Opposite thinking

In two days’ time, we will be into a new year. Having browsed “Facebook,” the thread line of messages being put out by friends is one of hope and well-being for the coming year.
The district is prospering with construction of a new gold mine. Meanwhile, new MP Don Rusnak and Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro remain optimistic that steam again will rise from the paper mill in Fort Frances.
Elsewhere, governments across Canada all are wondering, “What happened to all the good things that were making Canadians feel great about their country? And what undermined all of our good intensions?”
The Canadian economy stagnated at the end of the first quarter and did not seem to get any bounce for the remaining nine months. Unemployment has crept up, especially in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Oil and natural gas prices have plummeted to levels not seen in almost a decade. The value of the Canadian dollar has declined to levels last seen in 2004.
Manufacturing growth has not seen any lift with the lower value of the dollar and Canadian export values still are in a deficit.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, along with former premier Dalton McGuinty, have removed almost $39 billion from Ontario taxpayers to pay for their poor decisions about “green” energy.
The province’s debt has risen so that every Ontario taxpayer now is paying over $840 annually just in interest to cover it. The real surprise will come this spring when Ontario again becomes a “have” province and sees a decline in transfer payments from the federal government.
In Alberta, Rachel Notley of the NDP came to power with an activist agenda, making many changes in the operation of the province. The minimum wage was raised, corporate taxes were increased from 10 percent to 12 percent, and personal taxes also were hiked.
Albertans did not believe the Conservatives were telling the truth about the state of finance in the province and voted on the hope that Notley delivered.
It was only after the election, when oil had declined to less than $50 per barrel, with thousands of layoffs in the oil and gas sector, that the realization that the province was in fiscal difficulty and was going to run deficits for many years to cover the costs of the dreams she sold the Alberta electorate with.
“Sunny Ways,” meanwhile, have run into reality for Justin Trudeau, our new prime minister. He promised to bring in 25,000 refugees by the end of 2015, only to reduce that number to 10,000 in November.
Now his minister, John McCallum, again is revising the number by year-end while increasing the number of Syrian refugees coming to Canada to a total of 50,000 by the end of 2016.
In his campaign, Justin promised to bring home the CF-18 planes from the Middle East, then Canadian trainers had to call on the aircraft to protect their positions in an attack by ISIS.
Now Canadians are wondering if the new prime minister was acting with too much haste.
U.S. President Barack Obama may be hosting a state dinner for the new prime minister in March, but cancelling the Keystone pipeline ensured that only U.S. oil and gas will be shipped overseas.
The price of Canadian crude has been discounted ever since and the royalties that it delivered to the federal government have declined.
As the former prime minister kept telling the public, the cupboard was nearly bare. The Liberals never believed it and announced many spending initiatives. Now they need to borrow money to keep their promises.
And since meeting with the premiers, Prime Minister Trudeau now finds that they already are squabbling for more money for health care, infrastructure, education, and other provincial issues.
An astute businessperson prescribed creating great customer relations as “under-promising and over-delivering.”
Somehow many of our politicians believe the opposite is true.

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