I was pleasantly surprised with Premier Christy Clark’s first Throne Speech last week because it contained more than just her “jobs strategy.” The premier used the speech to highlight other issues on her agenda, such as improving access to information, the “modernization” of the education system, a review of Crown corporations, and an exploration of ways to improve the delivery of social services to the “most vulnerable.” The throne speech also showed that the fundamental thinking behind the government’s agenda is deeply flawed, because it completely failed to address one of the root causes of the current collapse of the world economy: government’s myopic focus on the needs of the private sector.
For almost four decades, politicians have concentrated on the needs of the private sector and private interests at the expense of the public good. The private sector agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, reducing the size of government, privatizing public services and infrastructure, and “free market” economics has led us to the brink of economic collapse, yet Clark’s Throne Speech is, at its heart, a promise of more of this bankrupt approach to governance. Rather than examining tax fairness the premier wants to examine tax competitiveness.
Rather than addressing the needs of the most vulnerable, she will help the not-for-profit sector find “innovative ways” to address this issue. Modernization of education and the review of Crown corporations are likely just euphemisms for another attempt at privatization. The reason our economy is a mess is because politicians of all stripes have forgotten we are elected to serve the public interest, not to facilitate the private sector’s easy access to our natural resources and to dole out taxpayers’ money in various forms of subsidies and bailouts.
While the throne speech suggested there are some interesting items on the premier’s agenda, taken as a whole, the speech still reflects the same thinking that created the very problems it’s supposedly trying to address — which is Einstein’s definition of insanity.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.