Monday, March 24, 2008

Flaherty's Cowardly Machinations

What do you do when you know the country's economy is likely to suffer and along with it a province that has been especially hard hit in the manufacturing industry? Oh, I almost forgot. What do you do when that is happening and you happen to be the Finance Minister of the country?

Well you call an unprecedented press conference, apropos of nothing, point your finger and blame your past rival of course.

It matters not that it's illogical, juvenile and asinine. All that matters is that you deflect the blame from where it belongs. To be clear, by that I mean the high dollar resulting in a loss of manufacturing jobs, but Jimmy seems to have missed that. Indeed, he made all the wrong tax cut's to cope with what is going on, but he's determined to suggest that he took action and his rival from the past has not.

It seems to me that Flaherty is a little too focused on his short term strategy of shoring up his support and as a result, failing to see the larger picture of how this province is likely to react.

In the first place, it's astonishing to me that he had the audacity to refer to his record as a Harris MPP, today. If he honestly believes that Ontarians forget what his lame brained ideology did to this province, he's the one with amnesia. Secondly, it seems to me that the Con's got all the die-hard Harris supporters last time around and perhaps a couple of seats from some disgruntled Lib's, vis a vis Gomery/Sponsorship. I don't imagine that too many Lib's who temporarily parked their vote with the Con's are going to be endeared nor fooled by Flaherty's recriminations.

The bottom line is, he's ticking off grass roots Lib's at both the federal and provincial level. Wouldn't that be a force to be reckoned with during a general election? I don't know how much these two groups work together during general elections traditionally, but it seems to me that volunteers won't be difficult to find.

To those of you who are tempted to suggest that the provincial Lib's have not cut business tax and all experts are on your side, think again.

But he also notes that the provincial Liberals have done much to improve the business climate since coming to power, despite being handed a $5 billion deficit in 2003, ironically enough, from Flaherty, Ontario's last Conservative finance minister. The debate makes it look like Ontario is out to lunch, and that's not true," said Drummond.

McGuinty has cut corporate taxes by $3 billion a year, which is no small change. Ontario is phasing out their capital tax and taken a big chunk out of the provincial portion of property taxes, which are much more important to business than the corporate income tax."

As well, it is not clear that the federal approach of creating a low-level tax climate for all businesses would work for the troubled auto sector, an industry where direct government inducements for new plants is common.

When Don Drummond, who traditionally agrees with the Con's starts pointing out their hypocrisy, I'd suggest the Con's are in trouble. Other economists have been critical of Flaherty, but Drummond traditionally has supported him.

In short, (take that as a pun if you like), I think Flaherty's cowardice is doing more damage than he realises. Funny, I would have thought Harper would look out a bit farther than Flaherty is capable of, but he's chimed and backed him, so I guess he's not quite as clever as he's made out to be. What a surprise!

The Con's have gone beyond cocky and arrogant. From Finley, to Guergis, to Prentice to use an old expression, they have jumped the shark.

I'm liking the odds here. Canadians are not going to ignore these half hidden ideas forever. Special interest generates general interest and that is what I see happening here.

Bullying, denial and trying to pull a fast one always expose cowardice. Flaherty personifies that distasteful trait.


Anonymous said...

It matters not that it's illogical, juvenile and asinine.
To be honest, no - it's the perception that will remain with the public.

It's not great secret that the economy is failing but Jim will deflect the causes.

It's funny how Jim did not interfere with the Quebec budget but decides to chime in now.

As you pointed out, his policies were atrocious for Ontario and they are fucking stupid for Canada...

It's funny how Jim suggested that provinces raise the PST to make up for the lost of revenue and programs... It's ironic that he's going around scaring investors when Ontario is 40% of the Canadian economy. What a fucking loon.

Red Canuck said...

KNB - Flaherty is a fucking disgrace, just like pretty much every other minister in Harpo's cabinet.

Today on CBC, Rosemary Barton suggested that the Connies can see the writing on the wall with respect to the economy. Things are going to get worse. The last federal budget was so razor thin on surplus, that McTeague's bill had Flaherty shitting his pants.

So in order to deflect attention away from his own bungling and the ongoing Conservative lie that they are the best stewards of the economy, Flaherty is trying to shift blame to the provincial Libs. It's an ill-conceived ploy to appeal to Ontario voters in a future election that may well be played out over the issue of the economy. Let's hope Ontario voters don't forget about Diamond Jim's pathetic record as provincial finance minister come election time...

Karen said...

cherniak_wtf, I'd say you summed it up up perfectly.

What he is promoting is insanity and what he is suggesting is fantasy.

He's covering his butt..that's it, that's all. It's always about Flaherty isn't it?

Oh, there is that other thing. Beating John Tory in the next race. Good luck with that. He may win that group, but he's already lost Ontario.

What an idiot. Sense and strategy evades him.

Anonymous said...

"Cherniak_WTF said...
It matters not that it's illogical, juvenile and asinine.
To be honest, no - it's the perception that will remain with the public."

I believe the word for all of this is 'politics'.

Uncle Jean used to do the same thing before an election. I think Flaherty and JC were/are after the votes in the same area; it is just how they go about it.

JC use to pick a fight with those BAD Albertan's before every election. He was not getting any votes from Alberta for doing it...(ok, Gayle and Joe Green); he was after the votes in Ont. that hated Alberta. Oh, and by the way, the Reform Party came from where?

It is all part of the politcal game and was played very well back then.

Karen said...

RC, I didn't see a CBC broadcast here. Easter Monday and all, in this provincial mind set...gag.

I doubt anyone living in this province will forget what Harris, like Baird and Clement, did here.

Time will tell.

RuralSandi said...

This could possibly backfire on Flaherty - it brings back the memories of the Harris government in Ontario and Flaherty's contribution to the mess.

Steve V said...

Remember last fall, when the dollar started to soar, and people in manufacturing were asking the feds for help? Flaherty's response, which is really astounding, the high dollar gives manufacturing an excellent opportunity to retool factories, because the parts from the states were cheaper. Think that through, companies are on the brink of closing the doors, and Flaherty says they should spend more money retooling their plants? I can give you on firsthand account, from someone I know that is general manager for a fairly big plant, he found that insulting and beyond delusional. That was Flaherty's lame answer when this all started, and now his only advice, cut taxes for companies that aren't making profits, aren't paying tax.

What an idiot.

BTW, knb, if you have scanned Ontario newspapers, you have probably seen that Flaherty is being universally panned. As I've said elsewhere, this strategy of the Cons represents the biggest political boner of their reign.

Karen said...

anon, while I do not recall Chretien doing precisely what you describe, it's not the same thing.

Flaherty is sending a message beyond our borders (Cdn.) and it's more than detrimental.

The government from day one seems incapable of fore seeing the long term impact of their actions or should I say games, because that lack of foresight is generally attributed to teenagers.

Karen said...

sandi, I hope so. He doesn't seem to be getting much support so far.

Karen said...

steve, as the saying goes,you're not wrong.

Anonymous said...

I believe the word for all of this is 'politics'.
That it is but there is something rather childish in this instance that goes beyond what has been done in the past.
While I'm no fan of the Liberals, the Connies are corrosively divisive.