Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Thoughts on the impending Canadian national election

So we are having a national election in Canada on October 14. I will put my two cents in about that.

We have four political parties in Canada at the national level: Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Green. There is also a party called the Bloc Quebecois that currently serves no useful purpose and is regional only, being solely interested in the welfare of the province of Quebec, and only running candidates in that province.

The Conservatives have been in power for about 3 years, but they have a minority position, meaning that if a number of the opposition parties combine to vote against them, the government will fall. The Conservatives called this election because they believe the polls that show they have enough national support to be able to form a majority government. We will see. There are two weeks left, and that is a long time in an election campaign.


I have decided to vote for these guys because I think they have given us good governance over the past 3 years, not outstanding government, but good and steady government. They have not proposed anything really radical in that time despite the enormous efforts of their opponents to paint them as dangerous during the last election campaign. They have been fiscally conservative, carrying on the mantle left by the previous governing Liberals, and continue to operate a budget that has been in a surplus position for the past 15 years, making us the only G8 country to financially perform in this fashion. This surplus is used in part to pay down the national debt, which, in a time of a world-wide credit crunch, is no small bonus.

I also like them because they have not bought into the hoax of global warming brought about by human production of CO2. And they understand that as businesses begin to crash because of an impending global recession this is not the time to foist additional taxes on industry – it is the time to relax them.

With respect to their leader, Stephen Harper, I am less enchanted. He strikes me as being a very cold Mackerel and except for the very peculiar circumstances of Canadian politics over the last decade; I don’t think he ever would have been elected as the leader of his party. He strikes me as a guy who would have been a superb Deputy Minister in the government and his manner in governing his political caucus is very reminiscent of how DMs operate.

Mind you, he has some real idiots in his caucus, so keeping a lid on those political embarrassments is actually a testament to his abilities. The media mostly hate him because he is able to stop them from getting the juicy stories from his single digit IQ members.

On the downside of the Conservative current political promises, I think that allowing 14 year-olds to a get life sentences for murder is stupid. However, I don’t think there are many judges in this country who would hand out such a sentence except in the most egregious circumstances. I am also a little concerned about the opening up of Canada for sale to foreign businesses. On the other hand, my concern is tempered by the fact that we have to remain open for business in a deep recession in order to keep our economy alive.


These guys are in freefall at the moment in the polls and may end up not forming the official opposition. I think the leader, Stephane Dion, is receiving the lion’s share of the blame for this. I don’t think it is deserved. It reminds me very much of the days of the Progressive Conservative leader Joe Clark who the media ridiculed because he had no chin. We hear that Dion mangles the English language – well, so did Chretien, his predecessor two back, and he was elected to 3 terms in office, and he was a very effective Prime Minister despite that.

What is true about the Liberals, however, is that they have a platform of promising everybody everything. That was exactly the problem that cost the previous leader his job, so they appear not to have learned their lesson. Furthermore, it is clear that two best contenders for Dion’s job have not taken their loss lightly and would not be unhappy to see him get hit in ass by the door on the way out. Not a united party.

Finally, the total cost of their promises amounts to about $80 billion, the most expensive package of all the parties. And their green shift policy simply means more taxes for no apparent results -- it is shifting the green from your pockets to their pockets.

New Democratic Party

For the life of me, I fail to understand why this party continues to use this name. It has been around for more than 40 years so it certainly is not new. And from the many elites in this party I have personally dealt with, it is not any more democratic than the other parties.

I remember when I was first eligible to vote in a national election (1968) when I was an undergraduate in university. One of my English professors, who I admired, was the NDP candidate in the city where I was attending school. I went to hear one of his political speeches. He talked about the working families and getting them a better deal. He talked about all the wonderful spending programs the NDP had in mind for “social justice” (whatever that meant). During the question period he was asked by a member of the audience how the NDP would pay for this: “Why, we will tax the corporations, they have lots of money”, was the response. He didn’t get elected.

Now fast forward to 2008 and listen to the speeches of the current leader, Jack Layton. He could have dusted off the speech of my old English professor from 40 years ago and read it word for word. These guys never learn. They have no sense of how an economy operates.
The last time Ontario fell on its head and elected an NDP government, the government tried to spend its way out of a recession and virtually wrecked the economy of Canada’s most productive province. It took years to recover from that. Elect Jack Layton and the NDP at our peril.


As you may have gathered by now, I am not much taken with the whole global warming thing, but I do believe there are other serious threats to our planet that need to be addressed, such as the rapid loss of biodiversity. I have no issue with a party that wants to filter government programs and spending first through an environmental filter, although, sometimes some of that “what’s good for the environment” can get a bit kooky: like banning chlorine, or not investing in nuclear energy.

I like this party mainly because I think it eats into the constituency base of the NDP, even though it is not strictly speaking a left wing party. I also think the time has come to offer an alternative choice to the voters who have gotten kind of jaded with the big three.

Its leader, Elizabeth May, does not impress me as much as its previous leader, and today I see there is some scuttlebutt running around the Internet that both she and other members of her party may be supporters of Hezbollah. Not good news.

She got herself invited to the all-candidates debate on Thursday and we will see how she performs. I hope somebody calls her on this Hezbollah business and gets that settled up. There is no chance Green will form the government, but I do hope they get a couple of seats and become a presence in the House of Commons.

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