Whose ox this time?

According to recent polling by Nanos Research, nearly three-quarters of those Canadians polled were on-side with deep spending cuts to get federal finances in order.

Like the recent Old Age Security changes mused about by our Prime Minister when he was overseas, we wonder how significant that latest polling is. Is this yet another trial balloon attempting to gather the mood of the Canadian public? The majority of those polled figured 6% is a good target number for reducing spending across the board.

An old political colleague who had a way of summing things up in plain language would likely suggest such proposed cuts and acceptance by the public really depend on “whose ox is getting gored.”

It is quite easy to be on board with austerity measures, but when it comes right down to the final decision, it’s okay to cut – as long as it’s someone else’s budget.

Similar comments were echoing through the halls at the annual Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) and Good Roads conference in Toronto this week.

Most politicians from this area were there with fellow rural municipal colleagues, getting their fair share of seminars and speakers offering up best practices in today’s economic environment.

In one of our reports this week, Warden Chris White notes Premier Dalton McGuinty gave a sense to delegates the money grab is on for slots and track revenues as an example.

That retraction of previous arrangements will be the first of many as the province attempts to get its financial house in order.

The need to settle on who does what best is omnipresent. It would be far simpler if all sides could agree for more than a term or two in office how the responsibilities of each level of government will be handled. It’s a battle cry that many of us have grown hoarse projecting.

Perhaps the dollars and cents of these times will make sense of a system that has grown duplicitous and wasteful on many levels.

Whose ox this time? We’ll have to wait for the budget and see.