It’s bad enough that the BC Liberals continue to use taxpayer money to feed us propaganda about the state of B.C.’s economy, our job growth relative to other provinces, and the supposed benefits of natural gas to BC’s bottom line. They’re now going to further insult our intelligence by delivering a “balanced” budget for 2013 in advance of the May election.
The Feb. 19 budget will be subjected to minimal scrutiny and will not be passed into law before the May election. The governing party can say whatever they want about how they’ll balance the budget because they won’t be held accountable to that budget — whether they win the election or not.
The pre-election budget will be the ‘big lie’ that best fits the government’s political propaganda needs. In this case, the Liberals are still trying to claw back the conservative vote, so they hope to appeal to the fiscal prudence of these particular voters with a “balanced” budget.
Recall that during the last election we saw a budget with a projected deficit of under half a billion dollars, no new taxes, and the promise that B.C. would weather the 2008 financial collapse. After the election, the deficit was over two billion dollars, the Liberals introduced the HST, and we’ve deficit financed ever since!
As long as the fixed election date is in mid-May, regardless of who’s in power we’ll get a propaganda budget every four years. The failure to protect the budget from crass political manipulation every four years dramatically undermines our ability to govern ourselves over the long term in any meaningful way.
This practice must stop. We must change the fixed election date to the fall and ensure that the election year budget is real, debated, and passed into law, so that all political parties have to work from the same, scrutinized set of numbers when they make their election promises.
Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.