The Scandal and Shame of Canada’s Government Debt

This is an “Executive Report” on Canadian Government Debt, as of 2014, prepared by The Fraser Institute of Vancouver.

This Report is highly instructive, both to Canadians who have to live with the consequences, and to non-Canadians curious to see the all but hidden, and seldom discussed, price that must always eventually be paid for living beyond one’s means – even in a country that is too often admired for its great self-management.

The report reveals the scandal all too typical of Gov’t debt-financing, which places an undue burden on all taxpayers. And because all government debt is in effect, deferred taxation, the deepest moral scandal is the imposition of this burden on future generations not here to defend themselves against our present appetite for more public benefits, security, and pleasures than we are actually paying for. Shame on us!

Here is the full report.

https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/canadian-government-debt-2014-rev2.pdf

And here is the Executive Summary [with a few of my own comments in brackets]. The Bold and Italics are also mine.

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The Big Picture

With Canadian governments having returned to deficit-financed spending [which was the worst ever under Pierre Trudeau, father of our present Prime Minister] the growth in direct government debt has re-emerged as a serious public policy issue in Canada.

Consider that the net direct debt of all three levels of government increased from $872.2 billion to $1.2 trillion between 2007/08 and 2011/12.*

As a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), the total net direct debt burden increased to 68.0 percent from 55.7 percent over this period. With the federal and provincial governments planning ongoing deficits for the foreseeable future, a further expansion in direct debt may still come.

While discussions about government indebtedness typically focus on direct debt, this narrow approach misses a large portion of total government liabilities. A more complete picture of the state of government indebtedness must not only consider direct debt but also debt guarantees, contingent liabilities and contractual commitments, and unfunded program obligations [These latter are the most invisible – like the part of the debt iceberg that is underwater].

Debt guarantees are issued by governments on behalf of privately held companies and government business enterprises (Crown corporations). Contingent liabilities are potential claims, which may become actual depending on the outcome of uncertain future events, while contractual commitments are the government’s legally-binding contracts to pay for future services rendered, or for goods provided. Unfunded liabilities include programs that provide future benefits, such as Old Age Security, the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, and Medicare, which governments have committed to providing but which are currently not fully funded.

  • Net debt is gross debt (the total stock of securitized liabilities owed by a government) minus financial assets. Net debt is the appropriate focus for analysis because it measures liabilities that have been adjusted for the financial resources that a government holds.

The size and growth of total liabilities

When liabilities other than direct debt are included, the total liability of Canadian governments (federal, provincial, and local) increases dramatically. In 2011/12 (the latest year for which an estimate is possible), the total liability summed to $4.1 trillion, up 20.9 percent from $3.4 trillion in 2007/08. Total government liabilities of $4.1 trillion translate into $117,948 for every Canadian citizen, $243,476 for each income-taxpayer, or 230.2 percent of GDP.

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This report is something to think deeply about – and to protest!

Not long ago, the reigning public philosophy was that individuals and nations should pay their debts, and that short-term financing is okay as long as it is paid off by the individuals, families, or the generation doing the borrowing.

The ethic was that each generation ought to strive to leave something better for the next generation than we ourselves have enjoyed, whether that be infrastructure like roads and bridges, or public services.

That “ethic” – and I can’t help saying this is a consequence of the libertarian-socialist regimes we have so mindlessly and selfishly created – is now the reverse.

We think it is okay to live off the backs of unborn children, and their children, in effect creating a situation where they will all be paying a lot of their income to support US!

Shame! as I say …

Canada’s Multi-Tiered Medical System

        This is an excerpt from Chapter 11 of my book The Trouble With Canada … Still! (2010). The Chapter is entitled “Medical Mediocrity: An Autopsy on the Canadian “Health Care” System.”

I urge visitors to get the book and read it. Better be sitting down, though.

          I do not publish this bit here to flay my country. I publish it to urge truth-speaking. Canadian politicians, from to bottom, enjoy boasting and preening over Canada’s socialized, State-rationed and State-controlled “health-care” system. I always put the latter phrase in brackets because no nation in the world has a true “health-care” system. They are all “disease-care” systems. They look after you when you are sick, not when you are “healthy”. 

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An Educated Muslim Opposes Multiculturalism

This is a guest post by my friend Professor Salim Mansur, a Muslim immigrant to Canada from Pakistan, who teaches Political Science at the University of Western Ontario. He manages to confuse further his already confused opponents when, in debating against the destructive ideology of “multiculturalism,” he describes himself as “a brown person.”

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The most dangerous element in the systematic subversion of American politics and culture as bequeathed by the founding fathers and maintained even through the Civil War and after, is the corrupting idea of so-called “multiculturalism.” I say “so-called” because this is not a culture, properly speaking. It is a political ideology.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. of Harvard, a lifelong Democrat, published The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society just before his death, in which he warned Americans that multiculturalism is an anti-American ideology.

Similarly, Samuel Huntington, also of Harvard, and also a lifelong Democrat, published his last book, titled Who Are We? The Challenges to America’s National Identity – a study of the decline of American culture currently underway due to the toxin of multiculturalism. My own study on this matter, Delectable Lie: a liberal repudiation of multiculturalism (Mantua Books, 2011) was in part inspired by those two books.

But such warnings have been deliberately ignored, or even denounced, mostly by means of personal attacks on those giving the warnings, motivated mostly for the obvious reasons of electoral advantage, and justified on the grounds of “globalism” – now the dominant ideology of the post-Cold War world.

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Totalitarian Lawyers: 1943 and 2018

This is a Guest Post by my Canadian colleague Howard Rotberg – A Lawyer, the Publisher of Mantua Books, and most recently, the author of The Ideological Path to Submission …and what we can do about it.

It is a moving plea that by historical juxtaposition exposes the intellectual weakness and moral folly of the Western world’s current fixation on cultural and moral relativism.

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In 2015, German Justice Minister Heiko Maas  said:  “Too many who bore guilt covered for each other” in a discussion of why so few Nazi judges were prosecuted at war’s end, and in fact many remained as Judges, some of them instrumental in making sure that other Nazis were not prosecuted after the war.

In an interview with  Associated Press, Maas revealed:  “Even at the start of the 1960s, 80 percent of the judges at the Federal Court of Justice had been judges under the Nazis. That illustrates the extent to which the German justice system failed.”

Haas said that a project to study the Nazi judges who remained in place after that war is to acknowledge the greatest mistake of Germany’s post-war legal system, which was that the justice system — which between 1933 and 1945 was nothing but a stooge of the Nazis — didn’t help to atone for the Nazi crimes after World War II in the young Federal Republic.”

The German atonement for their sins, in the age of Merkel, seems to consist of an open-door immigration policy where inclusion and diversity are extended to those with a culture of rape and violence.   To women, gays and observant Christians and Jews, that inclusion and diversity is problematic.

The corruption of lawyers and judges in systems of totalitarian group-think holds a special interest for me, as I obtained degrees from University of Toronto in both Law and History.   Also my father was slave labour in Auschwitz where his parents and then 8 year old sister were murdered in the gas chambers.

That may well be the reason I have so little tolerance for the present totalitarian group-think that has contaminated real human rights by a process of political correctness and post-modern moral and cultural relativism.    That is perhaps why I specialize in my studies and my writing on the concept of Ideology.   The Nazi lawyers and judges put the horrible ideology of Naziism ahead of their duties to further Justice.

Whenever someone alleges that all cultures are equal, I ask whether that means the culture of the Nazis was equal to Canadian political culture.

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A Gentle Corrective for David Frum

My Son recently sent me this interesting interview with David Frum on the Rubin Report. David Rubin is a disarming sort of chap, who gives the impression of having a real interest in honest and well-rounded debate from any and all perspectives.

And this cuts close to home for me, because I sent him my Great Divide book a year ago, which he received, but so far there has been no invitation to join him on a show. I suspect that is so because my book makes a logical hash of most libertarian arguments (Rubin is a self-avowed libertarian) having to do with so-called “social issues” like abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia.  So alright, I am a little jealous.

I like David. He’s a real gentleman. A sophisticated, aristocratic sort of fellow, and educated. This is an exception, as I do not think most lawyers get a solid, well-rounded education. Most of them end up with what Europeans call a “professional deformation,” meaning – a one-sided, legalistic view of the world.

I think Frum gets Trump right on the character side, and mostly wrong on the policy side.

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The Dramatic Shift From Classical Liberalism, to Libertarian-Socialism

         Here is another Table, which I expanded upon in my book The Great Divide (on pages 26-30) , that sharply illustrates the regime-change in Canada since the middle of the last  century.  A Table very similar to this could be drawn up for any Western nation. Read it. Think about it. Ask yourself where this trend is heading … because it is not going to stop anytime soon! 

       What we see in Part A is that many things once considered matters of fundamental freedom having to do with such as buying personal health care, private  property rights, economic rights, freedom of thought, speech, and language rights, have fallen under state control; and in Part B, that the main focus of citizen freedom has become reduced to and is now centered upon the body and sexual matters,

    It has been a Faustian deal wrought by Statist regimes all over the once-free world: More control and minute regulation of human life in all reaches of government, financed by the heaviest non-wartime taxation and public debt (deferred taxation) in history, in exchange for allowing citizens more bodily and sexual freedoms (abortion rights, homosexual rights, common-law marriage rights, easy-divorce rights, pornography rights, drug rights, transgender rights, etc.,  etc,)

A) The Advance of Socialism

  Item                                            1950                                                               Today

Private Medical Care          Legal. Free-market                 Illegal. State monopoly

                                                                                                   On all gov’t-insured services in Canada

                                                                                                                                                                                         

Private Medical                  Legal. Open to all                    Illegal to buy or sell private options for 

Care                                                                                                 gov’t-insured medical services

 

National Language            Legal to use any language      Illegal. Forced Bilingualism

 Freedom                                                                                       coast to coast in Canada 

 

Private Property                 Legally-Protected. Lightly                     Heavily Regulated by many  

                                             regulated. Celebrated as an                      agencies. No constitutional

                                             historical common-law right                 protection in Canada’s Charter

                                           regulated. Celebrated as                       Many takings-by-regulation that   

                                           historical common-law right                 diminish property value without

                                                                                                               market compensation

                                                                                                         .

Rights to the                     Legal. All resources above                        Illegal. Federal and  

 “Gifts of Nature”            or below the surface of one’s                     Provincial/State  

on Private land                   privately owned land                                 governments have legislatively-

                                              –“From Heaven to Hell” —                        seized private resources

                                             protected in law since                            without compensation to owners.

                                              ancient times 

 

 Free Speech                       Legal; open to all                                    Illegal. PC “hate” speech laws,

                                          except for libel, slander, etc.                   Human Rights Tribunals  & thought 

                                           All classic books allowed                       control.  Many classic books banned

                                           Free speech for third parties                  in schools .Third-party speech banned 

                                           allowed during elections                        at elections.

                                          Public discussion of all topics               Public discussion of many topics

                                        encouraged                                                actively discouraged/banned as “hate”

                                                                                                              speech.                                   

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Part B – The Advance of Libertarianism 

Pornography                    Illegal                                                         Legal. Available everywhere

                                                                                                                easy access even for children

Abortion                           Illegal. Only rare                                        Legal. Available on demand and

                                                    cases allowed                                               tax-funded (Canada)   

Homosexuality                Illegal                                                         Legal. Celebrated            

Gay Marriage                 Illegal                                                           Legal. Sanctioned by government

                                                                                                                    (in Canada and many other states)

Divorce                            Illegal/Difficult                                      Legal/Easy

                                 based on fault, abandonment                           Based on “no fault”

                                  insanity, spousal violence only                          Either spouse may trigger divorce

                               consent of both spouses req’d                            no consent of observant spouse req’d

Addictive Drugs              Illegal                                                           Legal for private use.  

                                                                                                                   State-supplied for addicts.

                                                                                                                Canada and many other nations

                                                                                                              now legalizing and tax-harvesting drugs

Transgendering              Illegal                                                           Legal, by choice &

                              Allowed for genetic mistakes only                      State-funded (Canada).    

 Prostitution                     Illegal                                                           Legal in brothels & redefined as                                                                                                                                    “sex work”


 

The Great Divide of The Western World

 This is the first Table that appears in The Great Divide: Why Liberals and Conservatives Will Never, Ever Agree (which you can see under “Books” on this website).

I had a little trouble formatting the spacing when I lifted it from the printed book, but each “Item” being contrasted is listed in bold. The text is sometimes double-spaced when it should be single-spaced, but it is still readable. I am going to publish a few more of the Tables from this book here soon.

 

                                                       Where Do You Stand?  

                                                On

      The Two Incompatible Narratives of Western Civilization

 

Item                     Enlightenment                                                              Counter-Enlightenment

                         (Roots of Modern liberalism)                                          (Roots of Conservatism)

 

Reason           Reason can perfect society               vs.           What reason can create, reason can destroy

Rights        Rights are natural, individual,                 vs.              Rights are a concrete achievement of

                 and inherent in all human beings                                a civilization

 Moral            Personal choice has priority               vs.                 The common good has priority

Foundation

 

 Human        Man is naturally benevolent & good       vs.      Man is weak, fallible, and self-interested

Nature       Because Man is good, society can be                  Man is by nature neither good nor evil,  

                   made good by Man.                                                but the historical record shows that

                                                                                                   when humans start forcibly engineering human 

                                                                                                   societies according to their abstract plan for

                                                                                                   perfection, the results are always evil.

                                                                                   

Politics         Main goal is to perfect society                 vs.      Main goal is to conserve and protect the good

                 Rousseau: A legislator must be capable                 Schemes to perfect society destroy what is

                 “of changing human nature.” Education,                  already good. Humans should not be objects

                 legislation, and changes to the human                    of manipulation by progressives

                  environment are the tools

 

Democracy    Democracy is universally good        vs.    .       Democracy is a tool, not a good in itself

                     

Equality           Inequalities and hierarchies             vs.                  Hierarchies and inequalities are natural

                         must be ended by force of law                                   in a lawful and free society.     

                        Inherited privilege must be ended

  

Freedom        Individual freedom is the priority.           vs.                   Social freedom is the priority.

                     Personal choice is paramount                                          The common good is paramount

 

Property         Property is the basis of inequality    vs.       Property is the basis of a free society

 

Economics    Wealth inequalities must be levelled     vs.        Levelling destroys wealth for everyone

 

 The State        Is a product of human Will,            vs.        Is a product of history and venerable custom 

                                                                      

Society     Is an aggregate of autonomous individuals        vs.        Is an organic communitarian body

                   

Sex             These are private, individual matters                vs.         These are of paramount public concern          

Marriage

&Divorce   

 

Preferred            Top-Down unitary organization              vs.           Bottom-up natural evolution

Method of           

Organization         

 

The Law     Preference for uniform Code Law                       vs.          Preference for an evolved common law                         

                             based on natural rights                                                based on natural law