Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Gwyn Morgan: tough decisions needed to update Canada's fiscal house

Op-ed by Gwyn Morgan: Tough decisions needed to update Canada's fiscal house.
Well before the election, the Harper government was working on becoming more efficient through a strategic review process requiring each ministry to reduce costs by a mandatory 5 per cent. This push to greater efficiency needs to be taken further, through more efficient, lower-cost private contractor provision of government services. And Ottawa should follow the private sector’s lead by converting public service pensions from open-ended defined-benefit plans to defined-contribution programs that include significant employee contributions.

Along with becoming more efficient, governments need to become smaller. In terms of social programs, this means reducing the number of people receiving government support. The universality paradigm must be replaced to focus dollars on those who actually need help. Why insist on paying benefits for the well-to-do? This logic should be applied to all social programs, but first priority should be health care, where rapidly rising costs are ravaging federal and provincial budgets.

The Canada Health Act should be amended to allow Canadians to purchase health insurance and to seek treatment either through the universal publicly financed system or at user-pay private clinics, the same freedom enjoyed by citizens of every other developed country.

The op-ed doesn't mention tax increases, which is interesting. Usually, if you're trying to close a fiscal gap, you would use both spending cuts and tax increases.

Harper attempted to appoint Morgan to head a new review board for patronage appointments back in 2006, but Morgan was rejected by Parliament. Harper then cancelled the board.

Maclean's profile from 2003, noting Morgan's skepticism on global warming.

Morgan also heads Christy Clark's transition team.

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