May 01, 2005

When Dealing with the Devil....

Was this really a "deal with the devil" as Harper put so plainly? Or is this deal what Canadians need? This deal, if it gets passed, will finally see the long overdue national child-care money given to the provinces (Liberals pledged this years ago), more money put into education, more money for job training and a greater push for Kyoto. I realize Kyoto is contentious because it is a thin policy but let's face the facts, it's better then nothing at all. Harper has branded Layton as opportunistic and Martin as desperate, and I'm not going to dispute either claim. I agree that Martin is probably doing this as a last-ditch effort to hold onto power and that Layton is taking advantage of the Liberal situation. However, I really don't care because these are things that need to get done. We need more money for education because the costs are too high for lower to middle income earners. We need more affordable job training because there are too many people without the right job skills to fill the plethora of available jobs. We need Kyoto because pollution issues such as smog are wreaking havoc on people's health and our health system. Let us also not forget that this NDP-Liberal budget still guarantees tax cuts for small and mid-size businesses. This also extends the life of the current government and the motions that are already on the table such as Same-Sex Marriage, etc. But herein lies the problem for Harper and the Conservatives; this is a budget for the majority of people. This is a budget that is focused on lower to middle income earners. This is not a budget for large corporations and the wealthy. And as such Harper wants to bring the government down. Since the Conservatives do not generally support useful social initiatives they are going to try to force an election - a venture that may prove successful. But let's be honest with ourselves, this budget is exactly why the Conservatives want an election. When Harper, buoyed by strong poll numbers, first started his election talk he said he would wait to see if the Canadian population wanted an election. Well, most polls didn't ever show election support higher than around 11%. Definitely not resounding support in my opinion. However, he still kept up his talk, more than likely because the Conservatives fear several motions that are about to (presumably) get passed; most notably the Same-Sex Marriage Bill. But now that there's a budget for the people in place, Harper has even more reason to be concerned and therefore will try to railroad actual progress. And despite Harper's claims that the NDP only have 20% support of the nation and shouldn't dictate public policy, combined with the Liberals they have more than 50% of the votes from the last election. This budget also covers most of the major concerns and areas of importance for average Canadians such as health, education, jobs, etc. While the Conservatives and other critics may argue that Layton is opportunistic, and I tend to agree, at least he is being opportunistic for the right reasons. Layton is being opportunistic for the benefit of lower and middle-class income earners; the same two groups that make up more than 75% of Canada's population. At least he isn't being opportunistic, like the Bloc - who are hoping to cash in on Adscam to fuel separation - or the Conservatives - who are hoping to stop a made-for-the-people-not-the-rich-budget. If Harper wants to talk about the darkside being involved in this deal then we should be supporting the lesser of the three evils - in this case my vote goes to Layton.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)