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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Conservative Government Spring Report Card

It’s been about three months since the Federal election. I always like holding a politician’s feet to the fire, so since it's April and before we move too far into the current federal mandate, maybe we should all take some time and try grading the Conservatives on exactly how they’ve been doing so far.

I'll go first.

Being from Newfoundland and Labrador I figured I’d start my own personal report card by looking at some key local issues:

Military:

Making the airbase at 5 Wing Goose a military requirement is still in the works but no troops assigned: Grade A

Public Safety:

Re-instating the Gander weather office announced: Grade A+

Fisheries:

1 - Progress on stopping foreign overfishing/custodial management, insignificant: Grade E

2 - Development of a cod stocks recovery plan, no movement: Grade F

3 - Helping fishing communities survive through an early retirement program, no movement: Grade F

There you go. Over all from a local Newfoundland and Labrador perspective I give the Conservatives a C. Not great but not a failing grade either.

OK, on a national level, let’s look at the kind of progress the Conservative’s have made on the priorities outlined in the throne speech, which has since been modified and was accepted in a backroom deal on Parliament hill by the way. The revised version now includes several Liberal initiatives which the leaders of all parties agreed to accept without a vote in the House, likely to slip the changes past the general public while they were all having a big nap.

By the way, I know everyone talks about the speech containing the Conservative’s five priorities but if you count them there are actually more. Let’s not hold that against them though. We all know keeping track of numbers, staying within budgets, reporting accurate figures to the public or anything to do with numbers really, is not normally a government’s strong suit. Why should the Conservatives be any different?

Anyway, back to the topic:

Government Accountability: I’ve expanded on this one because some of the promises made during the election, such as senate reform, were not identified as priorities in the speech but relate directly to accountability in my opinion. Just so you know):

Accountability Act – Several necessary changes, but many weak ones especially in the areas of lobbying control and freedom of information. The new offices and positions the act will create will be costly and will bring with them miles of confusing red tape;

Senate reform - has been put so far back in the closet even Preston Manning can’t find it in there;

Appointment of a Senator - One of Canada’s newest Minister’s and Senator was not elected but appointed and is in no way accountable to the electorate;

Buying a member? - An elected Liberal member was enticed to cross the floor when the Conservatives dangled the carrot of a cabinet position in front of his nose. At least this one was elected but most of his riding wants their ballot back;

Freedom of the press - has been limited by not allowing them to have access to Ministers on the upper floors of the Hill;

Committee Chairs - will now be hand picked by Harper rather than selected by secret ballot;
Amendments to the Throne Speech sneaked past the public (figured that one was worth mentioning again).

Grade: E

(I would have given them an F but there are a few good things in the Accountability Act and with all of the secrecy on the hill these days I couldn’t enough evidence to pin the failing grade on them.)

2. GST reductions: The first cut planned for the upcoming budget: Grade A+

3. Getting tough on crime: No major movement to date but still on the agenda. It’s still early in the game so I’ll go easy on this one: Grade B -

4. Child-care: $1200 a year to go into budget as promised, however promised tax credits to encourage the building of new child care spaces will not appear in the budget: Grade: D

5. The fiscal imbalance: Sorry, Harper campaigned on this one but he now says it just isn’t one of his top priorities: Grade F

6. Medical wait times or the wait time guarantee: Like crime management, there has been very little if any movement on this file yet but its still early so I’ll go easy: Grade B -

7. Developing stronger ties with the U.S:

a. Vacationed and toured with George Bush in Mexico;
b. Increased military presence in Afghanistan so U.S. troops could cycle out;
c. Hasn’t pushed the softwood lumber issue to any real degree;
d. Foreign Affairs Minister met with Condeleza Rice;
e. Sold out Newfoundland Premier in the press in order to placate U.S. oil interests.

Grade: A+

In addition to the publicly announced programs identified above, the government also intends to do legislation reviews of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Bank Act. Two things make me very nervous about these reviews. The first is that these specific items are being reviewed by a Conservative government and second is that these specific items are being reviewed by a Conservative government.

Based on the Harper’s record so far, hopefully the result of these reviews won’t see:

The tearing up of pollution and dumping regulations for big industry;

U.S. forces on Canadian streets to “protect” us from the Terrorists that are on American streets; and,

A flurry of bank mergers leading to monopolization and eventually a situation where every $5.00 I put into the bank costs me $5.50 in service fees. Although I might be mistaken on this one, I’m pretty sure that’s happening already.

Nationally I give the Harper government a grade of B. It would have been a D but he performed so well in the area of improving ties with the U.S. that I had to bump him up a couple of notches. I’m just not sure it that’s a good thing or not.

Taking into account the Local grade of C and the National grade of B and by weighing them based on various factors including:

The level of priority each item has for me personally (Local 10, national 10) Hey, I didn’t say it had to make sense;

My wasted time at the computer typing this up (2 hours);

The number of Tim Horton’s coffee consumed to keep me awake while I did the research and analysis (8); and,

How Harper has been registering on my personal bull S&*T meter lately (not good, really not good).

Based on all of that I have arrived at a final score of: F-

Once again, it would have been more like a D – but that U.S. butt kissing thing is really ticking me off so I cut two full grades. I know, I added a couple of grades earlier on for that specific item but it’s all a matter of context. Besides there are two reasons I feel comfortable doing something like that. One, Everything Ottawa gives the Canadians with one hand it takes away with the other so why shouldn’t I. Two, it’s my article, my grading scale and besides I feel like it.

10 comments:

BNB said...

LOL must be some "New Math" used in there.

I read an article where Robin Williams called him Baby Bush. Not sure why Robin Williams is in the Canadian Tent these days - must be all the attention from McCartney and his Canadian Jacket.

About the only rating you didn't consider was fashion?! What about that lovely kaki vest ensemble?

I'd say I mostly agree with your ratings, no sure what to make of the Pro-American ratings though :)

WJM said...

What justifies the A on the Goose Bay file?

Patriot said...

WJM, I know you are trying to bait me but I'll be direct in why I gave it an A. It is because it's still on the table to put forces there and make it a military base again rather than a failing training center. If the troops are still not being put together to go there within a year then the rating drops dramatically.

At least they are moving in the direction of doing a lot more than your Liberals ever did.

By the way, why are you so concerned about the rating. As you should be able to tell, the ratings are a joke and nothing more than a way to get some points across about what has been done so far and what hasn't. I mean come on, do you really think I drank 8 Tim's coffees while writing it. 4 maybe, but not 8.

NL-ExPatriate said...

I'm really on the fence still. But I'll tell you this there is one thing that has always stuck in my craw reference SH_ _ is the reason he quit working with Preston Manning.

He said Manning (Paraphrasing here)
was a fool, by listening to the people and calling for a referendum on each and every issue.

I think SH has to be watched very very carefully especially when it comes to NL issues.

Either he didn't make any announcements for NL in NL because he wants to hide them from Greedy Ontario by hiding them in the budget or he isn't going to make any?

Losing it here forgive me

STatus Quo is what pisses me of the most. Every step we take forward is just regaining that push backwards we were given by Canada.

Meanwhile SH falls all over himself pandering to BC saying he will return a regular army presence to BC because it is the only province in Canada without a regular army presence.

Hello! NL doesn't have any regular ARMY, NAVY or AIR FORCE presence?

Weather Office I'd say -D Now if we got some more Doppler Radars then I would be inclined to give him an A+

Food fishery F Discrimination
Lower Churchill F
Trans Labrador Highway F
Fixed Link F
National Power Corridor F
Custodial Management UNCLOS Art 76 F
Aquaculture F
Non-Renewable Resource revenues ?
Fiscal Imbalance ?
Democra Defic Supreme Court Senate F
Military presence in NL C
Federal Presence in NL F
Fishery taxation $500 000 A+
Seal Hunt D
Portnoy F
Ferry Rates F

National International
Emerson D
Fortier F
Soft Wood C
Border security C
Afganistan B
Media access -D

Overall I'd give him a D

I'm watching and waiting for the budget. If he doesn't come across with a majority of OUR PREMIERS list of issues affecting NL It's going to be Stephen WHO.

http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2006/exec/0103n01.pdf

WJM said...

WJM, I know you are trying to bait me but I'll be direct in why I gave it an A. It is because it's still on the table to put forces there and make it a military base again,

What do you mean, "again"?

It still is a military base.

It never was an army base.

rather than a failing training center.

Well you, like Harper's government, seems to have given up on the base's raison d'etre.

In the past few weeks, Harper's government cancelled the flight training exercise that was scheduled for this year, and have mused publicly about transferring airfield operations from DND to Transport Canada.

Your "A" is based on wishful thinking. You are wilfully deceiving yourself.

At least they are moving in the direction of doing a lot more than your Liberals ever did.

The only moves they have made so far are AWAY from Goose Bay as a military centre.

And Goose Bay hit its peak as a military training centre in the 1990s while the federal Liberals were in power: largest number of countries present, largest number of sorties.

By the way, why are you so concerned about the rating. As you should be able to tell, the ratings are a joke and nothing more than a way to get some points across about what has been done so far and what hasn't.

What has been done so far about Goose Bay by Harper or O'Connor, other than talk?

Anonymous said...

Patriot,


Why do you so consistently make the mistake of assuming that wjm has a sense of humor?

My guess is that if he were reading Beowulf, wjm would be correcting the spelling and punctuation in the margins and then sending it to the publisher to be corrected.

In fairness to wjm however, unlike some, he actually seems to read the bulk of the postings rather than only flame. I'm just not clear if that's because he's trying to get the target clearly lined up for his ADOTHOAP rejoinder or because he's bored.

Patriot said...

Probably the latter since most Liberals are bored these days.

R C Cameron said...

Sir,
I go back to the roaring 20's
and always viewed the "Newfies: as
hardy fishermen who lived in Tilts
up in the hills...
Keep on Writing...

R C C
P.S, Back in the 40's
Newfoundland should have held
out for no. ten...

Anonymous said...

Who actually believes that the weather forcast is going to be more accurate with the office in NL vs. NS?? We don't predict the weather by looking out the window! Wanting the station in NL is all about jobs and nothing about safety of accuracy!

Anonymous said...

I'd say A+ on the Portnoy case. We arrived in Canada the legal, expensive and time consuming way. No reason why they should get special treatment. Would we have gotten in with a criminal record? I doubt it, yet you think he should.