Still socialists

Looking at the calendar and seeing that this column will hit the streets on Aug. 16 makes one wonder what happened to our summer. 
Thinking back to last year, with some help from my grandson and a friend, we re-did some concrete work and cleaned a lot of old ceiling material out of our basement. Then later in the season, I built a large garden shed. Nothing of that magnitude has happened this summer, not yet anyway. I feel a bit like our MLAs grinding away in Winnipeg. No summer holidays for them I guess.
Not to complain though. Due to the work done last year, we can enjoy our home knowing that things are in better shape than they were before we started the projects. Can’t say the same for our provincial government. They are locked in a prolonged battle, one in which they could have avoided. But the PC opposition is doing what opposition parties are supposed to do and that is oppose. They are opposing the PST increase, the forcing of municipalities to amalgamate and the very flawed anti-bullying legislation. Along the way, a whole bunch of other bills are held up, including the budget.
Governments around the world are facing the same problem. People have come to expect all solutions to flow from the government fountain. It has never worked, it never will work but most governments are still trying to find a way to make it work. About six years ago, I was roundly criticized in the mainstream media for claiming our provincial government was socialist. Notwithstanding that it was the truth and notwithstanding, that it still is the truth. Many are coming to realize that we indeed have a socialist provincial government. As sad as it is, it may make some of my friends in the federal government socialist too. It’s socialism that people say they want or at least that’s what they continue to vote for.
A government can’t withdraw overnight from various programs, but there needs to be a planned scheduled withdrawal from programs we can’t afford. We saw one small glimmer of hope when the province decided not to build a by-pass cloverleaf at the Portage junction of Highway 16 and Highway 1. The project had a price tag in the tens of millions and fortunately it was postponed indefinitely. We need to indefinitely postpone the Manitoba Hydro Bi-Pole III project and one or maybe both of the new Hydro dams. We are not back in the 50s when water power was the way of the future. We can be thankful for the Hydro dams we have, but if we wanted to produce power today, and for the next few decades, we would go to gas, coal or biofuels. In fact, local biofuel plants don’t need the large expensive long-distance transmission lines.
I’m not sure if either the province or the federal government have gotten the message yet. We have to live within our means. We should not be subsidizing businesses with large grants. We shouldn’t be restricting investment in health care to only public dollars. A new care home was built in Niverville with no provincial money. How did the socialists let that one slip by? Perhaps they are realizing that they are broke (we are broke) and that private money can do most of the jobs faster, better and cheaper.
Here’s an example of an absolute waste of time and bureaucracy. Why do we have a social insurance number, a health care number and a separate number at each and every medical clinic we may attend? Why doesn’t our SIN number cover everything? The reasons are two-fold. It’s too simple and we would need less government unionized jobs if the process were simplified. 
I have heard the deficit in the U.S. federal spending is shrinking. I have also heard that some U.S. states deficits are shrinking and a few U.S. states may have even balanced their budgets. Maybe our federal budget is shrinking too, but it’s sure not shrinking in Manitoba. Maybe we’ll catch on someday, but for now, we are still socialists.

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