October 29, 2006

Handcuffing Opponents

In Saturday's Toronto Star there is an article that mentions the Liberals will likely have a deficit when provincial elections take place next year. The deficit total will be approximately $2.2 billion which is around $700 million more than previously thought. Part of the problem - but not completely - seems to be related to the thus far refusal of the Federal Conservative government to honour an agreement between the federal and provincial governments. And this is after having a $13.2 billion surplus from last year and supposedly looking at a surplus that is at least in the range of 4-5 billion for this year. Yet, the federal government is refusing to honour agreements, fund much needed programs, while cutting others and divulge itself of the money by placing it all against our debt. So why would the Conservatives, in spite of having access to large amounts of money, acting in such a manner? It's about ideology. I don't think it's any secret at this point that our Conservative government is very ideological and will do anything to push their own agenda. They:

  • cut funding to Liberal social programs (7),
  • are planning to readdress the SSM issue, despite the majority of the public being in favour of SSM and against reopening the issue (1);
  • dropped the planned federal Day-Care program, despite their being a lack of spaces and high costs associated with available spaces (4);
  • released an environmental program that doesn't do anything except set voluntary targets by 2020 and micro-manage symptoms (6); and
  • against economic sense, cut 1% from the GST rate (5).

And they've done all this while accusing the media of having agendas against them and being one of the most closed-door governments in years; evidenced by punishing open members (2, 8) and muzzling bureaucrats (3).

So what does any of this have to do with the Ontario government facing a deficit... Anyone remember the unprecedented comments Harper made in favour of John Tory as the "next premier of Ontario"? Reneging on commitments made to Ontario, much like cutting the GST and underfunding/cutting needed social programs is about ideology and essentially trying to handcuff opponents. Harper is looking for ways to kill any method of future governments to fund social programs by slashing possible revenues and leaving them in a position where he (or whoever is running the Conservatives at the time) could corner them by claiming they are either going to be raising taxes to fund our programs when money is needed or they are pandering to interest groups. In other words, he's making decisions now with the goal of effecting the future. This isn't just being limited to the federal arena either. The decision to leave Ontario in a worse bind is more of the same. Harper is looking to give the Ontario PCs a target to attack - the deficit - and probably a boost by granting some acknowledgement when Tory goes on to say that he would be able to work with Harper on financial agreements. This is about Harper trying to influence a provincial election.

This Conservative government is brutally ideological and is willing to sacrifice the public good to meet it's own agenda, which is not supported by the majority of Canadians (winning an election through first-past-the-post is not a majority support, even less so when you're a minority government). If it were supported by the majority there wouldn't be the need to hide from the media, and muzzle its own members and public servants. This is a government that is intent on limiting the ability of future governments, probably knowing that the chances of it being them is extremely low, to make decisions regarding social policy.

October 26, 2006

So This Is What We Get?

As many people have already noticed, a Republican election ad running in Tennessee - besides being racist - mocks Canada and its role in the world. While I'm not necessarily surprised or thrilled by an attack ad being racist (Republicans are getting desperate at this point. i.e. Michael J. Fox, the Bin Laden ad) I am surprised at the jab thrown at Canada. First off, we're small on the election agenda in the U.S., let alone Tennessee. Secondly, with the relationship that the Republicans have with our current Conservative government I was shocked to know they would do this, especially knowing that the Canadian public has a dislike for Bush. Any chance the opposition in Canada has to link Harper with Bush and put a negative spin on it is a given that it will be taken, so I wouldn't think that the Republicans wouldn't want to hurt their brothers on the right. But there it is, an outright public attack on Canada. And this is after:

  • Harper's attempted sell-out of Canada's softwood lumber industry,
  • he changed Canada's mandate in Afghanistan,
  • the Conservatives backed a controversial U.S. supported-Guatemala for a UN security council seat,
  • Harper has begun toting the American-line on Israel.

Some of these decisions are not widely popular with the Canadian public and are clear moves to appease the American government. But I guess this is what we get for having our minority Conservative government sucking up to Bush and his Republican chums.

October 23, 2006

It's been so long...

After a whirlwind summer, that included a wedding and a move to another city, I will finally get back to my blog. After nearly 5 months of absence I hope to get back and make contributions regularly. I have had a lot of time to think about the Canadian political scene and think it's about time that I begin to once again attempt to create dialogue with respect to it. And with that, I will have a couple posts appearing shortly.

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)