I would just like to share some thoughts…
Mr. Flaherty’s ‘economic update’ was a piece of flummery delivered and defended with arrogance. There is an emerging climate of fear out there… yes, it is largely unwarranted, but we all know what the mind of the ‘mob’ can do with the smallest goading. Generally, the ‘mob’ had no expectations. Unfortunately, Mr. Flaherty delivered to those expectations.
John Baird’s attitude on ‘As It Happens’ last evening was equally arrogant, and a wee bit revisionist. He is generally such a well spoken man, I was a bit surprised at points. I listened to the program and was alternately galled and incensed.
Most of the people I have spoken to/emailed have the perception that the tax incentives offered as ‘lasting initiatives for stimuli rather than following the American approach of cash injections’ is based on tax cuts that happened or were promised long before a crisis was announced. Most people I spoke with were hard pressed to identify anything new.
The 25% change in the redemption of RIFFs is not enough to make seniors comfortable with the fate of their investments.
Cutting the discretionary spending of MPs constricts a source of revenue for some Canadians and the companies they work for. Not very stimulating.
The spectre of another $300 million election should not be viewed with such revulsion. What an interesting way to inject $300 million back into the economy. And isn’t that what people want: some sort of stimuli? Maybe an election this time will get more voter participation and a clearly mandated government will emerge.
There needs to something concrete for the manufacturing sector as soon as possible.
The auto industry needs to be spanked for inefficiencies, and then given an incentive to do better. The Conservative Party and the bureaucratic spin doctors and publicists need to better publicize the letter that was sent to the Detroit automakers… very few people seem to know that its out there.
Telling a unionized workforce that one of the intrinsic rights of collective bargaining has been suspended was kinda dumb. Organized Labour nationally will get behind the NDP again, or maybe even the Liberals to protect against a domino effect that might further erode workers’ rights.
Coming off an election where the mobilized Arts Community was at least partially responsible for the Conservative Party not gaining a majority, it seems a little vindictive, and short sighted to have slapped them by wiping out international travel/shipping subsidies administered by External Affairs, shutting down the Portrait Gallery bidding process, to name just a couple of the programs that have been quietly dismantled since the election.
Mr. Harper did promise to work more closely with the Opposition Parties. That could not possibly have happened given the week’s events. The media (and those who didn’t vote Conservative) are having a field day with what’s been going on this week.
The Opposition Parties are starting to prove that they are able to ‘play nice’ together. The media (and those who didn’t vote Conservative) are having a field day with what’s been going on since Thursday.
The media (and those who didn’t vote Conservative) have been able to interpret Mr. Harper’s comment “The opposition has every right to defeat the government, but Stephane Dion does not have the right to take power without an election.” as a narcissistic response. The misguided retort that I have heard most is; “…but does Stephen Harper have the right to hold on to power without owning the popular vote?”. Slightly over 165,000 less people voted for the Conservative Party overall, than they did in 2006. Yes, less people voted this time, which may account for part of the discrepancy, so that may be a bit of a ‘red herring’. But the Conservative Party only achieved 38% of the popular vote. That means that 62% of the voting public question whether the Conservative Party should govern.
Mr. Harper was seen to be ‘playing politics’ when he broke the Conservative Party brokered law on election timing. Not very ‘democratic’.
How can anyone really call the formation of a coalition government ‘undemocratic’ in light of the way so many parliaments work around the world? Think particularly of Israel’s Knesset as a prime example. It gets done all the time… with varying degrees of success. In Canada’s case, a coalition government would represent 62% of the popular vote. I believe that to be a majority.
Poking the Opposition Parties with a sharp stick by removing the subsidy was inappropriate, especially after having passed other measures to restrict political party fundraising during the last parliament. Mixed messaging from Mr. Flaherty and ‘government sources’ about whether the subsidies to the political parties would be part of the ways and means vote doesn’t help.
All parties should be aware of and use Ms. May’s popularity; her party could be a valuable grass roots ally going forward. A fourth viable party can work to the advantage of the Conservative Party, or the Liberals, or the NDP. It kinda depends who taps into their energy and growing power base first.
My advice to Mr. Harper and to the rest of the Conservative caucus; for the short term, stop overtly playing politics and govern appropriate to the needs of the country. The Conservative Party stands to lose the privilege.
Reflect, reconcile, consult and then act. But do it quickly.