Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Do You Want to See a Real Side Deal?

Wasn't it just last week that the Con's were bleating disingenuously about Dion making a side deal with the provinces? It was all nonsense of course, but that has never stopped them has it?

Never a group to shy away from hypocrisy however, they brazenly announced their own real plans for side deals and it's something that should concern the 70% of us who would never vote for these guys.

It's frightening to see how arrogantly Harper and his party are, in terms of going forward with what we've known has been his intent all along.

In the clearest indication to date that the Conservatives are willing to offer exclusive arrangements for each province, Mr. Cannon signalled the Harper government is prepared to shift the way the national government works with its provincial counterparts.

While he declines to use the word "asymmetrical," Mr. Cannon concedes the effect of his proposed framework creates precisely such a landscape.

Of course it's going to create an asymmetrical system. Worse, it's the path to turning provinces into independent states, yes, somewhat like the US. That's the plan.

Now, before anyone on the Left chimes in with 'the Liberals propped up the government' nonsense, consider what we were faced with. Had we gone to an election early on, we'd either be where we are now or worse and Jack would be just as unable to do anything as he is now. So could we put that aside that old chestnut and work together here for common cause?

To be honest, I find this article to be really depressing. The article primarily focuses on labour issues and some could read it and find it pretty innocuous. Perhaps that is why the Con's are going forward at the pace they are. Articles are written but there is no context given, as in this one, as it relates to Harper's ultimate vision of this country.

The strategy could lead to a restructuring of powers between the federal and the provincial governments, especially given that the Harper government's recent rounds of tax cuts reduced Ottawa's ability to launch new social programs.

This article however provides a bit of context.

But Brooke Jeffrey, a professor of political science at Concordia University, said she believes Mr. Harper is using decentralization as a “back-door way” to achieve his neoconservative goal of less government.

“If you devolve responsibility to the provinces and you only give them a certain amount of money and essentially cut them adrift, you're going to guarantee the withdrawal of the state from certain areas of activity that you don't already believe in,” she said.

By pursuing a rigid interpretation of the Constitution, Mr. Harper ignores Canada's regional disparity and the disconnect between provincial responsibility and federal funding, she added.

“Mr. Harper is being either willfully blind or ingenuous,” she said, noting that the fathers of Confederation never envisioned Canada's welfare state when they set out provincial responsibilities.

Harper is not one to be willfully blind. The man has been focused on this forever and now sees his first opportunity to implement his dream.

Equalization “wasn't a power grab by the federal government. It was an attempt to provide a minimum level of standards and services to all Canadians wherever they live,” she said.

“That's why there are federal-provincial relations, that's why there are all these agreements to try to work this out. Provinces used to like this and many of them still do.”

Let us hope that in spite of this being a tricky subject, especially in Quebec where we now have by elections, some honesty will be spoken and more articles that actually explore the meaning of what is being said rather than just repeating how the Conservatives parse it, will be written.

Update - I just watched Harper speak. What a sham. Oddly in French he can pronounce Dion correctly. When he speaks English he loses that ability magically. Take note people, in English dee-yawn is all the rage.

Beyond that, when is the last time you saw a PM speak to party politics.? PM's are meant to speak to the country, not their party faithful.

Disgusting. This man is disgusting.

Update 2 - Andrew Cohen article


Anonymous said...

To change too much with the provinces, he would have to open the Constitution and change anything
Flanagan should be jumping for joy!
Harper also would have to have a majority to touch the Constitution.
The Supreme court will have a say in this.
Dangerous, dangerous lot of CRAPs should be ousted fast !!!!!

knb said...

Dangerous, dangerous lot of CRAPs should be ousted fast !!!!!

I can't disagree with that, but we who are left of Harper have to band together to accomplish it.

ottlib said...

I read this article this morning and I could not get worked up about it.

Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are not the only people who have taken a run at Confederation, only to have their ass handed to them by its citizens.

Just ask Kim Campbell what she may think about Mr. Mulroney's attempts in the 80s.

The same will happen again. Canadians do love their country and even though they may complain about the Federal Government they do know that it is a unifying force within it.

Mr. Cannon is wrong. There are still a large number of Quebecers who believe the Federal Government is still the greatest protection from the worst instincts of the seperatists. So, they will not necessarily go along with this grand scheme.

The same goes for Albertans. Certainly there is a rather vocal minority who would love to see Eastern Canada "freeze in the dark". However, they do not make up the majority and perversely the very economic success of Alberta is increasing the number of people who would reject any kind of radical change to our Federation. There is migration from provinces who are more supportive of the Federal Government to Alberta and they are able to do so because of the nature of our federation.

So, what we are seeing is a nibbling around the edges that has been going on for decades. Nothing we have seen in those decades have really fundamentally changed the federation.

The Green Shift Plan should be a demonstration of the power of the Federal Government to create new programs. That plan can be implemented and there really is nothing the provinces can do about it but jump up and down and throw a temper tantrum.

To prevent the Federal Government from creating new social programs someone going to have to open up the Constitution and actually take away its power to do so. Any other method that anybody thinks of will not work, or at least not for long.

A case in point is the current fiscal situation of the Federal Government. Mr. Harper reduced taxes he did not take its taxing power away. In a few years the Canadian economy will begin to grow sustantially again and they will have much more fiscal room as a result.

All of this is not to say we need to be complacent. We should keep an eye on Mr. Harper and his fellow travellers. However, I would not get too worked up by this latest development.

Ryan said...

One of the few advantages I could see, being an Albertan, of a decentralized confederation, would be that my fellow Albertans would realize that their own economic elites have as much to blame for their problems as the eastern bogeyman.

Anonymous said...

"I just watched Harper speak. What a sham. Oddly in French he can pronounce Dion correctly. When he speaks English he loses that ability magically. Take note people, in English dee-yawn is all the rage."

Get a hold of yourself you're losing it. Don't you see when he speaks in french he pronounces his Mr.Dion name in french and when he speaks in english he pronounces in english.

Don't you think if the Liberal party of Canada thought that our PM Mr.Harper was making fun of Mr.Dion's name that they would not be complaining from the roof tops?

I suppose when you do your name calling of ministers that is o.k. Right?

Come on stop being so paranoid it isn't good for your health;)

Now you could criticize me by saying "that I have no idea what I'm talking about," and also bring up the 60-70% of the people of this country.

I listened to his speech and found that his french was great. He was also talking about the accomplishment of his government whether you like it or not.

jarrid said...

Stephen Harper is the best leader that any of the major parties' have had since Jean Chrétien.

The Liberals need to replace Dion as soon as it becomes feasible. And they will have to avoid making a third mistake in a row.

I don't know who that might be at the moment. Perhaps someone not presently on the scene will throw their hat in the ring. The Liberals, because they are bereft of ideology, are more in need of a strong leader to bring direction and vision to their party.

Steve V said...

"Stephen Harper is the best leader that any of the major parties' have had since Jean Chrétien."

Wow, so you're actually saying Harper is the best leader in the last 5 YEARS. My goodness.

"Get a hold of yourself you're losing it."

From someone who couldn't find it in a thimble. Does this guy every say anything of interest? You should blog to help insomniacs, the human tryptophan. Another misfit finds a typewriter. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

Get a hold of yourself you're losing it. Don't you see when he speaks in french he pronounces his Mr.Dion name in french and when he speaks in english he pronounces in english.
I don't hear Harper massacring the pronunciation of his French ministers like that.
But I will start to do it just for fun...
Monsieur Arrrpeerre
Mr. Canon
Monsieur Macqué

jarrid said...


You're getting better and better at spin Steve, that's what blogging all day at a partisan site will do for you. What I'm saying is that Harper is better than Martin, Dion, Joe Clark who led the PC's until 2004. He's in the big leagues like Jean Chrétien.

Even the fact that people like knb hate him shows that he's effective.

People never hated Joe Clark, they were puzzled by him or felt sorry for him or thought he was pathetic. Same goes for Martin and Dion.

Look, that is the elephant in the room on many liberal blogs: the fact that Stéphane Dion is clearly not up for the job and is being outclassed by Harper. Except for the most blindly partisan and clueless lib bloggers, that's something that is known, but the topic avoided because we have to live with it until after the next election barring an election miracle for the Liberals. Despite what the polls say, there aren't too many Liberals who think they will come out on top. Maybe Cherniak.

RuralSandi said...

I don't really care how good Harper's french is or how good Dion's english's what Harper said...

He spent nearly the whole time bashing and trashing Liberals and the BLOC....but NOT NDP'rs

In other words - Steve and Jack are in bed together - no doubt about it.

They say empty wagons rattle the most - and Harper is sure proof of that.

He looked angry, tired and worn out and his rhetoric totally worn out.

Okay - so Steve and Jack are buds is so blatant.

Steve V said...


Speaking of spin, nobody likes Harper, he loses to "neither" consistently. You position him as some compelling figure, when truth be told, outside of BLINDLY PARTISAN Conservatives, the guy has got NO traction. Women are running from him in droves, no inroads where ne needs it, in fact he's worse of than the fragile minority of 2006. People like you, are a hoot, because you talk spin, but then you simply ignore the polls, as though you have some great insights, the rest of us aren't privy too, you don't have anything to back up your bluster, it's just idle talk, from a biased observer.

I've said it a million times, Harper is the Liberals greatest asset. Wooden, uninspiring, mean spirited, divisive, you couldn't ask for better. And, the more people point to Dion, the more it actually speaks to a simple question- why, or why, can't Harper the great leader go anywhere with Canadians, considering his relatively weak opponent? Chretien would be up 20% right now, with similar opposition.

Ryan said...

"Okay - so Steve and Jack are buds is so blatant."

I thought New Democrats were supposed to be the conspiracy theorists ;).

Or Harper sees it to his advantage to leave the NDP alone as to split the "progressive" vote. Flanagan has even said so. Scary evil Jack Layton has nothing to do with it.

Omar said...

Disgusting. This man is disgusting.


Having Harper as pm is akin to the country experiencing a very severe and constant bout of diarrhea. Fortunately we will soon have an election that will be our antibiotic for remedy.
I sincerely believe this man's goose is cooked.

knb said...

Interesting point about Alberta Ryan.

knb said...

Right, I don't recall Harper using the English pronounciation of Stephane.

knb said...

jarrid, it would be nice if people could deal with reality.

Dion is not going to be replaced.

knb said...

Even the fact that people like knb hate him shows that he's effective.


By that logic, everyone who slags Dion thinks he is an effective leader too.

knb said...

I sincerely believe this man's goose is cooked.

I hope you're right.

Omar said...

The power of positive thinking!

Well, that and I just do not wish to even contemplate these creeps getting a majority government.

knb said...

I'm with you Omar.

Anonymous said...

"Right, I don't recall Harper using the English pronounciation of Stephane."

Have you seen the liberal party complaining about this? Remember when Jean Chrétien,when he was made fun of the way he spoke? Because of his crooked mouth! Everyone complained back then. Even when our PM Mr.Harper speaks in french it sometimes comes out the same way when he says Dion in english. You really have to pay attention to it. You're the only one that I have seen complaining about this. If you would have not complained about this 99.9% of the people who read you're post wouldn't even notice. So in other words please get a life,because the hatred about this PM is clouding you're judgement it really is effecting you seriously.

Omar said...

I never thought I'd hate a prime minister more than I despise Brian Mulroney, but Stephen Harper makes old Lyin' Brian almost Saintly in comparison.