O'NEILL: Harper and Tories must rein in government spending

FACE TO FACE: What don’t you like about the party you like?

Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is not an Option” tour may be bombing in the U.S. but its impact on the wow-o-meter is still several times that of the three major party leaders who are duking it out in this country’s federal election campaign.

Even so, the attack ads promulgated by the Conservatives and Liberals do seem to align with the win-at-all-costs ethos reflected in the latter half of the name of Sheen’s travelling circus. If only Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP leader Jack Layton would fire off a few violent torpedoes of truth, voters might be having some real fun.

Then again, Harper appears to have deliberately embraced the boring and the routine to show that a vote for the Conservatives is a vote for stability. Yawn. As much as I generally support the Conservatives and the job they’ve done in power (especially as opposed to what the Grits, NDPers and Greens would attempt to foist on the public), I must admit that their platform leaves me cold in at least two interrelated areas.

The first is the big one: government overspending. Yes, the Tories have promised — finally! — to eliminate the annual deficit but their plans say this won’t happen until the 2015-’16 fiscal year. Until then, the already massive federal debt, which stood at almost $600 billion this past Monday, will continue rising by a several dozen billion dollars a year.

There’s just one sensible way to reduce the deficit and that’s to reduce government expenditures. Those who argue for higher taxes should be trusted as much as you would trust a weepy aquatic reptile.

Another area of disappointment on the right is the Conservatives’ promise to continue doling out big bucks for climate-change initiatives. In fact, the Tories are planning on spending just under a billion dollars in the coming two years to fight global warming, even though there’s not a shred of evidence that the money has produced one iota of positive benefit.

My colleague has also employed his space to point out the ways in which the platform of his party of preference, the NDP, is deficient. Of course, sensible readers will see that these alleged shortcomings are, in fact, hints that the NDP hasn’t completely lost touch with Canadians.

• Read what Jim Nelson has to say here.

An award-winning journalist, a writer with Edmonton's Report Magazine and Toronto's Catholic Insight magazine, and co-host of RoadkillRadio.com, Face to Face columnist Terry O'Neill is a long-time Coquitlam resident who sits on the board of the Coquitlam Foundation and chairs the finance commitee of St. Joseph's Catholic parish.

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