Weekly Commentary  

Canada scores big

Wondering what the rest of the world is thinking about us? For reasons I don't pretend to understand, national media doesn't normally emphasize the positive.

Nobody's asking for special media treatment. It's just a reality that the negative gets maximized and the positive minimized. When new MP's grumble about that I tell them, “that's the way the world works, get used to it and get over it.”

There. Now I feel a little better. But I'd better switch my tone quickly before somebody accuses me of being negative.

Okay, interesting items you may not have seen this week. First, Prime Minister Harper made a big impact at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was reported (surprise!) that he got the most enthusiastic response of the day with his speech.

What did he say? One of his central themes was that despite the global recession governments have to start living within their means. That message definitely runs counter to a lot of the prevailing opinion. Many are saying governments should be cranking out more and more stimulus spending. Our position is that we need to be drawing up a road map to a balanced budget.

Yes, we deliberately took on some debt to accelerate a lot of infrastructure spending to mitigate the worst effects of the global recession. However, just as you can't let your household debt pile up indefinitely, governments can't borrow without consequences either.

The more we borrow, the more we owe the banker. Every loonie going to pay increasing compound interest is a loonie that can't be spent on essential services. That's why we're now switching gears and planning towards a balanced budget.

Our overall financial management has also caught the attention of more than government leaders. Last week an important announcement was made by the manager of one of the world's most successful and largest bond investment companies (by 'large' I mean a portfolio of over a trillion dollars). His managers control giant pension funds and other long term, institutional global investors.

Analyzing the world's economies, he proclaimed that he would be favouring investing in Canada over other countries. That announcement did not hit any Canadian newspapers' front pages that I am aware of. It should have. It's important that you have a balanced picture of how we're doing economically.

This was also a good week here in the constituency. The Olympic Torch relay lit us up wherever it went and this coming weekend the flame will continue to blaze in Merritt and Logan Lake.

I was also able to announce some vital projects such as funding for 12 more affordable housing units for the Penticton Indian Band. Then, in West Kelowna, Ron Cannan MP and I announced resources to 18 environmental and related groups. They will be working on a collaborative project aimed at preserving our long term local water supplies.

In keeping with my habit of letting you know where I am this week, here's my schedule. On Monday, during the day I was in the Lower Mainland. Monday was the dreaded 'red-eye' through the night to Toronto…meeting there in the morning with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and others on Budget preparation. Tuesday noon - fly to Ottawa for afternoon meetings.

Wednesday and Thursday - a variety of Ottawa meetings (early morning runs at 20 below, yuk). Friday - conference speaker in Penticton and meetings Friday and Saturday. Sunday - catch my breath.

Monday - back to Ottawa. To get in touch, we can meet when I'm home or call me through the office. Cheers!  

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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