Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stimulus? Nope, Snake Oil

I confess that I was surprised to read the Tonda MacCharles article in the Star this morning. It was as if she was speaking to adults for a change and expanding a bit on the standard fare that we normally read about the PM.

She actually tells us that Harper's economic hero is Friedrich Hayek. If you've made it a point to know Harper you may already know this, but more often than not, especially during the election, he was simply introduced as a 'trained economist'. That introduction of course was designed to infer that he'd be the steady hand we needed in these troubled times. There was never any mention of what economic doctrine he adhered to and what that really meant for the future of this country.

It's of course fair to assume that most people don't know who Friedrich Hayek and John Maynard Keynes are. I certainly didn't until a few years ago when I took an interest in who Harper was and what he had in mind for this country. That said, it's interesting to note that this is one of the first times I've seen his economic philosophy mentioned in the MSM.

The article is superficial and suggests that Harper is having a temporary change of heart, which I do not buy for a minute. I don't even buy the soft soap claim that he's being 'pragmatic'. I think he's being as opportunistic as he was during the election and in doing so, he and Flaherty are tripping all over each other as they attempt to present something that will not compromise their philosophy, while keeping the masses at bay.

So, what will tomorrow's update contain? Robert Fife has already reported that the government intends to cut perks, which is fine, but is nothing more than a symbolic gesture. Additionally though, we now learn that funding to political parties will be cut. That translates to $7.7 million for the Liberal party of Canada. Does anyone really think this is simply a gesture to show Canadians that the government is seriously concerned about the real pain they are feeling? Of course it isn't. It is precisely what many of us have been saying for some time now, just another step to do damage to the Liberal party. Isn't it convenient that he has the recession (one he vowed would never occur), to hide behind?

Not only is he sneaking his ideology in the through the back door, he's distracting from what really needs to be done and that is provide a stimulus package as the rest of the world is doing.

The Conservatives have crafted quite a plan here. It's one that will be difficult for the opposition, specifically the Liberals, to thwart but I certainly hope smarter minds than mine are working on how to do just that.


Steve V said...

If the Conservatives were really fair here, they would change the fundraising rules, to offset the subsidies. Of course, Flaherty will argue the Cons are also taking a hit, but something like this is devastating for the Green Party, and it has the effect of extending the government's life, as parties scramble to adjust. This move proves it's all about playing games, the money is a pittance, and yet they fixate on nothing to present something. Canadians should ask themselves- why aren't you spending you time on a stimulus package, as opposed to giving us window dressing?

Karen said...

If the Conservatives were really fair here,

Boy, that's a mouthful isn't it?

It is indeed about playing games and I think it's just the beginning.

Canadians should ask themselves how we ended up with this crew.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Harper is playing chess here. Maybe he wants to be defeated, make Dion the PM, get him to muddle through the financial mess, and then roar back in a year or so.

Harper. Smarter. Higher. Faster. Than. Everybody.

Anonymous said...

People the opposition parties are stuck between a rock and a hard place with this situation.I don't see how they can bring down the government over it.

Here are my reasons why:

First we have the official opposition with a lame duck leader.Secondly before any party goes into an election they would need a platform in which the liberals don't have one yet.They can't use the same platform as in the last campaign. People voted against it. Thirdly people are tightening their belts during these though economic times to make ends meet. There would be a big backlash from the voters for going into another election in a matter of weeks,because the opposition parties don't want to tighten their own belts. What the voters would be seeing is that the Conservatives would be losing $10 million that is more than any other parties.The other parties would not be able to say that the Conservatives are not willing to follow suit. So I expect to pass in the house. If the senate stalls in which I think they would do,the Conservatives could pass a motion the same type they did last winter in which the motion would say that if the senate does not pass this bill there would be an election in 30 days.You could make the motion a confidence issue.Just among us I can't see an election over this.Let alone that,none of the opposition parties can afford another one so soon.

KNB good post by the way.

Not to change the subject I sure hope the Quebec Liberals win big time. We wouldn't be talking about the Constitution for a few years. The Liberals are in double digits ahead of the second place P.Q. With 2 weeks to go. Everyone is predicting a Liberal majority.

Anonymous said...


I meant to say "tough" not though sorry.LOL

Karen said...

Anon, he's playing games all right. I'm not sure I'd call it chess though.

Karen said...

Right, this is by far one of the most crass political moves I've seen.

The key will be to make sure Canadians realise that.

Tightening belts is one thing. This is not that. This in intended to starve opposition parties and is highly undemocratic.

Anonymous said...

Starve opposition parties? Why is it that the other parties cannot survive from donations from ordinary Canadians? If the Libs truly do represent the values of the majority of Canadians as they like to claim, why can they not be expected to fundraise the same way the Tories do?

In an election, this would be an easy sell for the Conservatives. "We're losing $10M from this change, the other parties are all losing far less. Our base supports us, and this is good for democracy because it encourages the grassroots. Let's do away with welfare for political parties."

Oh, and don't forget, the BQ would almost cease to exist with a change like this. No one except the separatists would say that's not a good thing for Canada.

Anonymous said...


"Tightening belts is one thing. This is not that. This in intended to starve opposition parties and is highly undemocratic."

Knb just remember a few months ago what I said about the Green Shift.That the voters would not look at it if it is a good plan,but would look at it as a tax grab.Well we all know what happened on Oct.14!

The same thing would happen here.People would not see this as to starve the opposition parties. They would see this in my opinion that the opposition are not willing to do their part.In a time where people are losing their jobs.

As to being undemocratic,let me to disagree with you on this.Are you saying that before this law came into force that Canada was not democratic?

Why would I personally be forced to support a political party with my tax dollars,in which I completely disagree with them? It makes no sense and completely unfair.Does this mean if there was a NAZI party in this country that the tax payers would have to subsidize them whether we like it or not?

I personally don't believe that the tax payers should be forced to subsidize any political party if they don't wish to.It should be on a voluntary bases.Become a member of the party.

Anonymous said...

Knb I also wanted to mention this.Don't you realize people like you and I who love this Country are actually subsidizing the bloc who want nothing more then to break up the country apart. Are you o.k.with this? Think about it please!

RuralSandi said...

Harper wants to destroy the other parties, especially the Liberals, which does absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy, create jobs. He's not doing a damn thing for the citizens of this country - in essence he's expecting Canadians to tighten their belts when he's left them without pants.

Dictator is what is really looking like. Vlad Harper.

penlan said...

Could it be possible that the Cons want their govt. brought down? For now?

Maybe they don't want to deal, or know how to deal, with this recession as it WILL hurt them in the eyes of the electorate as it has always done in the past to any govt. in rough economic times.

Perhaps they want a "coalition" of the opposition for a period of time so that the opposition will take the brunt of all the negativity & then when there is a next election the Cons will come in with a majority. Plus they will not have to bear any responsibility for any future actions in trying to mend the economic crisis.

Just a thought.

It's disgusting what they have proposed & is a way of annhilating all opposition if it were to happen.

Sleaze bags, as usual, no matter which way you look at it.

Steve V said...


Some of these comments are just HYSTERICAL now.

Oh, what a day.

Karen said...

I know Steve. Being overly confident or rather, arrogant, always comes back to bite doesn't it?