Musings on the Upcoming Election

You know, if the Conservatives keep talking like they do, all the polls suggesting they’ll be returned to power in the election that seems a certainty now that the budget has been introduced and neither the Liberals nor the NDP will support it may be wrong.

I’m a proud Canadian and all, but you have to be pretty delusional to make the assumption, as some Conservatives have, that an election would somehow jeopardize the global economic recovery.  It’s absurd to think that the normal course of democracy in Canada could somehow cause major economic woes when we represent about 2% of the global economy.  It is even more absurd (and frankly ominous) when a government suggests that going to the polls is somehow inappropriate when there’s all sorts of stuff going on in the Middle East.  Tragically, I’ve read so many news articles about the whole thing that I’m not able to find the direct quotes.  The thing is, I think Harper played this beautifully.  He tossed a few (mostly empty) goodies to the NDP and made his budget look rather centrist, which then allows him to take a direct run at the Liberals.  They’ll keep up their attacks on Michael Ignatieff (who is, in my estimation, no more likely to be Prime Minister than Stephane Dion was last time around), and on the party in general for forcing an election “no one wants”.  Frankly, I doubt many people do want an election to be honest, since it seems that unless the plan really, really backfires during the campaign, we’ll probably be left with more or less the same Parliament, with a few seats changing hands, but Harper still PM with a minority government.  We’ll spend $300 million on an election that essentially doesn’t really accomplish anything.

And we’re still left with problems.  The provinces are mostly broke, New Brunswick seems to have been first off trying to grapple its woes, my home province of Nova Scotia is still playing stupid politics over things like ferry subsidies, and the federal government still has a massive deficit mainly attributable to the global economic crisis that started in 2008 and its efforts to stimulate the economy.  Thing is, they wouldn’t be in such a bad fiscal position if they hadn’t made two stupid decisions – GST cut #1 and GST cut #1.  Cutting the federal sales tax took billions in revenue out of the federal government’s coffers while offering no substantial benefits to Canadians, save for some smug satisfaction that a vilified (but ultimately, fair) tax was being cut.  Cheering these two cuts was probably the most idiotic political move many Canadians made.  Didn’t I blog about this at some point, how little a difference it made to my life as a fairly high earning person.  The “working families” who thought it was so great probably saw little or no benefit.  In fact, most get a quarterly refund cheque to offset what little they pay anyhow.

I can’t figure out who I’d vote for.  Lately, Canada’s been beset by a cast of mediocre politicians leading parties with mediocre ideas.  In fact, the only leader who seems to have any charisma is Jack Layton, and unfortunately that won’t overcome my view of their party’s ideas as either ridiculous, unrealistic, or loathsome.  So they’re not an option.  I think I’ll probably vote Green again if they put out a well spoken candidate… not because I particularly endorse their platform, but because I think it’s not a bad idea to discuss other ideas, because none of the mainstream parties seems interested in doing so.  Frankly, if any party gets up and admits that to fix the budget they’ll put the GST back to 7%, I’d probably vote for them, not because I want to pay more tax, but because I understand that I have to pay at some point, and I’d just rather get on with it.

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