I have no issues with Canadian farmers 'receiving' money from the government. The market hasn't always been kind to them, especially when it comes to the cost of equipment which has greatly outstripped the money they get from their products. Since they are an important part of the Canadian economy and culture, I think it is time they got a little help. However, this is not what has happened. Unfortunately, Harper is just playing politics with farmers, which is something they don't need and don't deserve. Harper's supposed announcement today wasn't anything more than a promise to do something if a couple of conditions are met:
- If all agreements are reached and signed with the provinces and territories;
- If the March 19 budget is passed.
I'm guessing that the first condition is fairly general when it comes providing funding from one level of government to the next. The second condition, though, is the real kicker in this deal. It is also the first real strike in the game the Conservatives are hoping to play with the budget and, most likely, the subsequent election.
I'm not sure farmers should expect the money. I highly doubt the Conservatives are planning to follow through with their announcement. This is nothing more than the first step towards setting up the opposition for an attack. The Conservatives are most likely going to include something in the budget that the opposition just absolutely cannot live with and will force the budget and therefore the government to fall. An announcement like the one that was made today is more about making the opposition parties look as though they do not care about the farmers. The announcement is a political move not a goodwill gesture on the part of the Conservatives.
This is how the next few weeks are going to play out. There will probably be a couple more announcements for certain groups where the Conservatives are vulnerable. This will be followed by the budget that will include a bunch of tax break goodies for families, the working class, seniors, women, etc. These are all for image and not because the Conservatives really care. These announcements and breaks are more about disrupting the focus on the environment, health care and the like and getting attention on taxes and about backing the opposition into their respective corners. The Conservatives are trying to get a running head start on the election. Everything the Conservatives are doing is about winning an election, not governing.