Getting people back to work with higher-paying jobs is much better than paying people not to work, writes Jack Mintz in the Financial Post. Below is an excerpt from the article which can be read in full here.
By Jack Mintz, September 23, 2020
Here is a speech from the throne you won’t be hearing Wednesday.
Greetings, y’all Canadians. This speech from the throne event is becoming an annual event! It was only last year that I traipsed down this beautiful hall to sit on this ornate chair to deliver the intentions of my government for the upcoming session. Little did I expect that a virus from China would turn the world upside down, leading to an early proroguing of Parliament. You might think my government was avoiding its third ethical scandal, but it actually needed time to rethink its agenda to “build a better Canada.” So more personal days were needed.
I have to admit I was a bit jealous last year when I saw that the Queen gets to wear a beautiful imperial crown to deliver a normally pretty boring speech. This year, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn’t like the pomp and circumstance, so Queen Elizabeth just wore a simple dress with no crown. I no longer feel like a second-class Queen’s appointee, so I decided not to read the exact speech given to me by the prime minister. After all, having been in outer space, I know Canadians could use a little levity (hope you get the pun).
Let’s begin with a little history. Since last March, a lot of Canadians became sick. And those that didn’t get sick got scared that they would get sick, too. My government and the provinces had to lock down the economy to “flatten the curve,” so our beleaguered hospitals wouldn’t get overrun with sick patients.
To put this in nerdy economic lingo, this was a “supply shock,” as many people quit working and businesses closed down. People needed help, so my government took out the hosepipe and sprayed Canada with $20 bills with Queen Elizabeth’s picture on it (note to myself, I should get that changed). So much money was spent that personal incomes actually went up during the pandemic. After all, my government said that deficits don’t matter so it decided to rack up close to a $400-billion deficit. At almost a fifth of gross domestic product, it is one of the highest in the world.
Today, we are still managing the virus. The economy has not snapped back and probably won’t for a while. So what will my government do?