Much potential in sharing ideas

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Talk is cheap. And ideas, well, sometimes you just can’t put a price tag on them.

Actually, the offer from Canada’s finance minister to the opposition parties is a good one. As Jim Flaherty looks toward crafting the budget for the coming fiscal year, he’s asking them for their ideas – as long as they don’t cost any money, and won’t require raising taxes.

Just think if the Conservatives took a little of that advice: it could mean balancing the federal budget this year, instead of in fiscal year 2015-16, as Flaherty is still projecting.

The finance minister’s invitation to the opposition – which he has done before – specified that he would only consider “low to no-cost ideas to grow the economy.” He does not want to receive the usual “laundry list” of new spending or subsidy programs.

It’s a fair point. We hope those other parties take him at his word, and refrain from treating the call as some sort of cynical ploy. In fact, the federal Liberals have exhibited some deft experience in balancing budgets in the past and even racking up surpluses. Their ideas might well prove beneficial.

On the other hand, if members outside the Conservative Party did have some brilliant ideas with the potential of growing the economy at no cost, they might want to keep such schemes to themselves. There is that possibility that one or the other of the two main parties in opposition could form the next government in 2015. Why lend ingenuity to the Conservatives and let them take credit?

But the overture from Flaherty does say much about what could be accomplished if the political parties spent more time – outside of election campaign brinksmanship – of sharing ideas, or collaborating on economic goals. Much of what Canadians are treated to in the political spotlight is bickering for the sake of one-upmanship, while working in the interests of the country is left on the back burner. Such co-operation would not go unnoticed.

Organizations: Conservatives, Conservative Party

Geographic location: Canada

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