By Brian Lee Crowley - My friend, Canadian David Gratzer, is quite right in his federal election post-mortem in the Wall Street Journal the other day (Canada Makes a Right Turn, May 4) that Canada has embraced smaller government and greater reliance on markets. However, this shift predates the election of the Conservatives in 2006. It actually began in 1995 when then finance minister Paul Martin delivered the most important federal budget in a generation in which he famously called for "smaller government...smarter government". The 1995 budget ushered in real spending reductions of almost 10% in two years and a 14% reduction in public sector employment. The result was a balanced budget in three years and widespread prosperity for more than a decade. In many ways the current Conservatives are simply extending the economic policies implemented by the Liberals of then Prime Minister Jean Chretien. If anything the Liberals' record on spending control was more impressive than the Conservatives'.
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