The secret to prosperity is public service.
Studying underdeveloped countries makes one thing clear: the cause of most of the problems in these countries is corruption. When people act in their own self-interest, almost nothing works in a country. Bureaucratic barriers that add time and cost are put in place creating incentives to pay bribes. Money that would provide services and infrastructure is stolen. Investment and business creation are lower, there are fewer jobs, crime is higher, and people are poor and unhealthy.
When government acts in the public interest everything works better. There is efficient and accountable taxation and spending, investment and business creation are high, there is low unemployment, low crime, and people are healthy and prosperous.
The only thing that can prevent government corruption is involvement in politics by the people. Political parties are charities, and, like charities, they only work if they get donations and volunteers.
There are very few charities in underdeveloped countries due to lack of volunteers and donations. In most small towns in Canada there are service organizations such as Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, and Legions. These organizations work to solve problems and make their communities better. Underdeveloped countries are lacking in this civic-minded spirit. Prosperity and well-being result from simple cause and effect: if you don’t have people working to solve problems you will keep having problems.
A story of two countries will show why public service is essential to eliminating corruption and building a strong and corruption-free country. In country A, people volunteer in political campaigns, in country B, people only look out for their own interest. The problem of government corruption sets in when too few people are willing to volunteer and is worst when everyone wants to free-ride and no one wants to volunteer to serve their country.
Imagine you live in country B and you are the only volunteer who shows up to help in the campaign of a people’s candidate. It is immediately obvious that you cannot win with only one volunteer. Without volunteers, the only way to win is to have money to hire campaign workers and to pay for promotion. So, you try to raise the money from members of the public, but you come across the same problem: everyone wants better government, but no one wants to donate.
The only option left is to seek funding from people who have an interest in your candidate getting elected, but it will only be in their interest if they get a benefit that they would not otherwise get from a government treating everyone fairly and equally. The only way to provide such benefits is go against the rule of law and against the principle of equal treatment under the law, and this is where the corruption begins.
You and your candidate only want what’s best for your country and now realize that you want nothing to do with this kind of politics, so you give up and go home leaving the field to some of the worst kinds of people who will do whatever it takes to gain power.
This is how government becomes corrupt: lack of volunteers from the public to get a government elected that will work in the public interest. Then, government falls into the hands of special-interest groups, corporations and criminals who want special benefits for themselves.
Now imagine you live in county A and there are lots of volunteers for the people’s candidate and lots of individual donations. There is no need to seek the support of self-interested individuals and groups. You can win with the support of the people alone. The only responsibility of your candidate is to the people, and since the people want everyone to be treated fairly and equally that is exactly what your candidate will have to do.
Continuing active involvement and interest by the people after the election will keep your elected representative accountable and uncover any corruption, incompetence and inefficiency. Again, benefits will result from simple cause and effect: people are paying attention to the problems and working to make things better, so things will get better.
Canada has been a country A. Well documented declines in civic engagement have caused our country to slide down into the A minus and B plus range. We are experiencing greater corruption as our tradition of public service has been eroded. For decades our society has promoted selfishness instead of service. This must change if we want to avoid sliding backward still further and becoming more and more like an underdeveloped country.
We must strive to make Canada an A+ country. Now, people are awakening, and we are beginning to recover our spirit of public service. To succeed, we need to participate in government, and we need to serve our country.
The establishment of the People’s Party of Canada offers Canadians a unique opportunity. The People’s Party was founded on the principle of serving the interests of the Canadian people. This can only be achieved if the people of Canada make it a true people’s party – and keep it a true people’s party – through active participation and support by the people.
Public service is based on the principle of loving your neighbor as you love yourself. This is the foundation of personal salvation, and it’s the foundation of the salvation of nations. We must love all and serve all. With love, and with service, we can rise out of darkness. It is not too late.
The People's Party just hit 3.1% on the CBC Poll Tracker, the first time the party has touched the 3% mark. This follows recent unpopular actions by Scheer’s Conservatives which prompted some CPC supporters to defect to the PPC. It also follows the announcement of the first People's Party candidates across the country.
Poll results will continue to rise as Maxime Bernier continues to release his policy platform, especially if Scheer and Trudeau continue to stumble.
Recent policy announcements by Scheer fell flat for many observers.
Scheer also dismissed Conservative MP Michael Cooper from a House of Commons committee for exercising his right to free speech and refused to accept Salim Mansur as a CPC candidate. Both actions were unpopular among many Conservative supporters.
Meanwhile, Trudeau became less articulate than ever with his instant classic “drink box water bottle sort of thing,” overshadowing whatever announcement he was trying to make that day.
People's Party candidates will become increasingly active campaigning over the coming weeks. There will also be more candidate and policy announcements, leading up to a party conference in Ottawa on the weekend of August 17 and 18.
By that time, the PPC should have candidates and riding associations in all 338 ridings across the country. The conference will be both a celebration of this accomplishment and a launch for the PPC campaign, leading to the federal election two months later.
It looks increasingly likely that the PPC will be able to reach 5% in the polls by the end of August, just one year after Bernier left the Conservatives. This will be an unprecedented accomplishment in Canada, where other parties have languished with less support for decades.
5% will also be a psychological tipping point. Unlike the United States, which has an almost unending election cycle, most campaigning in Canada is done within a few weeks of the election. If the People's Party can reach such a high level of support even before the writ is dropped, they will have a good chance of making strong gains during the election period. Causing more supporters of other parties to shift their vote to the PPC, and putting the People’s Party within striking distance of victory on 21 October.
It was 10 years ago that Dambisa Moyo, in her book “Dead Aid”, recommended a 5 year plan to eliminate the dependence of African countries on foreign aid. Today Canadian aid spending is still growing, increasing from $5.6 billion in 2017 to $6.1 billion in 2018. This spending has nothing to do with development aid being good for Africa, and has everything to do with who benefits here in Canada.
In addition to the billions spent by our federal government, private aid agencies raise money directly from the Canadian public. To do that they spend on ads. The legacy media, already starved for money, is not likely to criticize one of their biggest sources of ad revenue. World Vision Canada and Plan International, two of Canada’s biggest international aid charities, together spent $85 million on fundraising in 2018.
Private contractors and private aid organizations are allocated funding from our federal aid budget. These companies and charities have an interest in lobbying the government to continue this funding. They also have an interest in seeing governments favorable to foreign aid increases get reelected.
This is dangerous combination for our democracy: private organizations with influence over the media receiving government money to fund their programs, then spending part of that money on lobbying the government for more money and influencing the media.
Governments that increase aid spending expect to get support in the form of votes at election time. This amounts to wasting taxpayer money on programs that harm foreign nations so that political parties can buy votes. The media and private aid agencies are happy to rally support for these policies and governments since this is an important source of their revenue.
The essential argument of Dambisa Moyo in "Dead Aid" is that aid is harming Africa because it subsidizes the failure of African Governments. Foreign aid pays for programs that should be done by the local government. The local government then does not need to collect taxes, spend wisely, and be responsible to their own people. They also don't have to put in place the structures needed for an efficient free market. They can remain corrupt and they can continue to experiment with failed strategies of central planning and government control.
This is not a new argument. Henry Hazlitt, in 1947, identified the same problem with the post-war Marshal Plan, which is often considered the earliest international aid program. Many European countries experimented with socialist policies after World War II. They tried to continue programs of rationing and state control of industry, imposed out of necessity during the war, transforming them into a system of central planning. This undermined their economies and made them less productive.
Hazlitt argued that Marshal Plan aid was making European countries weaker by subsidizing government failure. Without aid these countries would be forced to abandon their unsuccessful government interventions and allow the free market to grow the economy. With American subsidies they could keep these failed policies in place, funded by tax revenue from the American people.
William Easterly wrote another major critique of the aid industry, “The White Man's Burden: Why the West's Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good,” in 2007. In that same year he wrote:
“There is a sad law I have noticed in my economics career: the poorer the country, the poorer the economic analysis applied to it. Sub-Saharan Africa, which this month marks the 50th anniversary of its first nation to gain independence, Ghana, bears this out. …the same poor economics on sale to Ghana in 1957 are still there today. Economists involved in Africa then and now undervalued free markets, instead coming up with one of the worst ideas ever: state direction by the states least able to direct.”
In 2017 the president of Ghana, Akufo-Addo, famously rejected African dependence on foreign aid during a visit to Ghana by French president Emmanuel Macron.
The only political party in Canada promising to reduce foreign aid is the People’s Party of Canada. As with all PPC policies, this strategy is based on doing the right thing for Canadians. In this case, it is also the best policy for foreign countries - respecting their national sovereignty, their economic independence, and their integrity. And it just may be the best development strategy too.
The PPC foreign policy promises to continue disaster assistance and humanitarian aid, which is distinct form the development aid criticized by Moyo, Easterly and Hazlitt. But even here we need to tread carefully. We must avoid swooping in and paying for life-saving interventions while the president of a country buys new SUVs for all his ministers. If we do, we undermine the most important principle needed for the development of any country: the national will to promote and protect human life.
Humanitarian aid must focus on areas where government control has broken down or where there is a sudden increase in the humanitarian burden. These areas are exactly where we have seen recent famine – in countries like Yemen, South Sudan, and Somalia which are at war or have weak central government control.
Even with this narrow focus on humanitarian aid there is potential for failure. Canadian farmers, charities, and companies benefit when we ship sacks of grain from the Canadian prairies. But response time and adaptation to local needs are much better if we send money and facilitate purchases from nearby sources. Here, the opposition of the People’s Party to all forms of corporate welfare provides hope that we will do the right thing for those in desperate need – and for Canadians.
With polls showing the People’s Party of Canada at only 2% support, it’s understandable that some people doubt the PPC can win the federal election in October. However, current poll numbers do not tell us what the results will be at election time. Public awareness of the PPC will grow dramatically as we approach the election. Fortunately, we have a good proxy to see how well Maxime Bernier will do against Andrew Scheer with an informed group of voters.
Bernier and Scheer were in the final round of the CPC leadership race in 2017, the results were Bernier 49% and Scheer 51%. This may be why Bernier supporters believe that he can win against Scheer in a national election. Scheer won the leadership with support from special interest groups such as the Supply Management cartel. In an open election, Scheer would not have that advantage and Bernier could win.
Scheer has had two years to increase public awareness, giving him a head start. He also has the backing of an established party. But that may not matter if Bernier can get his message out by election time. Bernier has spent months organizing his party with little time or money spent on promotion – now that will change. There will be advertising to promote the party, and active campaigning by over 300 candidates across the country. Bernier has also won the right to be in the televised debates.
Importantly, the PPC will pick up votes beyond traditional conservative supporters, including from people who voted Liberal in the last election. Many people are withdrawing support from Trudeau because he is increasingly seen as corrupt. They may be hesitant to switch to Scheer, a leader who won his party’s leadership through suspicious practices and corrupt influences. Bernier has come out strongly against corruption, and against the payments and benefits to private companies – known as corporate welfare and crony capitalism – that have been the underlying cause of corruption.
There are also voters who supported the Green Party and NDP in the past because they did not like the cozy relationship of the Liberals and Conservatives with big business. These voters will also find a home with the PPC – the only party to oppose Supply Management.
Many people did not vote in the last election, and some have never voted. They will be inspired to vote because Bernier is restoring faith in government. Many PPC candidates, who never thought they would run for office, have also been inspired by the prospect of government that is truly in the people’s interest. These candidates will now help inspire voters across the country.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, Scheer has chosen to shift his Conservative Party from the right to the political center, at a time in history when populist movements worldwide are shifting governments to the right. Scheer may have miscalculated badly. When Scheer began shifting left, his was the only federal conservative party, and he certainly expected it to be the only one at election time. He was wrong, and that may cost him the election. Maxime Bernier stepped into the void on the right with his new People’s Party.
PPC poll numbers will rise, slowly at first and then more quickly as we approach the election. A critical tipping point will come when support for Bernier rises higher than support for Scheer. There are many CPC members who would like to support Bernier, but they fear splitting the conservative vote. If Bernier polls higher than Scheer, there will be a flip over to Bernier.
Maxime Bernier has declared an end to political correctness and is bringing a new honesty and energy to Canadian politics. He has the best experience, the best policy, and the best principles of any of the candidates. PPC party membership shows there is support for the party across the country. Once Canadians become informed, we can only hope they make the right choice.