Note on infrastructure priorities: simpler roads would be good

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty started his budget speech today by describing Canada as “a nation at a crossroads.”  It’s a familiar image—but it grew less so as he went on.

To come to a crossroads, one must generally have been traveling along a road. In this case, oddly, Flaherty tells us we have “passed through steep and rocky terrain” and “much of the territory was uncharted.”

Which sounds more like a pathless wilderness. Indeed, he remarks that “our compass has not failed us” and “the way forward remains challenging.”

But, no—we must be at an intersection after all, because Flaherty next says, “Some would urge us to turn at this crossroads.” And not a simple right or left turn, either. “Experience tells us,” he warns, “that would eventually lead us backward.”

Choosing to turn at the crossroads would lead us backward? Must be a cloverleaf.

“We need to stay on course,” Flaherty advises. “We can see our destination on the horizon.”

But can we get there from here?

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