The Dead Horse Theory

dead-horseThis theory is sometimes referred to as “Government’s Political Correctness.” Here’s the predicament:


The tribal wisdom of the Plains Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount, then get another horse.” However, in Government, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

  • buying a stronger whip
  • changing riders
  • appointing a committee to study the horse
  • arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses
  • lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included
  • reclassifying the dead horse as “Living-impaired”
  • hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse
  • harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed
  • providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance
  • doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance
  • declaring that, as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses
  • rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses
  • (and, the choicest strategy) promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position

Government officials will also look to the root causes of the predicament before taking any action, i.e. what kind of parents it had, the horse’s colour, his socioeconomic background, perhaps the horse was bullied, or his mother was single, etc.

It is no wonder that, for some time now, government workers’ saddest refrain has been: It’s been so lonely in the saddle since my horse died…


Chris George provides reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 quotes on bureaucracy

You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing. – Thomas Sowell


Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies. – Honore de Balzac


The only thing that saves us from the bureaucracy is its inefficiency. – Eugene J. McCarthy


Bureaucracy is the death of all sound work. – Albert Einstein


Bureaucracy is the art of making the possible impossible. – Javier Pascual Salcedo


Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy. – Franz Kafka


Any change is resisted because bureaucrats have a vested interest in the chaos in which they exist. – Richard M. Nixon


Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become the modern form of despotism. – Mary McCarthy


Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status. – Laurence Peter


Bureaucracy gives birth to itself and then expects maternity benefits. – Dale Dauten


Chris George, providing reliable PR & GR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.

10 Proverbs for Our Elected Politicians

On this Canada’s budget day, a day when we can expect our federal government to find new ways to intrude into our daily lives and mess about in our future prospects, By George reprints this priceless and timeless list of proverbs for elected politicians – of all stripes, in every level of government.


  1. Law is a necessary evil.
  2. Pass as few laws as possible, consistent with the demands of justice and the maintenance of order.
  3. Where custom is sufficient, there is no need for law.
  4. Do not pass laws that cannot, or will not, be enforced, for such breed contempt for both the law and the State.
  5. Penalties must be minimally sufficient to deter infractions, given adequate enforcement. Less renders the law ineffective; more inflicts unnecessary pain.
  6. There is an inverse proportion between the severity necessary to deter infractions and the certainty of punishment.
  7. Enshrine your principles in constitutions, codify your common sense in laws, and leave the rest to regulation.
  8. Even more than on your wisdom, the legitimacy of the State depends on your integrity.
  9. In public life, integrity requires not only an honest heart but an honest face.
  10. Your primary object must always be not the satisfaction of your constituents but the continued legitimacy of the State, for upon that depends the welfare, even the survival, of us all.



Chris George, providing reliable PR counsel and effective advocacy. Need a go-to writer and experienced communicator? Call 613-983-0801 @ CG&A COMMUNICATIONS.


Tax Me, I’m Canadian

“Tax Me, I’m Canadian” – this refrain from Canadian Taxpayers Foundation came to mind when the Fraser Institute released their study on what the average Canadian household budget looks like and where we spend our money. (It also came to mind when Justin Trudeau promised billions of dollars of infrastructure spending yesterday with no worries about running up multiple deficits and the national debt – but that’s another story for another time).

Here’s the bottom line: the average Canadian family spends more on their taxes than on food, clothing and shelter combined.

The study revealed, In 2014, the average Canadian family (including unattached Canadians) earned $79,010 and paid $33,272 in total taxes compared to $28,887 on food, clothing and shelter combined.

In other words, 42.1 per cent of income went to taxes while 36.6 per cent went to basic necessities.

The total tax bill reflects both visible and hidden taxes that families pay to the federal, provincial and local governments, including income taxes, payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, health taxes, fuel taxes, alcohol taxes, and more.

The Fraser Institute, which has been tracking these statistics for decades, reports that this represents a marked shift since 1961, when the average family spent 33.5 per cent on taxes and 56.5 per cent on food, clothing and shelter.

Since 1961, the average Canadian family’s total tax bill increased by 1,886 per cent, dwarfing increases in annual food costs (561 per cent), clothing (819 per cent) and shelter (1,366 per cent). Even after accounting for changes in overall prices (inflation) over the 53-year period, the tax bill shot up 149.2 per cent.

Read more on the study at The Fraser Institute website.

The Reaction from the Campaign Trail Yesterday

There was great sport to be had with this study as each federal party kicked the political football around…

Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

“This is exactly why it is critical in this country we keep the national government dedicated to keeping taxes down…. We sure don’t have that with the Liberal government in the province of Ontario. We sure don’t have that where we have NDP governments. So Canadians want to ask themselves if they’re feeling squeezed by these high levels of taxes by Liberal and NDP governments, do they really want to see higher taxes from Liberal and NDP governments at the national level? That would not stimulate the economy. High taxes pull money out of the economy. They pull money out of households. They hurt people. They hurt the economy.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau:

“One of the things that is frustrating for the Canadians I meet across the country is that we have a government that is focused much more on its own job and the job of the people who work for the prime minister than it is on creating jobs for Canadians. We have a government that has spent close to a billion dollars on partisan taxpayer-paid ads that quite frankly aren’t doing anything to grow the economy or even restore Canadian confidence because Canadians don’t trust the prime minister anymore.”

NDP candidate Peggy Nash:

“Middle class families are working harder than ever but they can’t get ahead. Stephen Harper’s plan just isn’t working. Tom Mulcair has a concrete plan to make life easier for these families. We are going to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour for federally regulated workers, we’re going to make life more affordable for people by capping ATM fees, lowering credit card fees, regulating the payday loan industry, getting gas prices under control with a gas ombudsman, and creating one million $15-a-day childcare spaces.”

Source – and to read the full article, click here: Calgary Sun.

WSJ: Provincial Debt Unsustainable

The sirens are now going off south of the border that Canada’s provincial governments (namely Ontario and Quebec) are spending beyond their means and endangering their future taxpayers to a mounting tax headache.

Here is the Wall Street Journal’s news column: Canada’s Budget Watchdog Says Provincial Debt Unsustainable

The WSJ writes:

Canada’s budget watchdog Tuesday warned that the federal government’s push toward a budget balance masks a serious fiscal threat at the subnational level, where the country’s provincial governments are accumulating debt at an unsustainable pace.

The Canadian provinces’ fiscal performance has deteriorated since the onset of the global financial crisis, and the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer has issued other warnings on provincial government debt. But its latest report comes after major bond credit-rating firms this month downgraded their ratings on Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, and neighboring Manitoba.

In this article, WSJ identifies the largest culprits of Canadian debt.

Ontario and Quebec, the two biggest provinces by population, are carrying the biggest debt loads, with net debt-to-GDP ratios of roughly 39% and 49%, respectively. Quebec, after taking some austerity measures, projects a balanced budget this year.

Elsewhere, in Canada’s Financial Post, a headline today reads:
With twice the debt of California, Ontario is now the world’s most indebted sub-sovereign borrower

FP puts Ontario’s debt pile nightmare into context:

While Ontario’s population is about one third of California’s, its debt load is more than double that of the biggest U.S. state.

Is it not time for Ontarians to demand more of Premier Wynne and her Liberal Government than their tax-and-spend-and-spend-some-more approach to the province’s finances?

(ed. – Surely, we won’t accept that the answer is to wine and complain that the federal government must give Ontario more tax transfers? Should we not start with the notion that we begin to live within our means?)