Thursday, September 17, 2009

Damned if they Do; Damned If they Don't--Starring Socialists, Separatists & Rest of the Cast

Who said Canadian politics was boring? It can be very entertaining when Iggy & Stevie are playing a game of 'Who blinks first'. A cartoon posted on Montreal Simon's blog illustrates exactly what the current situation is.

It seems all the parties  & those whiny Canadians who seem to be afraid of polling stations may have gotten a reprieve after all. Both will be signing the Harpercons' Ways & Means bill; the Bloc will sign because of the popular home renovation tax credit & NDP because of the EI plan.

After reading the various comments to articles written on the story, I was not surprised but was disappointed to see the readers still bitching. I swear, I don't envy any of these politicians & their parties. They can never win. Damned if they do; Damned if they don't. What amazes me about average Canadians who comment on these sites is their lack of knowledge of how Canadian Politics really works. I would expect this more from the American Tea-baggers, Birthers & other neo-cons who can't even spell the slogans on their protest signs correctly, but from Canadians?? Aren't we supposed to be more knowledgeable & logical??

One aspect of Canadian politics alot of Canadians just don't get: Sorry, folks, Iggy did not & is NOT calling an election: only the Prime-minister can do that. He simply put the PM on notice is all. While he picked a rather aggressive way of doing it, I not only understand why he did it, I applaud it. It was about time.

I never believed Iggy was suitable to run the Liberal Party or any other Canadian party for that matter due to his long time absence outside of Canada, limited political experience & lack of charisma. I still don't. More & more I see he is the wrong person to lead Canada or any political party for that matter, mainly because of his "Think big & global" ads, proving he is out of touch with average Canadian working folks & we still don't know much about him. Although, I did catch a recent ad of his in the Toronto Star actually addressing the Canadian jobless rate & proposing job creation & training, so maybe there's hope that he will catch on to what is actually important to Canadians these days.

For better or worse, he is the leader of the Liberals & for the time being he's basically all we got to oppose Harpercons & after 79 times, it was time he made some kind of move; ready or not. Like Stephane Dion before him, he becomes the wishy - washy laughing stock of his own party & of Canada if doesn't throw down the gauntlet at some point. Nevertheless, he is still villified for such a move.

Well, what would have happened if Iggy hadn't have thrown the gauntlet when he did? My guess is that Harpercons wouldn't have put out that EI plan  (not a great one as most would still not qualify for the extra help), when they did. Still, considering ol' Stevie thinks of EI, this is already a stretch:
"In terms of the unemployed, of which we have over a million-and-a-half, don't feel particularly bad for many of these people. They don't feel bad about it themselves, as long as they're receiving generous social assistance and unemployment insurance."
- Stephen Harper, then vice-president of the National Citizens Coalition, in a June 1997 Montreal meeting of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing American think-tank. 
Evidence that he would not have introduced an EI change of any kind had he a majority government or if Iggy hadn't have served notice.

We may be in economic recovery, but unemployment is still very high, these jobs won't come back & Canadians are still losing or at risk of losing the jobs they have. Yet, Canadians still think it's more important to not go to the polls & blame others rather than fight to have EI reform.  Why shouldn't we fight for EI reform? Canadians would do well to take a look at their pay stubs & realize that they pay into the EI fund with every pay checque so shouldn't it be easier to access when we need it? That proposal of the Harpercons is the best they're going to offer & Layton knows it. That's why he's voting with it. That & it would help those in the failing car industry & manufacturing sectors in NDP territory. We will have to count on another Government to implement a better EI plan.

When Iggy starts actually opposing the Harpercons, he is villified for 'calling' or the better choice of words here, provoking a Fall election. Funny when Harper called an election around this time last year after seeing his numbers touting him in majority government territory, no one blamed him nearly as much, at least not for that anyway. Announcing plans to cut funding to arts & culture was his downfall & cost him dearly; particulary in Quebec where arts & culture is a mainstay. I don't know who his advisors are, but he must either have advisors that should be fired or he just wasn't listening to them. Anyone could see he was in trouble in Quebec when the Federalist premier & a former Tory under Brian Mulroney campaigns for the Bloc. Be that as it may; he still got a stronger minority & still people in general weren't as hostile toward him as they are with Iggy today.

I would guess that no one is happier anymore than Iggy, himself. Furthermore, I wouldn't have put it passed Iggy if he made some kind of deal with Layton to vote along with this proposed EI reform. Harper only needs one party to keep him afloat. It turns out he will get the double gift of both the 'Socialists' & the 'Separatists' saving his government & ol' Stevie would be a fool to refuse...Not that he will thank them, of course, nor will the whiny Canadian population for that matter.

Speaking of 'Socialists' & 'Separatists' they're taking a beating in the comments of the news media sites:  Everything from calling  them hypocrites for signing on this Friday to simply making fun of them. Not that they care: Layton may well be on his way out the door as it is & the Home reno tax credit is something Duceppe knows Quebecers will like.

There is still hatred toward that  coalition government that almost happened last year under Dion & Layton. Let's remember that this coalition was assembled because Stevie bit off more than he can chew when he announced there would be no economic stimulus offered while the other G20 countries were offering stimulus packages. Given that Dion had just lost the last election what choice did he have? Had he voted along with this, this would surely have hammered the last nail on the coffin of the Liberal party. I am certain there would have been as much hatred & vitriol from Canadians if Dion had chosen to vote along with that statement.

Yes, we are in an albeit slow economic recovery but let's remember that it wasn't Harpercons who saved the day; it was that threat of a coalition with the Liberals, the 'separatists' & the 'socialists'. Had there been no stimulus as Stevie wanted in the first place, we would sure not be able to brag about coming out of the recession today.

Ironically, the most stable & consistant federal political party of today with a leader who seems to show the most integrity happens to be the 'Separatist' Big Bad Bloc Quebecois & Gilles Duceppe. Now can we understand why even the non-sovereignists of Quebec will continue to vote for them? Also, as he has pointed out, he is not for sale & he will go motion by motion & his reasoning for voting with the Harpercons or not will depend on how well a particular piece of legislation will serve or will not serve Quebec's interests. Duceppe & the Bloc also have nothing to lose or gain at this point.

No one wants to be rid of ol' Stevie more than I do, but as a realist, I'm relieved an election isn't being held today given the recent polls  suggesting a growing lead for the Harpercons, in spite of that closed door video. It seems most would argue (logical reasoning in most cases; except this one) that we should vote in the devil we do know as opposed to the one we don't know. Only few of us think of voting with the reverse reasoning; we don't like the devil we know & don't believe the one we don't know could be any worse.  If the Liberals & the others continue to keep ol' Stevie on his toes whenever he hints at reverting to his old ways, this is the best it's going to be until the next election further down the road.

Who knows what can happen in a few months? Perhaps the Liberals can get lucky & Iggy decides to resign & they get a new leader. With the exception of the Bloc, all the parties could stand to have new leaders. For those who keep blaming the Bloc for successive minority governments, the only way for either the Liberals or the Conservatives to be able to take away at least some of the raison d'etre of the Bloc is have a French speaking leader from Quebec like Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney & Jean Chretien; the latter achieving successive majority governments inspite of the Bloc as in recent years, those parties tend to be the most successful.

The parties may be in messy situations right now, but Canadian voters aren't much better. The only thing they are sure of is they want a majority government even if it is the Harpercons with their U.S. Republican style of governing & that they have what I like to now call pollingstationphobia. If there is an election further down the road in 2010, I'm sure they're going to be whining about it again whether it's the Liberals who provoke one or if ol' Stevie himself calls it.

Let's also remember that while the 'Socialists' & the 'Separatists' will never form an official federal government, they will be the stars in the events to come. 

I have a question for Canadians pollingstationphobia: Perhaps it would be best we never have elections? That the Government is appointed by some faction? Would they perhaps like to take a page from the Bernie Ecclestone book of political ideologies  "The trouble with politicians and democracy is they all the time have to compromise, they can't do what they want to do because there is somebody in opposition. It certainly takes a lot longer to do something." Of course not, so anytime there may be an election, they would be best to take the few hours off work offered by employers on election day & stop by polling station to put that check mark next to the name they support & be on their way. See, nothing to it!

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