Just a year ago, Jim Flaherty was ready to rein in spending and to keep the books balanced at all costs. Then came the attempted coup d'etat and the government chose to agree on a 2% ($34B) "stimulus" to appease the opposition. Now the "stimulus" deficit is about to swell to as much as $50B. That's just plain outrageous.
Take a look at this "no more taxes" rally from 1995. Thanks to those protests, then governing Liberals chose to suspend their tax and spend plans and adopted the Reform policy of zero deficit in 3 years. Sure they adopted it in a Liberal way, cutting essential services instead of reducing waste and dumping ideologically driven expenditures, but by 1998, the deficit was gone and the taxes started going down. Angry taxpayers' protests had made the difference. Now, it's time for yet another series of protests - this time, under the "No More Wasteful Spending!" banner.
Just take a look at the numbers: In 1999/2000, program spending stood at $118.8B. A year later it was already over $130B. 4 more years (Chretien's "legusee", Paul Martin's pre-election spending) - and the program spending hit $176B. It stayed there for 2005/06 (that's what gave us three consecutive surpluses of $10B to $13B each,) but then the new Conservative government began boosting spending to buy short term support from the opposition.
The opposition often blames the Conservatives for having eliminated the "safety cushion" with their tax cuts. In fact, it's not the tax cuts, but wasteful spending that is responsible for the loss of the safety cushion. If the Conservatives had maintained program spending at $175B (instead of adding $10B to $15B in new spending year after year) there would have been no deficit this year. Not to mention that with the taxes being much lower, the economy could have been stronger, so the effects of the global meltdown would not have been that devastating. If only Harper and Flaherty had the guts to force fiscal discipline on the government...
But that's when the No More Wasteful Spending protest rallies could make a difference.