Canadian federal politics is becoming so predictable that I almost can’t be be bothered to write about it anymore. Fashion commentary is infinitely more stimulating.
The Latest From Mr. Harper and the Conservatives: a call for massive government spending with after-the-fact oversight and by golly if he doesn’t get what he wants he is prepared to force another election. For details, see here.
I am actually feeling kind of bad for “fiscal conservatives” these days. I’m not sure I ever want to know what it feels like to be betrayed every single day by the people I elected.
P.s. Mr. Harper, forcing an election will only further delay the “stimulus” spending so it seems a little (and by “little” I mean “outrageously”) inconsistent for you to even threaten an election over delays in spending. If you really want to “stimulate” the economy, why not substantially and immediately increase EI benefits? Not only will this help those in need, they are very likely to spend it immediately giving the sought after boast in consumer spending.
Actually the more I think about what Harper is proposing, the more worrying it becomes. If Harper gets his way on this “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to federal stimulus spending, in actual fact, it will be essentially him and his inner circle spending billions of our dollars as they see fit.
I know Mr. Harper likes to think he’s smart, but he — nobody — is that smart. Remember, Mr. MA in Economics that’s why market outcomes are often better than government interventions based on the decisions of a few politicians and bureaucrats — functioning markets aggregate the judgements of many (if not all) competent persons and for this reason they are more likely to pick the best outcomes in the long run. Even if we overlook the incredible opportunity for corruption this kind of spending will create, even if we pretend Harper and his circle will actually make well-intentioned and non-partisan choices, their decisions are still much less likely to bring about the best outcomes for Canadians than, say, the economic decisions of tens of thousands of Canadians spending the additional money they could receive through a direct EI cash infusion.
His hubris is unbelievable! If Harper gets away with this, we will be moving to a command and control economy that would make Stalin proud. And sadly, given the state of affairs over on the Opposition benches, the only people who can now stop him are the members of his own party and I don’t imagine that happening any time soon.
From Mr. Ignatieffe and the Liberals: rather than take a stand on an issue which they consider very serious, they abstain from a vote — in this instance, on a parliamentary committee — and promise to reverse the decision “when they form government”. See details here. Oh yes, they are also doing that nifty stamp, holler but do nothing tactic on the budget. Hmm, this all sounds mighty familiar. I believe these parliamentary tactics were equally impotent under Mr. Dion. I also can’t believe the Liberals seriously believe they can get anywhere by courting the rural vote. Their cluelessness is astounding!
From Mr. Layton and the NDP: On my view, Mr. Layton and his team need to work much harder to make the federal NDP relevant again.
From Ms. May and the Green Party: More messaging about how the Green Party will one day be relevant, seriously, we promise, really, come on, believe us, please. See here and here. I think the party and a leader have a lot of promise but they will remain irrelevant until a seat is won. Ms. May’s decision to run against McKay was a huge, huge error which may haunt the party for years to come.