© MMXIX V.1.0.5
By Morley Evans
This compilation of Saskatchewan's annual budgets disproves everything with which the NDP and the Progressive Conservative Parties were obsessed. They hated it and me.
THE GRAPH TELLS THE STORY. The numbers are data taken from the Public Accounts published each year by the Government of Saskatchewan. They were checked and double-checked. The graph indicates that the spending was low when the New Democratic Party assumed power and that the Budgets were balanced. When the Progressive Conservative Party was elected, spending increased year-by-year at the same rate as it had during the NDP years. The Grant Devine PC government started borrowing to maintain the increases. Towards the end of its first term, the PC government began reducing its borrowing. The white area in the graph is debt. Taxes were increased to compensate. Spending continued increasing year-by-year. Subsequent Public Accounts no longer make it possible to create such a diagram. Obfuscation to hide the record is the name of the game.
Political parties always believe they are better managers of the affairs of state than their opponents. In Saskatchewan, the NDP (formerly the CCF) believe in government ownership and bureaucracy to manage everything the government owns. If that sounds like Marxism-Leninism, that is what it is. The Liberal Party and Saskatchewan Party (formerly the Progressive Conservative Party) believe in "private enterprise" and individual ownership as they understand it. They don't.
Saskatchewan people are deeply divided on ideological grounds.
The NDP pointed out that spending was low and there was no debt when Allan Blakeney started in 1971. That was true. They began with the fiscal house left in good order by Ross Thatcher and his Liberal government. The NDP immediately began spending more. Spending is popular; taxation and debt are unpopular. The PC governments continued the spending trend, borrowing to do it. The NDP screamed about service reductions and later about "privatization" when the PCs tried that.
Screaming and shouting embroiled the people of Saskatchewan for decades following the CCF victory in 1944. Tommy Douglas held onto power with an iron fist. Hatred was fierce. This civil war ended in 1991 when people had finally had enough. Things are quieter today, but the rift is deep. No one wants to open old wounds. However, Medicare looms. It will be dealt with one way or the other like it or not.
Can the acceleration of government spending continue? Who knows? I'm exasperated by politicians, myself.