25 April 2010

Strong. Proud. Determined. …or something like that.

For those who didn’t read Maxime Bernier’s speech that ruffled a few feathers in Quebec, Bernier posted the text on his blog.

The speech, titled “For a proud, responsible and autonomous Quebec”, includes tan idea people living an interventionist province – like Newfoundland and Labrador these days – ought to find provocative ideas:

And if we are poorer, it’s not the rest of Canada’s fault. It should be obvious enough that unbridled state interventionism does not lead to prosperity. If that were the case, Quebec would be the richest place in North America instead of being one of the poorest.

Many studies have shown that the less its government intervenes in the economy, the more prosperous a society becomes. The Fraser Institute regularly compares the economic situation in the provinces and states of North America and has found a direct correlation between the level of economic freedom and prosperity. An analysis of 23 OECD countries over a period of 36 years has also shown that economic growth is inversely proportional with government spending. For every additional ten percentage points of government spending as a proportion of GDP, economic growth is permanently reduced by one percent a year.

So, to repeat, the rest of Canada has nothing to do with the fact that we are poorer, as the bloquistes claim. We are poorer because of bad economic policies that made Quebec’s economy less productive; we are poorer because we live beyond our means instead of having responsible policies; we are poorer because the first reflex of much of our political class is to constantly beg for more money in Ottawa instead of taking the necessary decisions that would solve our problems and put our house in order.

Then there’s Max’s endorsement of subsidiarity as a new way to run a federal state.

Now maybe others have pushed that idea too, but the only name that comes readily to mind is Liam O’Brien, the local lawyer who is now a staffer in Ottawa.  Maybe Max and Liam have been having a few chats since max got himself turfed from cabinet.

In any event, the speech is readily available for those who care to read it.  And for what it’s worth note that here is a politician – a backbencher at that – who actually took the time to deliver a speech about the future of his province. 

Regardless of what Max plans for his political future, it’s a model others in this province could do well to follow. Then we might actually have a discussion of ideas instead of seeing the foolishness, nonsense, and just plain crap we’ve tended to get around these parts for the past seven years.