OUR VIEW: Ottawa shifts burden onto next generation

We say: They’ll tighten their belt when it suits their purposes

Canada’s finance minister last week put the final exclamation mark on the legacy of the Me Generation. After saddling our children with a burgeoning debt and allowing tuition fees to climb to a level that puts post-secondary education out of reach for far too many Canadians, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said that those under 50 should not expect the same pension benefits enjoyed by their parents

Speaking at an event in Oshawa, Ont. Friday, Flaherty said any changes to Old Age Security won’t take effect until at least 2020. It is the ultimate profile in political cowardice. It is a move designed to shift the financial burden onto the next generation, thus mitigating the political risk of alienating Canada’s seniors and the political clout they wield.

Yes, Canada’s debt is reaching unsustainable levels. And yes, governments at all levels need to take action to bring spending under control. But the government has an obligation to look at all areas for potential cuts and a duty to investigate any possible new revenue sources. Most importantly, the government must ensure that the sacrifice is shared by those from all walks of life and all income levels.

But the Conservatives have kept any other trial balloons tethered tightly to the ground. Ottawa is still committed to spending billions on F-35 fighter jets for the Canadian military. Prime Minister Stephen Harper hasn’t backed off his support of Bill C-10 and the funding it will commit to the construction of more prisons. And when a group of politicians of all political stripes — backed by provincial health officers — called for changes to Canada’s  marijuana laws, the prime minister dismissed it out of hand.

The Conservative government has shown it is in no hurry to tighten its belt on issues it has an appetite for, only a willingness to stick the next generation with the tab.

– Black Press