I CAN SUMMON with clarity the celebration of Fall 1990 that inducted the provincial NDP government of Bob Rae. I’d moved to Kingston a month earlier, at the end of August, and like everyone else was shocked to see that the NDP would not only form a government, but a majority government at that.
THE CURRENCY of the word outpouring was notable this week: over at the National Post, Michael Den Tandt has not only described the phenomenon, but indulged it himself. His essay “Former finance minister Jim Flaherty’s death leaves a void in the Conservative party” issues high praise, pressing Kipling and Aristotle into the service of a lush panegyric. Again, nothing unusual here – it’s what everyone is doing these days, not only at the National Post, but elsewhere.
OVER A LUNCH with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo, I had a conversation last week in North Bay about Idle No More and social media. A thread which ran throughout our discussion was anger — in particular the anger of native people, much of which is directed toward the federal government of Canada.
SOME DAYS AGO I spoke to the former Finance Minister and Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin, who in 1995 tabled the federal budget balancing Canada’s books. It’s become an established (and easily falsifiable) political cliché that Liberals tax and spend whilst Conservatives tidy the fiscal house. Speaking to Mr. Martin, I was reminded of the conspiracy theory that Reagan had tripled the US deficit in order to undermine the welfare state. Well, some thought it a conspiracy theory — and then David Stockman, the Office of Management and Budget Director, confirmed the supply side ruse.