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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

How Much is an Election Really Worth?

Last week Paul Martin stepped before the cameras and addressed the nation about the crisis the country was involved in. In actuality it is the crisis the Liberal party is involved in, but let’s not split hairs. That broadcast was the unofficial kick-off of the Liberal campaign for re-election. They know that they are on borrowed time. It might happen next week or it might happen six months from now, but either way, an election is on the way.

My question today relates to this last point, the one of timing. How much is an election worth? I know it doesn’t sound like timing and cost are directly connected, but bear with me for a minute or two.

I don’t mean cost from the perspective of normal election costs such as campaigning, T.V. time, etc., but from the perspective of buying our votes in an effort to retain power. You see the Liberals are used to the adage that anything has a price, just ask anyone involved in the ad-scam situation. So it is not outside their thinking to buy their place in office and it’s up to us, as good Canadians, to set a price.

NDP Leader Jack Layton sees this clearly. He is already attempting to align himself with the Liberals in an effort to delay an election. His price, removal of the corporate surtax cuts from the budget and more money for the environment. Good move Jack!! This is a chance for the NDP to further their agenda. You don’t get many chances to do that so it’s good to see you taking advantage of them when they come along. Keep it up!!

As for the rest of us, well we can stand to make some gains as well. The Liberals are so worried about losing seats in an election that hasn’t even been called yet, that they are already sending MPs around the country handing out money for projects and programs. Just this week John Efford was here in NL with a Cheque for 1.5 million for one thing or another. I'm sure he'll have more announcements within days. It's good news John. (We don't forget John, we don't forget). It’s not just happening here either, but right across the country. They are trying to buy their way back into office, which is nothing new, but this time they don’t even care who notices.

This opens up some opportunities for all of us. Now is the time to start pressing our own provincial agenda. Come on Danny boy, you got Paul Martin to agree to the offshore revenue deal under similar circumstances, now he’s really desperate. Get on him. Push him on a Canadian corridor for electricity, gas and the like. One that will end our issues over moving resources through Quebec. How about pushing him on more Federal offices and services in the province or about 5 Wing Goose.

Jack Layton will actually do us all a favor if he can manage to keep the Liberals in for a while longer. With these yahoos in place for six or seven months rather than being pushed out of office now, they have that much longer to think about the big black election cloud over their heads. Six or seven more months of hearing, “We can knock you off today Paul. Now we want X, Y or Z.”. I love it.

It also means we, as Canadians, can be the recipients of another six or seven more months of pre-election spending and pre-election promises. Federal spending is good if you can get your hands on it, and pre-election promises are even better. Just make sure you get them in writing.

Of course the best thing of all is that even after an election takes place and regardless of whether or not the color of government is Liberal red or Conservative blue, we will most likely have another minority government. We all know that this again shifts some power over to the opposition parties and means that the next government will have to satisfy the agendas of others or face yet another election. It’s a viscious cycle but it works for the general public. It is through minority governments that major changes to social policy take place. Medicare for example, would not exist today if we had not had a minority government at the time.

These are good times to be a province like NL which usually has no power at all. These are the sort of times when key issues can be addressed and accomplishments made. Lets not waste this opportunity. Instead, lets get out there and push for everything we can. Let’s not stop pushing until we get what we want and need from these guys because eventually the ride will end. Eventually a majority government will make it back into office and the opportunities will dry up, the giveaways will end and the status quo will smack us dead in the middle of our reality.

I know I may sound callous and cold and perhaps even money hungry on this topic, but lets face it, we all have to be. We don’t get much from Ottawa without a fight and then we are like a starving mouse fighting an elephant.

The difference here is that now the mouse has a gun and is pointing it directly at Dumbo’s head.


Mike said...

Well I guess we will find out soon just how much an election will cost. The House is open again today and it should be an interesting week.

I can tell you one thing, I wouldn't want to be in Lloyla Hearn's or Norm Doyle's shoes right now. If it comes down to a non-confidence vote on the budget bill they will have a pretty tough choice to make. Either vote against their own party's motion and leave the Liberals in office (the vote is going to be close enough that even those two could change the outcome) or vote with their party and kill the Atlantic Accord deal.

Can you say "Rock and Hard Place"?

Harris J. said...

Lets not forget that a lot of other social changes have happened under minority governments: Old Age Security and the Canada Pension Plan to name but two.

Also, Besides the two items you mentioned in your article, Jack Layton has gotten Paul Martin to agree to 1.5 Billion for Low Income Housing and another (I think its 1.5) Billion to help with the cost of tuition for University students.

Great Job Jack, now lets make sure you can pull it off in the coming weeks.

Newfie Maria in Halifax said...

The devil you know is better than the devil you don't. I agree with letting the Liberals stay in office until after the sponsorship enquiry is completed. At least we know just how crooked those guys are, its the other devil that we don't know.

Cyril said...

There are a lot of things we should be fighting for during this period. Its a prime opportunity alright. One of them should be a more stable link to the rest of Canada. The Ferry service sucks and is getting worse by the year. I think its time the Government welcomed us into Canada by getting us geographically connected. Afterall, its been over 50 years.

Wince said...

Yeah, but at least the devil we don't know has agreed to honour the Accord deal that was struck between this province and Ottawa... and he even put it in writing.