“Truth can never be told so as to be understood,” William Blake (1757 – 1827).
Premier Campbell told his high priced deputy of communications to pack up her office stuff. Irene Chanin was sent home wondering what went wrong. It seems that the premier didn’t like the way that she was getting the Liberal message out.
It can’t be that hard. I’ll explain the Liberal’s plan for free.
The plan is to reduce spending on health, schools, and other public services to the point that they don’t really work very well any more. Once people become sufficiently disillusioned with public services, they will be clamouring for the private sector. That will send profits where they belong – – into the pockets of the wealthy.
It’s already working. “I’m ashamed of our medical system,” said Kamloopsian Kimberly Wirsig as she held her sobbing little boy. She had waited for hours at the Royal Inland Hospital for her son to be treated. Like many Canadians Wirsig has come to depend on, and take pride in, our health care system.
So you might ask, how will the thousands of unemployed in B.C. be able to afford to pay for private health care and education? The Liberal plan is that they will have get a job like the rest of us and stop freeloading from the public trough. Either that, or settle for second rate public service.
How, you persist, will people get a jobs in a market where thousands of workers have been laid off and unemployment is greater than 10 per cent? OK, so I don’t have all the answers.
Campbell needs a powerful communicator. He needs a minister of Truth who will explain that black is white, that the rich need more money, and the condition of the poor is improved by reducing wages.
“Facts are lies,” the minister of Truth will say. So don’t believe Statistics Canada figures that show that B.C. already has the wealthiest citizens in Canada. The average annual income was $251,235 in 1999, higher than Alberta by 6 per cent and Ontario by 13 per cent. We also have close to the poorest, second only to the Atlantic provinces.
“The way to reduce poverty,” the minister of Truth will say, “is by giving more money to the rich.” The rich, in their benevolence, will allow a few crumbs to fall from their table to the poor at their feet.
The collapse of the darling of free enterprise, Enron Energy, will not disrupt Liberal plans to privatize public health, education, hydro electricity, and insurance. “Greed and fear, which drive free enterprise, are stronger motivations than the feeble sentiments of community and fairness that drive our public systems,” the minister of Truth will say.
Enron Energy encouraged its 12,000 employees to invest lifetime earnings in the company. As soon as the corporate owners knew that Enron was about to collapse like a house of cards, they cashed in more than $1 billion shares and the employees lost everything. All Americans lost, through pension funds and investments, in the largest bankruptcy in history.
The Minister of Truth will use words like “choice” and “efficiency” to explain Liberal ideology. “In a free society,” the Minister of Truth will say, “shouldn’t individuals have the right to choose between health care providers? And how can you have choice if there is only one public provider?”
While the marketplace can provide low prices for some goods and services, like groceries and haircuts, the motivation is profit, not public good. Public service enterprises work best when there is a government regulated monopoly. It doesn’t make sense, for example, to have two hospitals side by side so that patients can chose between them.
The Minister of Truth will tell us that the Liberals will find inefficiencies in health care. But we already have an efficient system. The only “efficiency” to be found is in wage reduction. The lowest paid health care workers are the ones who will suffer through contracting out of laundry and cleaning.
The Liberals will extract profit from our public services and call it choice. They will reduce the wages of the working poor and call it efficiency. They will say that charity is only justifiable when it is applied to the rich.