Big Spending Governments Need Some Private Sector Shock Therapy

By Preston Haskell

Isn’t government just wonderful? Just wonderful!

Preston Haskell

The only thing more wonderful is the myriad of government agencies all trying to outdo each other in their race to be the biggest spenders, best empire builders and the best at ballooning of their red ink.

Is there even one government agency that is not over budget? Is there even one government agency, including municipal, provincial and federal, that is not scrounging to satiate their appetite for more financial resources?

Our federal government alone has chalked up a $600 billion debt! To put it into perspective, that’s $17,ooo  for every Canadian citizen from cradle to grave or about $300,ooo per taxpayer.

Ontario has burdened its citizens with at least $17 billion not to mention the red ink of Ontario’s wonderful government agencies or the municipal debts. The preponderance of our provincial governments is in the same hole and still digging.

It’s as if we’ve learned nothing. Who’s we? We are the people that keep clamouring for our governments to do more, to spend more, to run our institutions, and with the assistance of sycophants, carpetbaggers, cling-ons, theorists and unions, to continue on our current course to the bitter end.

We are trapped in a system with no recall mechanism or any means to correct a mistake by voters.

If there is a reason to have just one thing from the private sector it has got to be to contract a private management company to replace government’s failed management team under the watchful scrutiny of responsible elected officials and with serious consequences for corruption.

Contracting out is not new to us! We do it (in Niagara, Ontario) with ‘Waste Management’.

Preston Haskell is a resident of Niagara, Ontario and a past contributor to Niagara At Large

 (We welcome you to share your views on this post. Please remember that we only post comments by people willing to share their real first and last names.)



16 responses to “Big Spending Governments Need Some Private Sector Shock Therapy

  1. Do it with waste management, but please do not do it with health care or education.


  2. US health care is privatized and as a result, a large percentage cannot afford health care. People are not products and health care should not be a profit making enterprise at the expense of lives.
    Two cousins of mine had identical surgery, one here, one in the US. Her statement was for $14,000. His surgery cost $62,000 in the US. This is a fact. The difference…private, for profit health care in the US. Talk about expense? That is one area where privatization MUST be avoided. US health care is great IF you can afford it.


  3. Dear Mr. Haskell:
    Do you know why there is so much red ink in Government programs nowadays? Canada USED to have a strong middle class paying taxes on income from high paying manufaturing jobs! North America was clearly a manufacturing powerhouse. We were the envy of the world! Then…slowly but inexorably…the private sector sent those high-paying jobs overseas and ‘hang the long-term consequences. Without writing a virtual book what is obvious to most of us, sir, it was the private sector and their unending lust for efficiency and, therefore, profit that got us INTO this mess IN THE FIRST PLACE! Lord defend us from people who think that Corporations handling what’s left of our tax base is the answer!!!


    • To Dave – Kudos! Hit the nail on the head. Private/Public and Capitalism/Socialism must be balanced. When one or the other gets out of control it can be disastrous.


  4. Dear Mr. Dave Draper,
    Please notice that I never mentioned anything in this article about education or health care yet Mr. Taliano and Linda McKellar seem to react as if it’s their specific Ox that was being gored. One minute they’re condemning health care and in the next they vociferously defend what they seem to believe is ‘superior health care’.
    Mr. Draper, it would appear that you missed my point completely! My point is that our dire financial situation was caused by and continues to be driven by ‘incompetent management’ of government. Perhaps you also missed my January 24, 2012 NAL article titled: Canada Doesn’t Need Corporations Like Caterpillar To Survive And Prosper
    I would like to point out that the title on this piece was not written or chosen by me.
    Sir, the private sector does not run our country! Where was government management when the private sector ‘slowly but inexorably… sent those high-paying jobs overseas’? I for one do not believe the word inexorably fits the situation because it means that it was inevitable and unavoidable for this to happen. Our government runs our country and it’s darn well time for them the do what they were elected and paid to do!
    ‘Without writing a virtual book, what is obvious’ to some of us, sir, is that it was and is Canada’s mismanagement team that allowed some in the private sector to act like depraved looters? The Caterpillar scenario proves that it is in our government’s purview to WORK TOWARD A STRONG PRIVATE SECTOR to provide the prosperity we NEED. You are correct in one thing. ‘Canada USED to have a strong middle class paying taxes on income from high paying manufacturing jobs! North America was clearly a manufacturing powerhouse. We WERE the envy of the world!’
    Now other countries are welcoming our corporations and are delighted to swipe our jobs to boost their prosperity, while our government prevaricates, dithers, quibbles, and generally beats around bush.
    Lord defend us from people who think that blaming or killing what’s left of our Corporations (manufacturing) for the ‘incompetent management’ emanating from our governments is ANY KIND of an answer.


    • My earlier response to this did not go through, so…Mr. Haskell re. the particular “ox to gore”, I speak of this “ox” because it is the one I know.When you have served your time working and observing in this area as long as I did you may perhaps comment with more knowledge. Others may speak no doubt re their areas of expertise. I feel your approach has been a little smug to say the least. You did not address the amazing difference in costs of identical surgeries. Perhaps this was done so selectively as it does not fit your economic and social theories. As with some who promote certain paradigms there is a tendency to cherry pick and avoid specific examples that contradict their point of view.
      If one complains about specific gov’t provided srevices one should perhaps stand by their principles by refusing these services. Perhaps one should cross the border to avail themselves of the supposedly superior services as supplied bythe private sector. For example, I do not go to Walmart because of their less than stellar employee relations record. Again, I speak of the “ox” I know.


  5. Huge corporations like Caterpillar are basically totalitarian in nature. We have empowered them through trade agreements etc. to such an extent
    that they basically call the shots. We don’t get to vote for the CEO’s. We accept their dictates or they leave, after first exploiting our country for technologies and market share etc.

    The cell phones that we use are made with what is almost slave labour in China. Workers do not have rights in China. They protest by jumping off the Fox Com roof. They can’t even do that anymore because of the nets that the company generously provided.

    Currently, Sinopec is plundering our tar sands out west, and they’re graciously accepting the subsidies that our seniors, and all taxpayers send them.How nice. Believe me, they don’t need a single tax break. Not one. They overpay because they can. And if people are concerned about corruption, the story of our addiction to petrol can provide many examples.


  6. Mr. Haskell,

    Part of the problem is that they are not OUR corporations. As I pointed out earlier, relative to other countries, we own very few of them.

    I mentioned health care because it ties in with corporate issues. The for-profit insurance industry (yes, corporations) would love to feed at the trough and further undermine our healthcare. Already, it’s a multi-tiered system. We need to defy corporate inroads into health care. I too believe that a public health care crisis (or shock) has been created or enabled to pave the way for private incursions. If private companies continue to plough into health care as they have done in the states, the 99% will pay dearly, not only in terms of dollars, but also, and especially, in terms of diminished health outcomes.


  7. Mr. Taliano, you are getting close to being correct in you premise with at least one exception.
    You state that: ‘WE have empowered them through trade agreements etc. to such an extent
    that they basically call the shots’.
    Can you please explain how WE THE PEOPLE managed to do that?


  8. “WE THE PEOPLE”. Isn’t that an American preamble? Figures.
    As Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”. I agree, and am a firm supporter of the democratic system. However, it’s not a perfect system. It has always had one stubborn flaw. About 2,500 years of history has shown that in a democracy, or any other system for that matter, the rich and powerful get listened to first…and almost always get their way! Can you figure out why that happens? It’s a real mystery to me! But…’perception is reality’, and if you percieve the average citizen’s vote as having the same weight as the interests of the buisnesses that are funding all of the political campaigns in this country (not to mention providing ‘perks’) then…..let no man tell you that democracy is flawed.


  9. Dear Dave Draper,
    It was stated by Mr. Taliano that we (as in the people) empowered them (corporations). So I asked if he could please explain how WE THE PEOPLE managed to do that. Does ‘Figures’ indicate a lack of respect for me as a commenter or a general dislike of anything American? Perhaps you could enlighten us on which country you might prefer to be on our southern border?
    You are right on the money regarding democracy and also the quote by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Churchill also stated this: ‘I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle’.
    Dave, many people understand that the rich and powerful are relatively few in numbers whereas the voters are many. The influence of special interest groups happens because the voter falls for the cleaver rhetoric proffered by successive governments and backed by big money from various interest groups.
    You claim that businesses are funding ALL of the political campaigns but you leave out labor and other special interest groups. Why? Big business has no more influence over government than that of big labor, big bureaucracy, political ideology, and even religion. That’s why we have political parties of disparate political ideology.
    However the argument happens to go, or whoever is to blame, the fact remains that those we have elected and/or hired are failing us. They’re selling us out in the name of expediency and, no doubt, for wealth and power.
    Our lying, cheating, secrecy laden governments have us dancing at the end of their puppet strings and will continue to do so if we don’t smarten up!


  10. As an afterthought, I do not totally disagree with you Mr. Haskell in SOME regards. The problem is neither private nor public services but the greed and mismanagement of those in charge of providing them. “We the people” as has been said are responsible for the failure of ANY system because we do not monitor them as required. Let’s face it, all politicians and big time business people are not in their positions out of sheer altruism and the average man/woman on the street is too lazy to bother being informed until the results of their apathy bite them in the ass.


  11. Mr. Haskell,

    I use “we” when I’m referring to Canadians, since “we” are Canadians. To some degree, we all share some complicity in what is or isn’t happening, because we’re Canadians. It’s also more diplomatic as well.


  12. Ok, I think we’ll be cut off, part of the problem is these huge media conglomerates like SUN Media. SUN media is a huge corporation that benefits from a corporate agenda. SUN media propogates disinformation, also known as lies. Democracy suffers when we are bombarded by lies. Imagine a person working all day and coming home to read the paper. Let’s say he/she likes The Sun, or whatever it’s called. If that is all he or she is exposed to, they will likely adopt some of the right wing views. Similarily if they watch corporate TV. I’m not maligning anyone on this site, and this is not a reflection of anyone’s intelligence, because intelligence has nothing to do with it. And Dave or Doug may not even allow this comment. But newspapers owned by the SUN i.e The Tribune perpetrate the lie, yes the lie, that human-caused global warming is some kind of myth. That is a dangerous lie. It’s like George Bush saying that the Iraq invasion had something to do with terrorism or Weapons of Mass Destruction. That too was a dangerous lie. So democracy suffers, and in the case of Canada, it has a lot to do with unchecked corporate power. If people respond to this, please be civil, no name-calling etc. Rudeness will get us nowhere. Anyways, as citizens we have a certain responsibility to our democracy, and this corporate agenda, as an example, needs to be vigorously addressed. If it isn’t, we are, at least to some degree, complicit in some of our democratic deficits.


  13. Right Mark. We are all to blame because we are ALL greedy and very few of us can be bothered to look beyond our own self interests. Fighting about which sector is to blame is absurd. WE ARE LETTING IT HAPPEN! Rather than argue, we must cooperate. Big business and big gov’t have always known how to divide and conquer. That is why they are in control and not us. In the sentence “our lying, cheating, secrecy laden governments” could just as easily read “our lying, cheating, secrecy laden corporations have us dancing at the end of their puppet strings”. Siding with one while ignoring the other is done at our peril.


  14. I think we have to get to the bottom of what caused this huge deficit; certainly not the working class or the impoverished, yet it is going to be the working class and impoverished who are going to pay for this deficit through higher taxes and reduced services. Large corporations and wealthy individuals benefited for quite some time by falling tax rates while doing nothing in return. Maybe we need to send them the bill.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.