Saturday, March 31, 2007
TRYING TO JUMP THE SHARK...
You've heard the underlying theme that will likely be repeated and imbedded in the tinfoil minds of the CONservatoid lollygaggers -- that Kyoto and the recent changes to the Clean Air Act will be a damaging anchor around Canada's economy.
It likely will frame the whole rationale that Harpor will pitch first to the Governor General, and then to the Canadian public for a late spring election.
His hands are tied, he'll say in that soap-opera-quality acting he's so feign to pass off as resolute firmness. Yep, CanWest and the rest of the media whoredes will eat off the palm of his hand. I'll let smarter and more skillful writers than myself to strip away at that harbinger of a fib -- like how come all the European economies aren't in the toilet currently?
The real sham -- and yes, eventual point to today's diatribe -- is that Harpor himself is positioning himself into being a real anchor himself with the economy, due to ideology.
Consider this: the Cons have sunk what had been planned for nearly a decade and had finally been implemented, national standards for daycare and childcare. The federally funded program would have ensured that early learning was an accepted and implemented initiative that each province would follow through with, each understanding to different degrees its value.
Canada's economy is a bubbling cauldron, but nothing like the scorching metal of China and India. They hold one element over us that we cannot compete with -- a plentiful labour source (cheap or otherwise). Our economy has grown at a great gallop since the mid-70s due in part to the increase of women, especially mothers, in the workplace. For many, it was and is a case of being in control of their own destiny, whether that includes reaching their career goals, achieving financial freedom, contributing to the family in a financial way, or taking on the role of breadwinner in the spinoff of more one-parent families.
With one stroke and then months of ignoring the facts, Harpor has virtually tried to turn back the clock. His monthly baby bonus returns us to a 1950s model, where the cheque is helpful in paying off a few bills but in no way measures up to helping in the expense of day- or childcare.
The So-Cons have gone on long and hard about where they believe wimen are better put to use. And I'll not argue that as part of choice, families should be allowed and not punished for having one parent stay at home with the kids. But it is not the government's job to encourage one by penalizing working parents with a lack of access or choice. Not when the options for many will be much, much worse. Inadequate childcare situations, for one.
Harpor's stand on this, even though it has gone unspoken but not unacted on, is to wedge many women into saying "I can't find daycare/pay for daycare with the money I have on hand... Therefore I must choose to work less/quit work to cut the daycare expense (which here in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver is approximately $800 full-time per month for children 2 and under)"....
He knows he can't state that he wants more women leaving the workforce and getting back into the kitchen, so he lets others say "its about treating stay-at-home parents with respect." But by limiting their options he's willfully hacking away at parents' choices, which include affording $400,000 mortgages, funnelling money into children's activities, spending money on various 'new necessities' like cel phones, hockey equipment, and college planning. These items are all part of economic growth, just as the guy who owns the local sporting goods store, the lady who telemarkets for the phone company, and the local universities which fill their classrooms. While it may not be a decision many are willing to make, because leaving their job even part-time would see less money in their bank accounts, mothers know that they cannot find affordable, accountable daycare easily. Some will find they may be able to make a few sacrifices -- which are quite honourable for those who want to do it, but no more honourable than those working mothers whose career is essential to feeding and clothing the families -- and avoid the multi-tasking hassles that a so-con government would put in their way.
Business will create daycare spaces? Well, that theory hit the bedpan quicker than a Harpor bellyflop into Rideau Canal. Provinces are trying to cover the big hole of funding that appeared not long after Harpor's first mandate. Where's that money going to come from? Hit any large pot holes on the way home from work today?
But the kicker is this: Canada's economy in many regions -- the Lower Mainland, northern Alberta towns, Edmonton and Calgary, Saskatoon and Regina, Toronto, Halifax -- relies on access to workers, skilled and unskilled. Companies in those cities are already finding the pool of employees have been virtually tapped out, to the point that they've increased wages, added bonuses, but many have had to reduce services or expectations. An overheated economy can only run so long before the pot cracks. When the gov't has added another stressor to the situation --- parents who cannot find or afford daycare --- you may just have tipped the scale to an upcoming recession.
Hey, I'm not Nostrodamus or anything, but judging by the wonky economic ideas sloshing out of the Tory toilet, I'm beginning to think that Harpor has his plan down pat should that occur after his majority. Massive cuts to gov't programs, layoffs galore -- remember, when Martin's big cuts in '95 reduced military funding to thin wafer, Harpor stood up and nearly cheered. Of course, he likely thought he could avoid deficit spending before that, but two Flittery budgets later, we're on the brink.
The PM obviously had a heart once -- he was a young Liberal, afterall -- but somewhere he went astray. If his transformation was anything like Doctor Doom, who was a brilliant but power-hungry doctor who turned mad and evil upon suffered a dramatic physical injury, we may be in for some very ugly dramatics before we get to daylight. But at least the fictional Doom was brilliant at something. Harpor as an economist has proven to be more a Curley Joe Derita...
What we need now is the Fantastic Four or a Stephane Dion-led government.