Monday, 1 December 2008

playing chicken

Well things are getting politically exciting here in the icebox. Our current minority Conservative government proposed a mini-budget that left many confused and perplexed. In amongst a few proposals to ease financial were the following items: Civil servants would have their right to strike suspended for a year; the public funding for political parties, a measure introduced as a campaign funding reform measure aimed at limiting the influence of private interests, would be eliminated; and the right to appeal pay equity rulings would be removed.

The opposition parties responded that they cannot support the proposed financial statement because it addressed economic issues too lightly and included measures that reflect a particular brand of conservative ideology.

Thomas Walkom calls Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic update, "a bizarre document that bears no relation to either reality or any of the current prime minister's recent statements" and that "downplays [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper's fears of a lengthy economic depression, ignores his stricture not to cut back at a time when governments should be doing more and singles out seemingly random targets in an effort to solve problems that don't exist."

Now the opposition parties are working to form a coalition that can replace the Conservatives after a non-confidence vote and the Conservatives are backtracking on some proposals, calling the potential coalition undemocratic, releasing excerpts of covertly made tapes of opposition party meetings, and questioning the leadership of their party.


Curmudgeon-at-Large said...

You've got it partly right. Harper has not made a single mistake in this whole episode. It's going exactly as he planned. Harper is orchestrating this whole thing like the second coming of Machiavelli. The suckers leading the other parties are taking the hook and jamming it down their own throats. Harper, the consummate control freak, has foreseen the opposition reaction and the public reaction to every move he’s made. He’s set it up so he can paint all the other parties as power-hungry losers, when that label fits his party equally well. He can’t lose. Either the coalition takes over and takes the blame for the coming economic crisis, or there’s an election that no average citizen wants that he can blame on all the other parties in the hope that he will finally get the majority he wants. He will then be able to govern through the bad times and (he hopes) back into the good with his hands firmly grasping the levers of power, allowing him to implement all the policies that will reward his corporate backers, and in the process further impoverish the already poverty-stricken and destroy the environment.

You don't believe me? Think about it. First he draws them in with the bait of cutting the $1.95 per vote subsidy, knowing they can't accept it but must come up with a better excuse for a non-confidence motion. And they do - the very weak argument of failing to respond to the economic crisis with a "stimulus" when clearly that can't be rushed while the US is dithering under a lame duck and our economies are intertwined. (The ban of civil service strikes was just extra bait for the NDP.) Then he withdraws those original bait items, knowing the opposition can't back down without looking like the fools they seem to be. Then he delays the vote to give the opposition time to hang itself and him time to rally his supporters with distortions, half-truths and complete lies that we can clearly see now are working like a charm.

The man's a political genius. Too bad he's an evil genius. said...

oh curmudgeon! you have expressed my worst fears here. i hope very much that you are wrong wrong wrong and that john ivison is right:
The only certainty amidst the drama is that Stephen Harper has been wounded by his miscalculation. His reputation for strategic brilliance is in tatters and many Conservatives have started speculating about leadership challenges."

but i am not at all sure. i guess this week will tell the tale.

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