Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On responsible government

With New Brunswick headed to the polls this fall, it's bound to be interesting to see what effect the election of the first NDP government in Nova Scotia might have on the party's fortunes elsewhere in Atlantic Canada. And the Telegraph-Journal notes that the New Brunswick NDP is making a strong push for popular support as the party of fiscal responsibility:
Roger Duguay is knocking on doors in his hometown of Tracadie-Sheila with a message: The New Democratic Party of New Brunswick will rein in the runaway spending of successive Liberal and Progressive Conservative governments.
Observers say the new focus could pay off as taxpayers look for a party to slay the province's growing deficits and debt load.

"I'm going door to door, talking with people about our position, and I'm finding more and more supporters," said Duguay, who has been credited with bringing new supporters under the NDP banner, including francophones and northern New Brunswickers.
Although the NDP's focus on balancing the books might seem out of character, Rob Moir said it's a return to the party's roots.

The UNB Saint John economics professor and a two-time federal NDP candidate said the focus on fiscal responsibility is true to the tradition of Tommy Douglas, former Baptist minister, premier of Saskatchewan, federal NDP leader, and father of universal public health care in Canada.

"Tommy Douglas (was) the first premier to stop deficit financing," Moir said. "From an economics point of view he knew that in order to bring in good jobs you need an educated workforce. If you want people to be at work and productive then they have to be healthy.

"These are investments we make as a society in part because they are the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, but also because it's just darn good economics," he said. "Taxpayers want a party that spends wisely and that's what the NDP represents."
Of course, it's worth adding in a reminder that the NDP's track record of fiscal responsibility has also been better than that of any other party in recent years - so the shift in New Brunswick is merely toward emphasizing that aspect of the party's hard-earned brand.

But in a province that's far too often served as a petri dish for corporatist policies that have never lived up to their billing, a strong emphasis on living within the province's means would seem to be a needed contrast. And with any luck, enough voters will agree to radically change the look of the province's politics this fall.

Update: And lest I forget, stop by the party's site to lend a hand.

No comments:

Post a Comment