In response to Roger Pratt’s comments on NDP and “coffee shops” that appeared in the May 29 edition of your paper (“NDP couldn’t run a coffee shop”), I would like to offer some clarification on the NDP and fiscal responsibility.
The Fiscal Reference Tables produced by the federal Department of Finance for 2008-09 showed that New Democratic governments in Canada produced budgets that were in surplus 51 per cent of the time covered by the report. The Conservative governments ranked second while Liberal governments placed a distant third at 30 per cent.
Included in the strong NDP record of fiscal management was the Romanow government of Saskatchewan that brought the province out of years of deep Conservative deficits.
As well, Manitoba under former premier, Gary Doer presented eight balanced budgets.
It is interesting to note that, according to Regina Leader-Post columnist, Murray Mandryk, the Saskatchewan Conservatives under Premier Grant Devine, ended up running the worst government in Saskatchewan’s history, one that left taxpayers with a $14 billion debt.
The Devine years also brought big scandals. According to a CBC op-ed of April 26, 2007, the first three ministers sworn in during 1982, Eric Bernston, Colin Thatcher and Bob Andrew all ended up convicted of criminal offenses. Thirteen MLAs were implicated in a scheme to syphon off caucus communication money for personal and political purposes. Eight were convicted and more than $800,000 of public money was involved.
On the other hand, when Tommy Douglas took office in 1944, Saskatchewan had a debt of $218 million — 38 per cent of provincial GDP. By 1949, he had reduced the debt to $70 million and by 1953, had eliminated it. By 1961, when he left office, he had produced 17 successive budget surpluses. By reducing the debt and thereby reducing costs, he was able to spend more on public services without raising taxes. (Globe and Mail – November 20, 2010).
I am sure that letter writer Mr. Pratt would agree that the NDP record is pretty impressive.
Southern Interior MP