There is nothing more hypocritical than a politician who espouses fiscal prudence, preaches the evils of deficits and debt, and votes year over year for budgets with massive deficits.
That’s what the BC Liberals have done this entire term: they have preached fiscal discipline, all the while requiring every one of their MLAs to vote “Yea” to successive budgets with huge deficits that grew the provincial debt by over $15 billion in just three years.
The BC NDP will be no better. They too will force their MLAs to vote for deficit budgets because they don’t have the courage of their convictions to raise enough government revenue to be able to deliver on their promises to fix BC’s struggling health care, education, and social services systems.
The ability to deficit finance without penalty is what allows provincial and federal politicians to reduce our taxes in order to buy our votes, while lying to us about being able to deliver quality public services.
What if individual MLAs were fired if they voted for deficit budgets? Ludicrous, you say?
Tell that to school trustees who get fired by the Education Minister if they try to present a deficit budget because they refuse to close schools and want the province to cover the real costs of delivering quality education to our children.
Tell that to local government representatives who are bound by law to balance their budgets every year, and who don’t enjoy the luxury of federal and provincial politicians who can repeal their balanced budget “law” when it suits their interests.
Until individual MLAs (and MPs) are forced to answer for voting for deficit financing, we’ll never have the difficult and necessary conversation about balancing our expectations for government with our willingness to pay.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.