There is no honour greater than the Earth is Flat Award...

web posted January 1997

Lest our American friends think only Bill Clinton can wage class war and believe that only government can save humanity, a Canadian has stepped up to show that members of our government too can engage in it.

Fittingly, on Friday, December 13, Finance Minister Paul Martin addressed the national press gallery. During his address, Martin made several comments that raised my ire.

Martin in essence stated that a war is being waged between the goals of financial interests and the needs of society, and that governments had to act on behalf of society. Martin believes that Canadians want an activist government to counter the negative aspects of the free market.

Tax cuts proposed by the Reform Party and the Progressive Conservatives, Martin stated, would impair government’s ability to help society adjust to major economic shifts.

Now here’s the best line, and a direct quotation: "Governments have got to give themselves and their societies the capacity to adjust. That means that governments cannot beggar themselves financially. They cannot allow themselves to be taken over by market forces, which in fact operate in an exact contrary direction to the needs of Main Street." (my italics - Ed.)

Going on, Martin also stated, "They [governments] have to give themselves the financial strength and capacity to take decisions for the longer term good of society, not for the short-term good of the financial markets."

If the ideas expressed in those statements do not worry you, nothing will. Martin is, in essence, arguing for as much intervention in the economy as needed by government to promote whatever it feels it in the best interests of this undefined concept known as ‘society’. Martin is basically saying that sacrificing some people for the benefit of others is perfectly permissible, as long as the federal government thinks it okay.

So what are these so-called "negative aspects of the free market?" Martin doesn’t say, but he certainly did not mind the free market before entering public life. Is it that those of intellect succeed? Is it that the free market rewards those of competence?

Here’s some news for Finance Minister Paul Martin. Market forces operate in the manner that a nation allows them to operate. An interventionist government that penalizes freedom of action, such as our current federal government, creates an atmosphere of distrust of the marketplace and capitalism. It is government itself that is largely responsible for the fact that some do not have access to the free market. It is the policies of this government that makes the aims of "Main Street" and Bay Street at odds.

Here’s an award created by the free market Mr. Martin. A shiny Earth is Flat Award, and it’s nowhere near from Bay Street. Hope he does not regulate this as well.

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