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The right moves
Calgary Sun ^ | October 17, 2004 | Paul Jackson

Posted on 10/17/2004 4:49:42 AM PDT by Clive

Former Ontario premier Mike Harris may have put it best in saying the entrenched and vested interests in our society don't like change because it threatens their safe status quo.

Makes them nervous.

Gets them confrontational.

And weak governments, like bureaucracies or unions, don't like uneasy voters because it threatens their own status quo.

That's even though innovative change brings new efficiencies and rewards for everyone down the line.

Or perhaps it was Conservative Leader Stephen Harper who said it best in recalling that exactly 30 years ago Pierre Trudeau had regained power and stifling government was encroaching everywhere with wage and price controls, higher taxes on gasoline, big spending and big deficits.

No one thought of an era of booming free trade and consumer goods crossing borders from all regions of the world.

A free market was not on the agenda.

Hard to say who said it best -- for this was a night of political stars.

Just 30 years ago, the Fraser Institute was formed, and today its ideas of smaller government and more personal responsibility, which means more personal freedom of choice, have swept not only our own country but nations around the world.

From small beginnings -- in an age when many thought government had all the answers -- the institute's list of researchers has grown to 350 authors in 22 countries with six of them being awarded Nobel Prizes.

Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman himself called the Fraser Institute "a remarkably influential think tank."

So, when 1,200 guests gathered at the downtown Hyatt Regency Hotel in Calgary this past week to help celebrate the institute's 30th birthday, there was a lot of celebrating to do.

Premier Ralph Klein was on stage, so was Reform party founder Preston Manning, former Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay, and right-wing guru Tom Flanagan, too.

Klein suggested the entire success of his government and the economic marvel of Alberta is due to the province following the philosophy of the institute and its guiding light over those three decades, the eminent Michael Walker.

Manning, like Harris, a senior fellow at the institute, proclaimed the institute's "core values" were the same core values as those of his Reform party, which certainly shifted Canadian politics.

He recalled when Walker and his aides first started talking about governments having to live within their means they were mocked and ridiculed and the greatest slur of all -- "extremists" was thrown at them.

Thirty years afterward, every government in the world knows it must live within its means -- balance budgets, eliminate deficits and keep taxes low.

That even goes for Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal government which today boasts about its fiscal responsibility.

Manning, in championing the success of the institute's drive for smaller government and greater grassroots democracy, cautioned the institute's great challenges are not over.

Noting the words "conservation" and "conservatism" come from the same root, he said it is conservative forces today that will have the job of ensuring we have fresh air and water and a livable environment for future generations.

That may make the Lib-Left gag -- but I'm betting it will be think tanks such as the Fraser Institute and the free enterprise sector that will ensure our environment is not only protected, but enhanced.

Manning aptly tagged this "green conservatism."

Yet, despite the accolades we were warned this is not the time to relax in the fight for more personal freedom.

Harris, whose "common sense revolution" changed the face of Ontario, actually conceded if he made one error it was in not moving fast enough to get his province back on track.

Today, despite the victories that have been achieved in loosening the reins of government, the entrenched vested interests are still fighting back.

That was surely evidenced by health czar Roy Romanow who, given a chance to recommend the private sector be given a role in ending our medicare woes, "squandered an opportunity" and took the "easy way out" -- capitulating to the status quo again -- ensuring health care costs will continue to rise as waiting lists continue to get longer.

That said, Walker himself deemed that yes, slowly but surely, the "battle of ideas" is being won.

An exhilarating night for all.

TOPICS: Canada; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government

1 posted on 10/17/2004 4:49:42 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Great Dane; Alberta's Child; headsonpikes; coteblanche; Ryle; albertabound; mitchbert; ...


2 posted on 10/17/2004 4:50:04 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Clive

"Just 30 years ago, the Fraser Institute was formed, and today its ideas of smaller government and more personal responsibility, which means more personal freedom of choice, have swept not only our own country but nations around the world. "

This man needs to get out of Alberta more often. The vast majority of Canada is firmly in the column of NO personal freedom of choice and ABSOLUTELY no personal responsibility. What Canadians are in favour of is "Gimmee other people's money, gimmee more more more." And in Ontario we have just been saddled with a law outlawing the ownership of pit bulls and the promise of a law outlawing smoking in personal automobiles, but a local family who tortured and brutalized their adopted children for 13 years received 9 months in prison "because they had issues ... they were not sadists ... the mother was OBESE ... they didn't mean it." And a local judge tried desperately to convince a man who had committed 10 crimes NOT to go back to prison after his 11th crime.

Canada is being run by 8 year olds who get all their information from cartoons.

3 posted on 10/17/2004 5:54:20 AM PDT by KateatRFM
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