Saturday, October 11, 2008

Paid for by the Official Agent of the Liberal Party of Canada

Paid for by the Official Agent of the Liberal Party of Canada. Ok maybe not, but after reading the following, and only endorsement that I have seen for Dion, I think it should have the above disclaimer written across the page. You want your Liberal talking points, please read the following.

From the Toronto Star (big surprise) I was going to Fisk the entire thing but it is so full of holes and out right lies that it isn't even worth the effort; other than to comment that if the Star thinks that imposing a carbon tax on Ontario's manufacturing sector would be a good thing, then they are truly too partisan to be taken seriously and should be considered as nothing but an extension of the Liberal Party of Canada. Take note advertisers, the Star wants to destroy the Ontario economy.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has run a government that has put partisanship and ideology ahead of the public interest.

In fiscal policy, Harper has pursued a neo-conservative strategy to cut the GST – not, as economists had recommended, income taxes – in order to reduce dramatically the role of government. He inherited a $12 billion surplus from the previous Liberal government (under Paul Martin) and has squandered almost all of it. His moves have left the government with little room to manoeuvre in the current crisis.

In foreign affairs, Harper has diminished Canada's reputation as an independent voice and aligned his government with George Bush's White House on a range of issues, from the Middle East to the "war on terror." He has also worsened relations with China, the world's biggest emerging economy, and fallen behind other Western countries in developing ties with India, the second biggest.

Taking a cue from the Ontario Conservative government under Mike Harris, Harper has pursued policies of deregulation. He has either allowed sectors to be self-regulating (food, for example), or he has fired the regulator (Linda Keen at the nuclear safety commission).

On the environment, Harper scrapped the Kyoto accord and came up with a new plan that allows greenhouse gas emissions to continue to grow, especially in his home province of Alberta.

In federal-provincial relations, he has spent 33 months in power without once holding a conference of first ministers. And he has managed the neat trick of alienating the governments of both Quebec and Ontario. Even Pierre Trudeau didn't do that. Furthermore, his finance minister, Jim Flaherty, has unapologetically dissed Ontario as the "last place" to invest in Canada.

On the cities front, there have been some grudging moves by Harper's government to help municipalities cope with the enormous infrastructure challenges they face. But the federal Conservative attitude toward cities was best summed up by the aforementioned finance minister, who said dismissively that Ottawa is not in the business of "fixing potholes."

On the aboriginal file, while Harper extended a meaningful apology over residential schools, he also ripped up the Kelowna accord, thereby dealing a severe blow to relations with native communities.

And having castigated the Liberals for being anti-democratic when he was in opposition, Harper ran a government that was secretive and controlling to an astonishing degree. Independent voices in the Conservative caucus were expelled, ministers prohibited from saying anything much, and the media frozen out (until the election neared).

To top it all off, in calling this election Harper broke his own law fixing the election date for 2009.

Harper did all that with a minority. If he got a majority, there are very real concerns that he would go much further and pave the way for two-tier medicare, pursue more military adventures with the Americans, scrap the gun registry, and introduce more Bush-like tax cuts that would hamper any future government's ability to govern.

Harper's campaign has been no less mean-spirited than his government. It has been dominated by attack ads that ridicule his chief rival (Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion) and misrepresent the key plank in his platform (the "Green Shift"). The Conservatives have also pursued wedge issues such as youth crime and funding cuts for the arts.

Latterly, during the market meltdown, with Canadians fearful for their jobs and their savings, Harper sounded more like a broker than a prime minister with his message that "some good buying opportunities are opening up." And when Dion, who has a hearing problem, stumbled in a television interview because he had trouble comprehending a question, Harper absurdly seized on this as proof that the Liberals "really don't know what they would do on the economy."

For all these reasons, Harper and the Conservatives do not deserve to be re-elected on Tuesday.

We prefer Dion and the Liberals.

Dion, to be sure, has his faults. His communications skills are wanting, his approach can be somewhat academic, and he did not do his job as leader to make sure his party was fully prepared for this election. Mid-campaign, it appeared Dion might be leading the Liberals to a defeat of historic proportions.

But Dion has shown growth in this campaign and appeared finally to be connecting with voters at the end. He has also demonstrated strength of character in withstanding a withering negative ad campaign that would have brought lesser leaders to their knees.

Dion's intelligence is beyond question, as is his love of country.

As well, the Liberal team is definitely stronger, with candidates in the GTA like Bob Rae, Michael Ignatieff, Ken Dryden, Gerard Kennedy, Martha Hall Findlay, Navdeep Bains and Ruby Dhalla. Tellingly, Harper and the Conservatives failed to attract any name candidates to their local banner in this election.

Finally, the Liberal platform has much in it to like, including an emphasis on building infrastructure, fighting poverty, expanding child care and working with the provinces (especially Ontario).

The Green Shift, so ridiculed by the Conservatives, may seem complicated to the average voter. But it is actually simpler and more transparent than the Conservatives' own cap-and-trade plan, with "intensity-based" targets. The Conservative plan would also involve higher costs for consumers, but they would be hidden.

The New Democrats have an attractive leader in Jack Layton – articulate and knowledgeable. And the NDP platform is very similar to the Liberals', with one notable exception: its reliance on hiking corporate taxes by $50 billion. That could scare business away from Canada and is at odds with the direction taken by other liberal and social democratic governments.

As well, in Ontario at least, a ballot cast for the NDP would split the opposition vote and allow the Conservatives to go up the middle to victory – except, that is, in ridings the NDP already holds.

As for the Greens, their leader, Elizabeth May, has brought a feisty new presence to the campaign trail. But in this province, where the Greens are trailing well behind, a vote for them will clearly be wasted. It would be tantamount to voting for Ralph Nader, the Green candidate for U.S. president in 2000, who drew just enough votes away from Al Gore to allow the climate-change- denying Bush to win.

In summary, the re-election of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives would be bad for Toronto, bad for Ontario, and bad for Canada. St├ęphane Dion and the Liberals are the best alternative.


Mutton Chops said...

Well, you just helped them spread their propaganda but anyway...

Apparently you can just call yourself a media outlet and then skirt third party financing rules.

Ardvark said...

Anyone believing the Bush stuff or that 37 billion in debt payment is somehow squandering money would not be voting for Harper anyways, and they already have a subscription to the Star so I doubt reprinting this crap on the blog will have any negative effects.

Anonymous said...

The sister publication of Pravda and the Communist Worker's Daily can always be counted on to support more government intervention into the lives of the citizens of Canada. This rag worships at the altar of big government.
For a publication that is quick to bring up the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution at every turn, they sure are quick to champion the direct intervention of the Federal Government into the realm of city infrastructure. Cities are the creatures of provincial governments. The constitution is quite clear: the feds deal with the provinces only. The provinces get any money being handed over from Ottawa and dole it out to cities as they see fit. Like it or not, that's the way the system works. Unfortunately, the only province that seems to recognize this is Quebec, and they are also the only ones who have the jam to tell the feds that this is how it will be.