An Open Letter to Federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver

Community Opinion & Analysis Apr 3, 2014 at 8:49 pm

By Gregory Thomas, Federal Director

In January 2012, Finance Minister Joe Oliver made a name for himself, as then Minister of Natural Resources, when he published an open letter tackling what he called ‘radical groups’ with an ‘ideological agenda’ and ‘jet-setting celebrities’ who lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.”

Seeing as how his letter clearly got the attention of the Prime Minister — the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is paying Oliver the ultimate compliment, addressing the Minister (and let’s face it, Mr. Harper too) with another open letter. We hope the minister will forgive us for our plagiarism.

Dear Minister Oliver:

Canada is on the edge of an historic choice: to restore our federal government the traditional, focussed, efficient mandate written in the constitution by our nation’s builders or continue with the status quo.

Virtually all our vital social services and infrastructure are locally organized and delivered by the provinces. As a country, we strive to deliver access for Canadians to national and international markets for their skills, inventions and products. We strive to deliver security on our borders, our coasts, and internationally by honouring our treaty obligations to the community of democratic nations.

For our government, the choice is clear: we need to provide a stable currency and banking system, impartial courts to fairly administer justice, and sensible rules to facilitate the safe transportation of people and goods across provincial and international frontiers. We must provide a framework to safeguard the lives, the property, and rights of Canadians so they can pursue their dreams.

We know that increasing the bottom line on their paycheques will help ensure the financial security of Canadians and their families.
Unfortunately, there are ivory tower social engineers and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to raise the after-tax incomes, the net worth, the financial independence and the prosperity of Canadians. Their goal is to maintain and expand the size and the reach of the federal government no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost income and opportunity.

No income tax relief. No Employment Insurance payroll tax relief. No expanded Tax Free Savings Accounts. No reduction in the $618 billion federal debt.

These groups threaten to hijack our tax system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any opportunity they can find, stacking the public agenda with new ideas for spending and entitlements, pork-barreling and handouts to ensure that control of Canada’s economy is locked behind the security gates that bar everyday Canadians from accessing every federal government buildings. They use funding coerced from taxpayers to fund special interest groups handpicked by Ottawa to undermine Canadians’ best economic interests.
They attract ivory tower celebrities with some of the largest federal cultural subsidies in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our own independent natural human resources. Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to expand the size and reach of the federal government even further.

They do this because they know it can work. It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: tax Canadians to the point they become economically unviable without federal government handouts.

Anyone looking at the record of approvals for certain major federal programs, pork-barreling handouts and entitlements across Canada cannot help but come to the conclusion that many of these costly boondoggles have been funded with tax dollars for too long. In many cases, these — 700 and counting — programs cost billions upon billions of dollars to Canadians, yet they take years to be dismantled, due to the slow, complex and cumbersome federal Government budget process. And the core mission of the government of Canada is carried out ineffectively, or not at all.

For example, replacing our navy’s Sea King helicopters has taken nearly 30 years, with no success in sight. And yet more government employees work at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa than serve in the Royal Canadian Navy.

We believe delivering services within the federal government’s mandate can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion. We do not want Canadians who can work hard, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets, to die of old age before they see the tax relief they were promised in the 2011 election, and indeed since your government was first elected.

Unfortunately, the federal government seems to have lost sight of this over the past years. It is broken. It is time to take a look at it.
It is an urgent matter of Canadians’ best interests.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation