Quotulatiousness

January 31, 2012

Andrew Coyne on the sudden appearance of Stephen Harper’s “hidden agenda”

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Government, Politics — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 12:19

We’ve been waiting for it to appear since the 1990′s, so it’s about time that it finally put in a cameo:

At last, the hidden agenda, and not a moment too soon. Vague, indirect and overseas as it was, Stephen Harper’s Davos speech was perilously close to a vision statement, of a kind the prime minister has seldom made until now, and will henceforth have to make often.

It would be nice if he had shared with us his concerns about the ageing of the population, and the threat it poses to our long-run social and economic health, sometime before the last election, rather than joining in the all-party consensus that there was nothing wrong with Canada that could not be fixed with more and richer promises to the elderly.

[. . .]

How serious is the cost side of this conundrum? The president of the C. D. Howe Institute, Bill Robson, has projected the “net unfunded liability” implied by this unprecedented demographic shift — that is, promises to pay benefits out of public funds for which we have made no provision in taxes, “net” of any savings from having fewer children about — at about $2.8-trillion. With a T, ladies and gentlemen: about 160% of GDP. (That’s in addition to the $800-billion unfunded liability in the Canada Pension Plan and its Quebec counterpart — yes, they are pulling in enough each year to meet their current obligations, but that does not mean they are “fully funded,” the prime minister’s claims to the contrary — to say nothing of the $600-billion national debt.)

3 Comments

  1. And let us not forget that there was nothing in the speech that actually said anything about anything. It was vague and open to any interpretation, which the media is playing to the hilt. Speculating on the OAS, and GIS; anything that they can put in print.

    My criticism would be that the PM should have used a specific example of what he meant, and not let the media fill his mouth with their lies. FUD lives in the MSM.

    http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?category=2&featureId=6&pageId=46&id=4606

    That is the link to the actual statement at the Davos summit.

    Here is the line causing so much consternation:

    We have already taken steps to limit the growth of our health care spending over that period. We must do the same for our retirement income system. Fortunately, the centerpiece of that system, the Canada Pension Plan, is fully funded, actuarially sound and does not need to be changed. For those elements of the system that are not funded, we will make the changes necessary to ensure sustainability for the next generation while not affecting current recipients.

    Wow, what a radical statement! You can see him stealing money from the elderly in there, right? I mean, isn’t that what the media is saying?

    Let’s read that again:

    For those elements of the system that are not funded, we will make the changes necessary to ensure sustainability for the next generation while not affecting current recipients.

    Wow, just wow :)

    Comment by Dwayne — January 31, 2012 @ 23:40

  2. But you forget: this is the same media that kept the “hidden agenda” meme alive for more than a decade. Now they’ve finally (in their own minds) hit paydirt and all that preparation will finally pay off. Canadians will realize that Harper has been hiding his true intentions all this time and will rise up RISE UP!!!

    Now is the time! This is the Reichstag fire moment! Adolf Harper’s jackbooted instincts are finally becoming clear!

    Comment by Nicholas — February 1, 2012 @ 09:53

  3. lol, yup. I think that Iggy Rise Up thing will live to bite the Liberals time and again in the future :) The PM seems to be doing fine in question period though, too bad the print media ignores it… but that is what they do best, ignore the things that refute them and push the memes they hold dear.

    Comment by Dwayne — February 1, 2012 @ 11:53

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