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Todd Whitcombe: Conservatives need to retire their tired talking points

April 7 was federal budget day. After coming to terms with the NDP, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a Liberal budget.
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Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen in a social media address on Feb. 3, 2022. SCREENSHOT/Photo

April 7 was federal budget day. After coming to terms with the NDP, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled a Liberal budget.

Despite what the Conservative pundits and politicians would have us believe, this is not an “NDP budget” nor is it a “tax-and-spend budget”. These are tired, worn-out catchphrases which the right should retire.

After all, all governments tax their citizens and all governments spend the resulting revenues. The money is used to buy us roads, bridges, hospitals, buildings, police forces, armies, schools, and a host of other necessities for which we are willing to collectively pay. Or, at least, the majority of Canadians are willing to pay.

The phrase “tax-and-spend” is simply what all governments do. The question really is “how much do they tax and on what are they spending it?”

What the Conservatives contend about this budget is Canadians will be saddled with tax hikes while the money is being spent on frivolous items, such as social programs and dental care for children. That isn’t what they would do.

No. The Conservative would give the money to big corporations. Give the money to companies and businesses. CEOs know what to do, they say. Or, at least, that is the approach the Conservatives took in addressing the financial collapse in 2008. Billions of taxpayers dollars going to the business sector to stimulate the economy.

Did it work? One could make arguments on both sides of the question. But the one thing for sure is the people at the top – the richest one per cent – saw their incomes and wealth skyrocket under the Conservatives.

I would prefer a “tax-and-spend” budget to a “tax-me-and-give-it-to-the-rich” budget any day of the week.

As to an NDP budget, I would note the Conservatives had no problem having the Liberals support their budget in 2009. Indeed, the opposition could have brought the government down over the budget but didn’t.

At some point, minority governments have to find a way to run the country. The good of the country comes before politics. Or it should. This makes for strange partnerships.

The Conservatives might not like it but the Liberals have found a way to get us through the next three years and that is in our best interest.

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