"We inherited a railway that was bankrupt and in disarray." That's how Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond recently rationalized her government's decision to privatize British Columbia Railway Co.'s operations in 2003. Similarly, her cabinet colleague Kevin Falcon told The Globe and Mail it's necessary to push down healthcare spending because "if we don't do this, our system will implode under the weight of its own excess and inefficiency." But political analysts and commentators have persuasively pointed out BC Rail was profitable and healthcare spending isn't as out of control as Mr. Falcon would have us believe. So is the government just wrong or is it manufacturing crises so it can make decisions that would otherwise be unpalatable to the public?
Well, before you answer that question, let me share a government document I found last week. It describes the behaviours senior civil servants are expected to demonstrate. Among them: being able to "create a crisis to force change." I'm not making this up. I'm not wearing a tin foil hat. That's exactly what the document says. So if that's what bureaucrats are doing behind closed doors, is it unreasonable to think their political bosses are doing the same thing?