Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie was in high dudgeon last week when he took his summer road show to Yarmouth to warn business leaders there about the terrible costs to our grandchildren’s grand kids because of our socialist-horde government’s “stubbornly… swimming-against-the-tide” tax policies.
A slight exaggeration, perhaps, but it’s summer. And Baillie himself was attempting to generate maximum barbecue-season publicity for his third-place party from the fallow news-bite possibilities of last week’s eastern Canadian premiers’ and New England governors’ gathering.
“We sit around the table with the neighbouring jurisdictions, but when it comes to spending and taxes, we are uniquely going in the wrong direction,” Baillie harrumphed, parroting the currently popular, populist, less-government-is-better, no-government-is-best mantra. “We are surrounded by jurisdictions that are reducing taxes and containing the cost of government to create jobs and strengthen their economies. In Nova Scotia taxes are up, government spending is up and jobs are disappearing.”
Baillie’s Republican-loving, Tea-Party-aping, Harper-hoping-to-be cut-cut-cut speech might have sounded more sincere if not for the last phrase in the last, please-don’t-notice paragraph of the Tory press release previewing Baillie’s talk.
Baillie, it said, would “highlight the importance of our province’s longstanding relationship with New England and the economic isolation caused by the NDP’s decision to cut the ferry service.”
The Yarmouth-Portland ferry service? The one that a former Conservative government subsidized to the dance-that-jig tune of $18.9 million between 2007 and 2009, the one the NDP refused to give $6-million more of taxpayers’ dollars to in 2010, the one that the operators—not the NDP—cut after the company couldn’t get what it considered its fairest share of our tax dollars.
Yup, that ferry service.
All opposition politicians, of course, must take the Hypocritic Oath. It comes with the territory.
And there are, without doubt, sound economic reasons for subsidizing ferry service, which brought thousands of tourists and created hundreds of jobs in economically fragile southwestern Nova Scotia.
But to follow the logic of the currently ascendant no-government-is-good-government movement—see Jamie Baillie above, plus Rob Ford, Jim Flaherty, Michelle Bachmann et al—using taxpayers’ cash to prop up private businesses should be a bad thing…
Unless, of course, you’re in Yarmouth at the time.