Charlie Mayer, a cabinet minister under prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Kim Campbell, wrote in the National Post last week that, in contrast to the Liberals who in 1984 bequeathed a $37-billion budget deficit to the incoming Progressive Conservatives, the Conservatives when they relinquished power in 1993 left the incoming Liberals with a lower deficit.
He didn’t say how much that difference was.
That was probably a good thing because it would have destroyed his argument.
From what I could glean from an Internet search, the deficit actually increased a tad, to $39 billion, under the Mulroney government.
Mayer was responding to an editorial in the National Post that posed the question of whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals will follow former prime minister Jean Chrétien’s example when he balanced the budget.
“Let’s hope they don’t,” Mayer said, “as there is a right and a wrong way to do things.
“The wrong way is to make someone else pay for it, which is precisely the approach that Chrétien and his finance minister, Paul Martin, adopted,” he said. “Their cuts to transfer payments, particularly for health care, averaged 24 per cent between 1995 and 1998, leaving debt as their largest provincial transfer.”
I agreed with him up to that point. Although Martin did balance the budget after the Liberals regained power, I too thought he did it on the backs of the provinces who in turn passed on some of the pain to municipalities.
Mayer said the Conservatives got to an operating surplus by cutting programs, privatizing or dissolving Crown corporations and cutting 90,000 government jobs.
The operating surplus to which he refers, of course, did not include debt servicing costs, that little thing called interest.
That was what brought about the deficit figure of $39 billion, some suggest it was as high as $41 billion, that the Conservatives left for the Liberals to clean up.
And that is comparing apples to apples, rather than the apples to oranges scenario Maher painted when he didn’t include interest payments in comparing the deficits each party left the other.
I am surprised the National Post wouldn’t have checked out this bit of revisionist history..
Although I think Algoma Public Health is doing a good job of informing us of any new cases of COVID-19 in Algoma, I would prefer a better breakdown of where the 21 positive tests are in the Algoma District rather than simply the four areas it lists – Central and East Algoma, Elliot Lake and Area, Central and East Algoma and Sault Ste. Marie and area.
The newsman in me would like more specifity but so, considering the dangers inherent in this virus, does the resident of the area that I happen to be.
I see a lot of people in stores without masks and I have to wonder if they knew a little more about the virus that is obviously within the community, although far from rampant at the moment, that they might pay a little more attention to the safety of themselves and others.
According to the APH website, “Central and East Algoma includes: Blind River, Bruce Mines, Hilton, Hilton Beach, Huron Shores, Jocelyn, Johnson, Mississauga First Nation, Plummer Additional, St. Joseph, Tarbutt and Tarbutt Additional, The North Shore, Thessalon, Thessalon First Nation;
“Elliot Lake and Area includes: Elliot Lake, Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, Serpent River First Nation, Spanish;
“North Algoma includes: Dubreuilville, Michipicoten First Nation, Missinabie Cree First Nation, Wawa, White River;
“Sault Ste. Marie and Area includes: Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, Laird, Macdonald, Meredith and Aberdeen Additional, Prince, Sault Ste. Marie.”
I asked Leo Vecchio, manager of communications at APH, about the release of information as to where the virus was striking.
“APH’s reporting method balances the need to give residents accurate and meaningful information, as well as our obligation to follow provincial privacy laws and use best practices when reporting health information publicly,” Vecchio said in his reply.
“In the beginning, when there were only a handful of cases across the district, APH reported the numbers at the level of the entire Algoma district. As numbers increased, we were able to report by sub-regions, and we did that.
“Whenever there is risk of exposure like evidence of community transmission, we do communicate that information as part of our public service announcement.”
I don’t think there is any problem with privacy laws in regard to pinpointing where COVID-19 is popping up as I am not suggesting anyone be named, just the actual community in which the virus has shown its ugly presence.
And I note in the latest media release regarding COVID-19, APH took a step back in telling us that an Algoma District resident has tested positive. No mention of one of the four areas.
It is not known how the person, who is self-isolating, caught the virus.
As of this writing on Saturday, May 23, 6,202 tests have been administered in the Algoma District, with 21 coming out positive and 348 results pending.
Of the four areas, community spread has taken place only in Sault and Area. Of the 17 COVID-19 cases in this area, it doesn’t tell us how many occurred through community spread rather than being brought in by someone who travelled.
I have one other suggestion for APH. On its main page in regard to the virus, it update its total. As of this writing it is still carrying the information about the 13th positive test which was way back on April 25.