Monday, 16 October 2006

Evaluating Harper's government

Stephen HarperI am planning on starting a bit of a series here, evaluating the Harper government on its famous five priorities and throwing in an extra two priorities - the environment and foreign affairs - seeing as they have come to have at least as much importance as the originally stated five. So the seven points I will be looking at are (the first five are word for word from the Conservatives' website):

1. Clean up government by passing the Federal Accountability Act
2. Provide real tax relief to working families by cutting the GST
3. Make our streets and communities safer by cracking down on crime
4. Help parents with the cost of raising their children
5. Work with the provinces to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee
6. Effective action on the environment
7. Foreign affairs

In the interests of disclosure, I voted Conservative last election. The reasons for that were relatively simple; the Liberals had disgusted and alienated me on so many issues I couldn't even keep track any more. And that was BEFORE the sponsorship scandal. Think Talisman Energy, Shawinigate, and a slew of broken promises. There's more, but that gives you an idea. They had dug a hole so deep I couldn't - and can't - imagine it getting filled back in until they've spent a few years in the political wilderness and done a major overhaul job.

The Conservatives had a few ideas I liked, and had spent enough years mouldering in opposition to effect a real purging. The Mulroney cronies were gone and the band of neophytes and lightly seasoned MP's they were could not possible learn the levers of corruption as well as the Liberals in a mere single term, especially the short term of a minority government. So it is quite likely that I will vote Conservative again, although not necessarily with any great enthusiasm. That could yet change.

The NDP? Well, honestly, while I occasionally agree with some of their concerns, I almost invariably think that they choose the worst possible method of trying to address them. And that's when I agree...

You may have gathered that ethics in government is a major point for me. You gathered correctly.

I am not a political expert and I don't intend to spend hours and hours (a couple maybe) researching each point, so your input will be highly valued. Cheap insults won't be welcome, mind you, but thoughtful, factual input, however passionate and whether in favour or opposed, is definitely what I'm hoping to see.

If you're interested in participating, please bookmark this blog or this post (I will link the entire series back to this post) and come back to weigh in. All viewpoints are welcome, as long as they're expressed respectfully. Some of the topics plan on widening to the general principles behind them, not necessarily the very narrow focus of the stated priorities. And extra points could get added, if they seem to warrant the attention.

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3 comments:

Adrian MacNair said...

"The reasons for that were relatively simple; the Liberals had disgusted and alienated me on so many issues I couldn't even keep track any more."

Agreed. If the Liberals were the last party on Earth and they held the key to the gates of heaven and hell lay beneath me, I would leap unhesitatingly into the flames. Well, maybe I exaggerate a little bit, but not by much.

"The Conservatives had a few ideas I liked, and had spent enough years mouldering in opposition to effect a real purging."

The new Conservatives were mostly Alliance members of failed far rightwing party members. There was no option to vote for them. At every moment during the Reagan years, we were under submission to American interests. I had no interest in surrendering our soveriegnty. I knew Harper would be no different.

"The NDP?"

May as well cast your vote for the Olivia Chow's of the world who will spend your tax dollars on the Chinese Head Tax, compensating victims of racism, and ensuring white people get affirmatively actioned out of their jobs. The NDP has lost support of even their most traditional allies: unions. They mananged this by alienating their core constituency: white, middle class, blue collar, hard working men and women.

I therefore have submitted my protest vote to the Green Party twice federally and once provincially. My vote was ignored because our country is lost in an ancient ritual of anti-democratic FPP voting, and the fact that my Party was not welcome in Federal debates even though they ran in every riding. Meanwhile the Bloc separatists, destroyers of Canadian unity, were granted more media attention than an Ignatieff scandal. NOW THAT'S CANADIAN DEMOCRACY FOR YA.

As for Harper's 7 points:

1. Accountability

Who knows? He refused to speak to the media, so we don't even know what this man is up to. Is he fixing up government? Is he making us more accountable? If cutting public sector jobs like a conservative government is apt to do is accountable, then mission accomplished.

2. Tax relief for working families

Laughable. There is no appreciable difference.

3. Safer streets

Laughable. Crime is just as omnipresent, and Kimveer Gill is a perfect example.

4. Help parents

Laughable. I can barely support my family on my income. I feel my government does nothing for me but suck money from my pockets. I feel absolutely no help from the federal government. If you saw my paycheques and my cost of living to support my family, you would agree the Conservative has done nothing for poor, working class families.

5. Patient Wait Times

I believe this has been improved. I've heard good things. But of course this could be fixed by allowing domestic students to become doctors, rather than importing immigrants to fill the occupations.

6. Environment

Grade F. Harper and his gang are the worst environmentalists since Exxon Mobil.

7. Foreign Affairs

Harper has cozied to U.S. policy, and refuses to address the reasons and timetable for troops in Afghanistan. He also said that those who did not support Israel's right to defend itself were terrorists.

Total Harper Grade: F

He has failed on almost every mandate he was elected on. Unfortunately I would rather see a Harper government for the next 100 years than I would a Fiberal excuse for politics.

Scott Robarts said...

These points are also included on my blog www.indiescribe.com

1. Clean up government by passing the Federal Accountability Act

If cleaning up the government means being highly secretive and denying the press access to the PMO then I would say they are successful. But I don't think that is the case, I have not yet heard about any scandals, but I think it is only a matter of time, power corrupts absolutely.

2. Provide real tax relief to working families by cutting the GST

The Conservatives cut the GST by 1%,... let me know when you notice it.

3. Make our streets and communities safer by cracking down on crime

This is the one area where I actually support the Conservatives, and this is where I dangle a toe right of centre - I support strong laws and punishments for serious offenses. But I also support the legalization of marijuana, legalization with regulation. Have the Conservatives made inroads here? It's still too early to tell really.

4. Help parents with the cost of raising their children

Exactly how have the helped parents, $100 a child per month? My wife and I have no children, but friends who do, they're daycare costs them ten times that amount per month. I think the Conservatives still have a long way to go to convince me that they are making a difference in this area.

5. Work with the provinces to establish a Patient Wait Times Guarantee

I don't know much about this, hasn't been an issue I have been following.

6. Effective action on the environment

Clean Air Act or not I personally believe that the Conservatives will lead us down a road which will erode any progress made on environmental protection. I could be wrong, but that is my feeling. They will make some progress, but I feel that much of this will just be window dressing to distract from their inaction on real issues, like climate change.

7. Foreign affairs

Harper has no foreign affairs strategy, he just does whatever George W. Bush wants him to. He has supported Israel in it's recent conflict to the point of totally ignoring what is happening to the Lebanese people. And the Harper strategy in Afghanistan is to hide the reality there from the Canadian people; attempting to halt the practice of flying flags at half-mast, denying press access to flag draped coffins returning. Straight out of the Bush administration playbook.

All in all it's obvious that I live left of centre in the political spectrum. The one thing I can state in my own form of disclosure; I voted Liberal in the last election but I did feel that the Conservative victory might be interesting for the country, that maybe a little change would be good. But the sad thing is that I have been extremely disappointed in the performance of the Conservatives.

Janet said...

Wow, much longer responses than I expected to get here. I'm going to take each of the points one by one, so you're both invited back to comment again more fully on each one if you like.

Ah, yes, the Greens. They were actually my second choice last election. I'm reserving opinion on them right now until Elizabeth May and company comes out with their complete platform. If it is sufficiently to my liking, I will give them serious consideration. If.

 

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