The Myth of Financial Prudence

KAMLOOPS — Quite often, after writing a column about the foibles of a particular political party (more often than not the BC Liberals simply because they provide a wealth of column-worthy material) I see a comment that goes something like…

‘I agree they are not the best and have their faults but given the alternative, I’ll hold my nose and vote for those Liberals.’

Or another favourite, ‘Look what they (being the NDP) did the last time they were government!  We can’t afford that again.’

First off, I think holding your nose and voting for a party that you know or at least feel (listen to that inner voice) a certain degree of distrust for, is the worst possible reason to vote for anyone. Imagine how that would work in other aspects of your life.

Would you pick a new car based on a similar set of conditions? Your online research has shown this car has been in a number of accidents, has the worst safety record in its class and will likely cause injury to your family. Despite all that knowledge are you really going to fall for all that fake plastic chrome?

It doesn’t work does it? Yet somehow we are willing to give someone our vote despite knowing full well that it is a bad choice.

Some seem to rationalize their decision by pointing out how bad the other guy is. ‘Look what they did the last time they (in this case the NDP) were government,’ they cry. ‘They made horrible decisions and mortgaged our souls and our future through spending sprees and massive debt.’

I hear this so often, where fact is replaced by an obsessive devotion to a party line and repeated so often as to have a feeling of truth to it. Donald Trump is a master of this type of deception. Yet it is only a mantra, an attempt to deflect and relieve one of any desire to verify or question.

Take this debt thing. The real facts show BC’s debt will exceed $66 billion for 2016. That’s a significant per-capita debt of $13,942. And the numbers surprise those who thought the past 16 years were all about balanced budgets with no debt.

By comparison, after four years of NDP, our debt had gone from $29.3 billion to just under $34 billion in 2001, working out to $8377 for every man, woman and child in BC.

Debt service alone is now costing us $245.5 million a month or $2.9 billion a year.  If you want to worry about something, imagine what that will cost when interest rates go up.

The numbers suggest claims of fiscal mismanagement during the NDP’s term as government are not necessarily founded in fact or even subjected to a comparative analysis by many.

So why, when just a few keystrokes on Google will provide real data, do commenters and some editorialists persist in supporting and even promoting fiscal folklore?

Bestowing financial prudence upon a party should not be founded upon myth. It is either real or it is not and, despite my biases, the facts I’m using in this column come from no other than the BC Liberal government.

Prudence, not imprudence, should be the hallmark of those you elect to govern. You can question and investigate the choices you are considering for MLA or, like sheep, you can do what they have always told you to do.

I recommend you take the lead and consider being a self-directed voter. The numbers used in this column took me less than three minutes to find online. It is so easy to do, so why not put the party brochures away and go online? Google your questions, concerns and suspicions and take back control of your decision.

The writ has dropped and it is so easy and so tempting to simply follow the instructions of the ones with the big empty smiles.

In less than 30 days, you get to decide what you believe is right or alternatively be told what to believe in and given instructions on how to act and obey.

Do you want to be the sheep or the Border Collie?