There's always talk about US politics on this forum, but rarely any discussion about Canadian politics. It's just the numbers of the membership I guess. I wanted to start a discussion about the Canadian political scene now that our Prime Minister has just called an election which will span eleven weeks (I'd hate to be volunteering for the whole thing!). Anyway, I just thought I'd throw this out here and see what people are feeling about the political parties and if there's any speculation on the outcome.
Just to start things off, I'm throwing in some of my recent rants with friends. Feel free to comment on them or start your own rant for discussion. Remember, we're Canadians, so let's keep it respectful.
It amazes me that people see Harper and his team as responsible 'fiscal managers' when they have been spending like drunken sailors in a bid to buy votes, with more money being given to ridings right up until the day of the election call.
Here in Ottawa, Pierre Poillievere just gave $120,000 for a dehumidification system at the Jewish Community Centre. Then it was off to Manotick, to give $880,000 to renovate an arena.
We also got $1.5 million from Health Minister Ambrose for CHEO to develop a mobile app so women can make 'healthy choices’ during a pregnancy.
The city of Ottawa has received six funding announcements in five days. According to Pollievre, these announcements are not political and the timing is just a coincidence coming so close to a election. Umm, sure.
Federally, the Conservatives just added millions to their childcare benefit and sent out retroactive cheques to families just in time for the election call.
In the past week, the Conservatives have also announced close to 4 billion in communities across the country since Monday. Probably just a coincidence, too.
I really believe it is an abuse of power to call an eleven week election. Harper is doing this for his own political advantage. Campaign spending for parties is capped at approximately 24 million per party during a standard 37 day campaign. When Harper passed the “Fair” Elections Act, it included a little known clause that the amount could be increased for each day the campaign is extended. Since the Conservatives have more campaign revenue than the Liberals and NDP combined, the extended campaign will allow the Conservatives to spend all the money in their war chest, and outspend the opposition parties. The other problem is that taxpayers will have to pay for Harper's political strategy to get himself re-elected The extended campaign will cost 162 million dollars which will be paid for by Canadians (Canadian Taxpayers Federation). It will also cost taxpayers more since each party receives a rebate of the campaign costs which is also paid for by taxpayers. In short, taxpayers will have to pay for the Conservative's strategy to win the election.
As the election goes on (and on and on!)and there is less certainty of a Conservative government, Harper will invoke the fear of a coalition government and that the only thing that can stop such a hellish nightmare is a majority Conservative government. What rubbish! In a multi party system, coalition governments are common around the world. After four years of Harper rule, we tend to forget the number of minority governments that were previously delivered to us through the current first-past-the-post-system. These governments barely last a year or so, and they keep all parties in perpetual campaign mode without accomplishing much of substance.
What is really undemocratic is the first-past-the-post system we currently have which allows a government to win a majority dictatorship while only receiving forty per cent of the vote, thereby allowing the leader to impose his will on the sixty per cent who didn’t vote for him. I believe that coalition governments would be more representative of the population because they involve compromise of all parties and can better represent the views of the greater majority. Both Trudeau and Harper make me sick with their fear mongering of coalitions and demonstrate a poor understanding of the electoral process, the constitution, and the role of MP's in forming a government.
Harper actually benefited from the threat of the coalition in 2008. After proroguing Parliament to save his own skin and avoid the budget vote that would have lead to a coalition, Harper came back in January 2009 with a budget that included his "Action Plan” for the economy, a multi-year plan for infrastructure spending designed to create jobs during the global recession.. This met the demands of the Liberals. As a result, the budget was passed with the support of the Liberals and the talk of a coalition died. (I won't mention the millions of dollars spent by the government to promote themselves with their action plan!). Now as we head into an election, Harper is taking the credit for stimulus spending as if it was a Conservative initiative. Talk about revisionist history.
Trudeau should be fun to watch. Out of the three leaders, I would vote him as 'most likely to flame out in the middle of a campaign.’ He's had so any gaffes in the past several years it amazes me that people would think the guy has half a brain. Nor has he taken a strong stand on foreign policy or the economy. His wishy washy opposition of BillC-51 while at the same time supporting it, is a prime example of this. On the other hand, if expectations are low for him going into the debates, then all he has to do is turn in a mediocre performance that is relatively gaffe-free and he will have surpassed people's expectations and may yet rise again in the polls.
These are just some of my thoughts. What are yours?