Monday, February 18, 2008
Drawing on their tired and true format of going on the offensive before the bell's wrung, Stephen Harper's CONs have pulled out a faux list of 'Liberal shopping priorities' that it says will push the country more than $62 Billion into debt over a four-year mandate.
Firstly, the list has a few accuracies to it: Stephane Dion has set a priority of reducing child poverty - unlike the CONs, who fully endorse child poverty as a means of helping oil executives to rationalize large annual bonuses (i'm using the same logic as the CONs - so sue me). It also notes that Stephane Dion hasn't been afraid to stand at a podium and give interviews. A definite no-no in CONNY land. Apparently, those sensitive souls and their policies can't take the scrutiny. Other than that, there's enough fiction here to satisfy Douglas Copeland.
I'll leave it up to the real policy wonks to dissect this incredibly blunt attempt at a Canadian swift-boat smear, although I won't hold my breathe for the likes of Canwest or the Sun newspaper chain to dig any deeper. Is it possible that the CONs are projecting Dion's proposal for struggling industries while forgetting that they've also tossed the same figure about in what will be not something to spur modernization but to stave off the inevitable in some cases?
But turn this Republikan-style out-of-season hunting expedition on its head -- here's a CON government that never saw a giant novelty cheque it couldn't fill out. It has taken Canada from booming surpluses to near-deficit financing as any gov't in the past 15 years. Don't blame it all on world economic issues, either. Harper clings to the same ideas of George W., who has shovelled money frontwards and backwards at the military, wars that can't be won, and the rich, while fuelling his own nation's economic downslide.
Treating Canadians like a lobster in a pot of water, he's used the minority situation to diffuse suggestions that he's got major plans to change what we consider a liberal democracy. However, it hasn't stalled his attempt at shaking the underpinnings to help propel his project into action. Harper first raised taxes to cover his first GST cut. He then reinstated the Liberals' last income tax cut and sped up his second GST cut because he thought an election was coming. He lathered Quebec with an incredible lucre of money-flavoured poutine that failed to convert enough Quebecers into Jean Charest fans, and then abandoned that camp to join with the Kevin Federline of Quebec politics, Dumont.
He flushed BILLIONS of Canadians' hard-earned savings down the chute on Halloween night, thus encouraging a huge sell-off of Canadian assets to foreign owners. His other promises have seen lower taxes and raised taxes, money for childcare (but taxed it) and no spaces created. And his holy promise to clean up gov't and lead by example proved as likely as a crack addict's oath to stay clean after one more night of needle bending.
He's spent more money than any other gov't in recent history, and despite the sightings of economic troubles on the horizon over the past eight months -- he is an economist, right? -- didn't make any move to buffer certain industries until he heard the rustling of unhappy electorate.
That he's got flittery-gibblet Flaherty counting his fingers and toes in finance is the laugh-riot irony of it all, too. Prentice pulled out Bob Rae as evidence that these aren't the same Liberals who ran 13 straight surplus budgets and made all the tough decisions. How do you think Flaherty's background and history will sell in Ontario if you want to play that game, Smart-Guy-In-The-Room? Do Canadians wish to have safe drinking water or do they want the psychic network's promise of nuclear safety, fudged budgets and homeless in jail?
But that's not all. For a guy who is trying to portray himself and his stunted cabinet as 'fiscally responsible', he isn't even willing to run his party in that manner. Already in trouble with Elections Canada for trying to get around the law by spending beyond the cap, he's taken his advertising out of season and gone hog-wild with ad buy after ad buy, all in the hopes of fooling Canadians. Sure, these ads aren't illegal but they do show a man who is ready to spend, spend spend his way into your heart. He's that wolf who calls you 'Doll face' and twirls his moustache while promising the moon. Nowhere does his plan, however, look beyond tonight.
It's time for Canadians to give this pill the cold shoulder.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Let me get this straight...
You were so gungho to have this law and order piece of legislation passed last year that you prorogued the house and scrubbed the bill.
When the new session was introduced, you chose not to have the bill reintroduced, as passed in the House, but decided it should be as a Omni-mega-bite bill.
Then you called a long recess because you just had too many things to do, not because you and the No-northern Stars Dancers were getting creamed daily in the house.
You come back and finally someone is looking at your bill. But those awful opposition members start getting their hands on such thing as the Chalk River belligerent bungle, You, Me and a dog named Mulrooney, What Economy? and Gag Me With an Environment Canada Scientist. Time to get out of your hidey-hole and act like Rambo!
Now, after the Senate has had a whole 25 days to look at the Mega-Omnibus Bill, including asking the questions that you forget to consider, like 'is this legislation constitutional, or will it end up in an expensive challenge case where all taxpayers lose?' you decide that you want it passed immediately, like yesterday! So you decide to dare the opposition to call an election over it (even though as written the supporting motion would carry no authority over the Senate, nor does it have the earmarks of a real confidence motion - but hey, who said CONserfatives aren't creative?), therefore stalling the bill again?
Who died and made you Czar?
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Pity poor James Moore. Once touted as ministerial material, the Fred Flintstone of Parliament Hill is reduced to crashing other governments' announcements just to get his photo in the paper.
While the transit authority, BC and local governments have stepped up to the plate in the long-delayed (and still in dream state) promise of rapid transit to the communities of Coquitlam, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam, Moore could only bring his bulky, Raymond Burr-ish frame for a fairly useless shadow effect. It seems Harper's team has been too busy spending hundreds of millions on Quebec City's 400th birthday celebrations, Quebec's so-called fiscal imbalance, tax incentives for those buying emission-spewing gas guzzlers built next door to Jim Flaherty's riding, and tax breaks for devil weed grown in Diane 'Shady' Finley's riding...
James, who most would agree is likeable until he switches to 'robotic CON spin' mode, went from political wannabe to Canada's youngest MP in a matter of no other options. When it comes down to career politicians, he's adept at what he does, but appears to have stepped on someone's shoes. Perhaps the Star Trek-style battle to be Ms Teskey er Harper's party beard with John Baird ended up in embarrassment.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
It's a decision that could be right out of a George Orwell novel, but lives and breaths here in Canada.
The Stephen Harper CONserfative government has sent a chilling message to public sector scientists that they are to hold their tongue and wait for their cue before speaking.
Following the frightening silencing of scientists by the Lame-Quack Bush administration, which has allowed private industry and lobbiests to vet answers for public consumption, Harper has dictated that all responses to media inquiries must be filed on paper and that the response from the government employee will have to meet 'the standard'. It means that Johnny 'Got Your Tongue' Baird won't have to worry about conflicting songs from the official CON songsheet and can avoid any more embarrassing truths.
Well, a few may see this as simply ensuring that ministers and elected officals know of what the scientists speak of in case they are asked for a response, the fact that Harper's ministers are never given clearance to talk unless the Grand Poobah has signed off on a carefully shredded script means this is no more than an attempt to stifle another branch of Canada's public service.
Put it this way: A reporter has a question on some new climate change data, so he calls up the Environment Canada scientist known for climate change. Now the reporter is told that he must submit his questions in writing. The scientist then responds with his answer -- but wait! It then flows to the PMO's office, which seems already inundated with super-big brother tasks like arranging meetings between CON fundraisers and disputing parties, where the answer is put through a meat-grinder to ensure it fits the preconceived message the Prime Minister or ministers have already confirmed. You know, the 'Earth is Flat, Dinosaurs Walked with Man, Canada is Back' trifles. The so-called reply then is filtered back to the reporter, who during this convuluted communication field trip has moved on to the next hot topic. It has become a dated story, nevermind that the response possibly does not resemble anything that the scientist may have said.
Hence, the flow of information is slowed, controlled and contained. Scientists -- actually, all public service employees now, understand that Big Tubby Brother is Watching. The government has slickly created an 'operational matters' minefield for Canada's renowned public scientists, just like the Canadian Forces, Now Harper and his CONs are free to spend more time fighting the evils of women's groups, Canada's aboriginal population and provincial leaders.
Throw in the recent termination of National Science advisor Arthur Carty and their steps that began with gagging their candidates during the last election, the fight with the national press gallery, their decision to make cabinet meetings secret, the PMO's brass knuckle grip on all things partisan, and you get an indisputable pattern of 'prison of information'. Your information-based opinion must coincide with their coda of emotion over factual evidence and partisan robotic mutterings or you'll be silenced or more likely fired. At any hour of the day or night.
Perhaps they should just come clean and admit they meant 'Freedom FROM Information'...