Saturday, March 6, 2010

State of the Confederation

We're back for another politics mini-update. I know that when it comes to politics, it's not just Sandlot and Kushima who have the attention span of gerbils, so I'll try to keep things fast and furious. I'll also go light on the links for the sake of Mello and J-Rock. So, without further ado:

What's going on with the state of Confederation?

# 1 - The Prime Minister's New Groove Budget

Harper's returned to his conservative roots with a 2010 budget that slashes federal funding to government programs and civil service, freezes foreign-aid, eases environmental controls, and espouses corporate tax cuts. It's the kind of budget that will leave us with a small-g government in the future - under-resourced and incapable of undertaking any ambitious endeavours or responding to emerging crises.

# 2 - No Election for Old Men

Despite the outrage that Liberals are feeling over this budget, there will almost certainly be no election. By unjustifiably proroguing government in January, Stephen Harper not only wiped away the political woes of having to respond to his actions on Afghanistan torture, but also positioned his budget release to coincide with the end of the Olympics. With national sentiment at an all-time high, it's likely one of the worst times for the opposition to go into an election to try and dethrone the government. Furthermore, Ignatieff has no viably alternative plan to tote.

What this comes down to is a budget that boils in the blood of Liberals, but that they will tacitly approve by not showing up to vote on it.

# 3 - City Politic Sound Bites

Who is Rocco Rossi? Other than being one of the leading mayoral candidates for the city of Toronto, I had no idea until yesterday. However, he's managed to make a mark on my map for his stance on challenging unions and privatizing the TTC. I haven't had anything a politician said resonate with me as much as the following statement in a long time:

The problem isn’t a sleeping TTC worker in a booth. It’s the fact that in the 21st century there is a worker in the booth collecting paper tickets. We have the world’s best 1970s transit system. The problem is, it’s 2010.

However, with plans to put a freeze on the planned Transity City additions, which are mostly being funded by the provincial and federal levels of government anyway, I still have my doubts about this fellow. I like how you talk smack of the TTC though, sir.

Conclusions - State of the Confederation

Harper has released a crippling budget at a time when Canadians are euphoric off the exhaust fumes of the Olympics, leaving a weak and anemic government. Strong on corporate incentives and weak government programs, Finance Minister Flaherty has described Canada as being "open for business."

Meanwhile, the Liberal opposition is agreeably weak. With no alternative ideas of their own to resonate with the Canadian public, they're happy to disagree in principle and agree in the practical.

Finally, even though I don't live in Toronto, my ears delighted with a politician finally recognizing the TTC for what it is: The world's best 1970s transit system. Amen, brother. You're preaching to the converted.

4 comments: said...

thought that was my turtle

a_ndy said...

Your turtle is far too patriotic to take a shat on Canada like that.

Teddy said...

i am not exactly up to date with the politics, but when i do glance over the politics section of the globeandmail, i remember seeing something interesting about:

-apparently the throne speech was very similar to the Australian PM's John Howard's speech? plagarism haha
-Tories wanted to change the national anthelm before because it was politically incorrect - some feminist have beef with the phrase "in all thy sons command". waste of paraliament time

a_ndy said...

Yeah, the throne speech plagiarism was quite a long time ago, although it's not the only time where a Conservative speech has been proven to be spurious in terms of academic honesty.

As for the national anthem, this was a silly issue as well. As one CBC commenter put it, the Conservatives basically followed the following steps:

1) Create a ruckus over a non-issue by trying to change the national anthem.

2) Back off the issue while patting self on back for "listening to the people."