Ignatieff, succinctly summing up why the Liberals won’t support the Conservatives any more.
Canadian federal politics, September 2009. Nothing has changed and it is as predictable as ever. I’ll leave it to better writers and political commentators to disseminate all the details, but here is a quick rundown of what’s happened so far in ’09.
1. Canada, and the rest of the world, is in recession
2. Conservatives release a budget that is supported by the Liberals. The NDP are beside themselves
3. Canada starts producing positive economic numbers
4. Having avoided being in power during a recession, the Liberals don’t mind being in power during the recovery
5. Liberals say they can no longer support the government
6. The NDP are beside themselves that the Liberals would want an election so soon after the last one(s).
And some people are aghast at the cynicism and apathy that is leveled towards Canadian politics.
I can’t stand the provincial NDP. They have got to be the most mindless political group I can think of. I’m not sure they have an original thought amongst the whole party. Basically they work like this: if the Liberals say left, the NDP say right. If the Liberals say up, the NDP says down. The latest thing that the NDP are bashing is the planned renovation of BC Place. Vancouver was recently awarded a new MLS expansion team and part of plan is to renovate BC Place and replace its old, repaired roof with a new retractable roof. The NDP seem to think this is a bad idea because they say it will take money away from social housing. I swear, if all you did was listen to COPE and the NDP, you would think that the whole raison d’être in life was to build social housing. I like the idea of social housing as much as the next NDPer, but give it a break – it doesn’t have to be the answer to every planning and development question asked.
This quote from the VanCity Buzz pretty much sums up my thoughts on the NDP, although I wouldn’t be quite so gracious towards the Liberals.
I am not a Liberal supporter, nor am I an NDP supporter. I vote for whoever I think is best to lead this province to the top and right now for me the NDP does not instill any confidence whatsoever. The only thing that comes out of the NDP politicians mouths is hate. All they do is complain about what the Liberals are doing (which is a good job by the way) and have no plan for themselves. For that very reason they have to be the stupidest bunch of politicians out there. Carole James is not a leader. She needs to go and the rest of her party is no better. Give me something other than union bullshit. Tell me you understand simple economics and finance because from what I heard coming from you guys thus far is highschool.
I heard it over and over leading up to this fall’s federal election. People were voting Conservative because of the economy. The Conservatives somehow installed more confidence in the voters, and were for some reason seen as being better at economics than the Liberals. The Conservatives of course did their part in this, with expensive tv ads that portrayed the Liberals as being bad for Canadian economics.
Today the truth came out. Despite inheriting record surpluses from the Liberals, Read the rest of this entry »
Not sure how you want to vote for the federal election? Caught between a rock and a hard decision? Or perhaps you think it is an easy decision but there’s some lingering questions in your mind. Fear not, I have a new methodology that is sure to help. Simply ask yourself who you would prefer to have over for dinner. Yup, that’s right. Dinner. It’s a nice summer evening, you’re going to bbq some steaks and veggies, there’s some brewskies in the fridge, and you have to have one of the potential Prime Ministers over. Would it be Stephen Harper? I would consider that option, but only if I could rely on Grady throwing peas at him. That would be fun to see him flinching from flying peas, stiff as a board, awkward as hell and staring at his watch, waiting until it’s time to leave. Jack Layton could be fun too. I bet I could get him really drunk and have him tell some outrageous stories about Buzz Hardgrove. How about Elizabeth May? Hmmm, not so much. I’m sure she’s charming, and I also suspect that she is boring as hell. When it is all said and done, I think I’d want Dion over. He and May seem like the most “real” people of the four. More than that, Dion just seems like a good guy. I’m always disheartened whenever I read that people see Dion as being a weak personality. The fact is that they are correct, and that is sad because he is likely the most honest and good hearted of the big three and possibly has the best policies between the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Greens. Another disappointment in the “Come over for beers and steak” test is Liz May. From what little I’ve seen, she’s kind of bland. No, make that really bland.
Before Canadians sit down and really think about who they want to be the next Prime Minister, a good exercise for everyone to do is answer the question, “Does Stephen Harper deserve to have a majority government?” I think this question is fundamentally different from comparing parties, policies, and personalities, which is typically how the run into the election will be covered by the media.
I’ve been trying to take stock of the achievements of the Harper government, and what they mean to me and what they might mean to Canada. I am quite critical of how Harper has concentrated power in his office and manhandled his ministers. Rhonda Ambrose anyone? Similar to this, Harper’s disdain for interviews, the media and the public in general is also undesirable. His obsessive control on the media was typified by today’s little showing in Richmond. Similar to this is his bundling public diplomacy, such as his no-show at the China Olympics. On the other hand, Harper does come across as a very intelligent guy and I don’t think anyone would mistake him for a wimpy pushover. Overall I would say that his human interaction skills are terrible and it would be difficult to imagine even a hardcore Conservative supporter being pleased with this aspect of Harper and his government.
When it comes to the economy I think the Harper government is probably around the 50/50 mark. The down side includes the reduction in the gst and the $100 family allowance cheque. In fact, don’t get me started on the $100 cheque, it drives me insane. Here’s the summary of the $100 allowance. Families that can afford to have only 1 working parent love it because they now get $100 per child, as opposed to them getting nothing while other parents would get some affordable daycare. Meanwhile, back in the land of everyone else, families struggle to make ends meet and therefore need to send their kids to daycare, which is really tough because there aren’t enough spots. On the positive side of the economy I can say that the Harper government hasn’t ruined it. I have no doubt that a crappy federal government couldn’t step in and royally screw things up, so that’s why I give the Conservatives credit. They didn’t sink the ship (yet). I believe there are a lot of criticisms of the economy (ie slowest growth of the G7), but let’s just call it 50/50. And that’s being generous.
Okay, here’s an easy one. Everyone that thinks Harper has done a positive job when it comes to social issues, raise your hand. Just one of you? Oh, you just wanted to go to the bathroom? Alright…
Other remaining issues that we can judge Harper’s current performance by include the military, government integrity, and health care. Health care is probably another 50/50 proposition. I could be wrong, but I think the provinces have most of the leverage when it comes to health care. The feds dole out the money and can try to mandate programs but overall I’d say that it’s a provincial matter. I’m not sure Harper has done anything terribly positive or negative for health care. As for the military, I would say that Harper is on the backside. I really don’t know much about his fascination with the arctic, and the debacle in Afghanistan admitably is not of his origin. Make no mistake about it though, if Harper had his way 6 years ago, there would be many more Canadians dead in the Central Asia, only it would be in Iraq and not Afghanistan. As for government integrity, Harper has done poorly on this too. If I was comparing him to other governments (such as the Liberals) it wouldn’t be so bad, but this article isn’t about a comparison. Harper has that whole hyprocasy thing going for him. Some prime examples are Emerson’s defection, Michael Fortier’s appointment, and the Grewal affair when Harper refused to meet with the Ethics Commissioner.
Lastly there is the issue of the environment. I really hope that I don’t need to explain too much on this one. The Harper government is not environment friendly or progressive in any manner. I’ve heard Conservatives give interviews in which they think the world is 8000 years old, and it’s this kind of attitude and belief system that perhaps poses the biggest risk to all Canadians of all different political and ideological backgrounds, for generations to come.
On his merit alone, Stephen Harper hasn’t done enough to warrant a majority government. Is he a better Prime Minister than what Dion or Layton would be? That’s a question for another time.