Budgets and other eulogies.

Seeing finance minister Bill Morneau finally get to his budget last week produced a measure of disappointment and nostalgia. He brought back distant memories of the clean-cut young Anglican priest who came to our grade six class at Rosedale Public School in Toronto to try to entice us wayward kids back to Sunday School. The problem with that priest and with Bill Morneau is that you have heard all that B.S. before.

Can you imagine a budget in this day and age that makes a big deal of increases in the sin taxes on alcohol and cigarettes? Can you imagine a budget talking about innovation and innovates nothing? It was a sad occasion for Canadians.

On Vassy Kapelos’ West Block show on Sunday, you were hard-pressed to understand why Morneau had come out of hiding. His explanations were pathetic. You were just as in the dark as you were before he explained it.

It might have helped if Bill Morneau had an inkling as to what is meant by innovation. He certainly used the word enough. You got the impression that the innovation centres across Canada were what he was counting on to bring about innovation for Canada.

But we can hardly rely on places where you develop new apps for your Apple phone to move Canada forward. Every once in a while, one of these centres will come up with a new type of lightbulb but they rarely astound Bay Street.

If this was 150 years ago, we had a John Macdonald who said maybe we could bind this new nation together with a railroad from sea to sea. And that old drunk did it. He might not have looked as good in his selfies as the present prime minister but he came up with ideas and he got them done. Just think what a modern 350-kph railroad could do for this country. And that would take innovation. Bombardier could actually be helpful.

And think about guys like Banting and Best who did some useful innovation in medicine. There are all kinds of opportunities for innovation. And you never know where the opportunities will arise. Our late brother watched the early shadowy pictures of the men on the moon many years ago and said, “I can fix that.”

He went into the Houston offices of NASA a short time later and showed the people running the American space program sharp clear pictures of what came from the moon. Today we get superior pictures from around the world and beyond because of John Lowry’s innovation.

Maybe Bill Morneau needs to learn more about innovation.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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