunder Bay Rainy River

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