Minister of Finance Bill Morneau smiles during an outdoor news conference in the courtyard of a college in Ottawa on Monday September 26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Morneau and Provinces Talk Pot and Taxes

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau met with provincial counterparts this week to talk pot and taxes, among other things.

With Ottawa delegating legal distribution and consumption details to the provinces, all eyes were on Morneau.

The twice-a-year meeting had to live up to its otherwise officially dull agenda — to facilitate a “co-ordinated approach to the taxation of cannabis.”

Or how the provinces interpreted the meeting: what can we squeeze from Ottawa?

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said Quebec should have “equitable sharing of tax revenue,” which I take to mean legal equitable interest in the legalization model, rather than “fair” or “impartial” sharing of tax revenue.

Equalization payments clearly demonstrate why I would have my suspicions over his choice of words.

While Quebec sniffed around for federal funds like an anteater, Manitoba got wet feet like a duck.

“We’re not ready yet!” cried some bureaucrat in Winnipeg, his echo carrying through the office and on down the corridors. Eventually making its way to Manitoba’s finance minister who told Morneau that their government was feeling a bit “rushed” about the whole thing.

Just not ready, so to speak.

Interestingly enough, Ottawa didn’t care and instead pushed for a low taxation rate, fearing that too high of a tax burden would undermine their efforts to eradicate the “black market.”

Which goes to show how nefarious the Liberal deficit and tax hikes are. Morneau and the Liberals know exactly what grows an economy and what doesn’t.

Low taxes and minimal infringement on entrepreneurs generate prosperity. Throw in a frugal population and a high savings rate, and you’ve got yourself a pretty prosperous government since the Liberals would be getting more bang for their buck on the taxation front.

But Morneau and the Liberals have gone the opposite direction, anticipating a $23-billion year-end deficit and raising taxes on the middle class. Task Force Liberal Anne McLellan even said cannabis legalization would cost Canadians money before any revenue could be realized.

And don’t let these deficit numbers fool you, it takes 31 years to count to one billion. There is a staggering amount of debt in the Canadian economy and asset prices are only as good as the inflated stock market.

Government debt isn’t like household debt. Governments can endlessly borrow funds by putting a newer generation of taxpayers up as collateral. Yet, this scheme rests on a planet of finite resources.

So Morneau knows exactly how the economy works.

Meanwhile, federal-provincial coordination is nothing new nor unexpected. That cannabis legalization is on the agenda only goes to show how effective breaking the law can be.

So let’s keep overgrowing the government until we’ve freed the weed, and then let’s overgrow them some more.