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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Has Stephen Harper Outwitted Himself?

With an electoral axe about to fall in the Nation’s capital, or more accurately upon Stephen Harper’s political neck, Conservative strategists may have finally outwitted themselves in their hunger for national domination.

Faced with the prospect of a Liberal sponsored non-confidence vote the Conservatives are floating the idea of forcing Michael Ignatieff’s hand. They hope to do this by tabling a confidence bill of their own when the House resumes. The Conservatives believe this will allow them to set the agenda for the election and make it appear that Mr. Ignatieff, should he vote against the bill, is standing in the way of Canada's economic recovery.

Here’s how the diabolical plan is supposed to play out.

The Liberal party plans to table a non-confidence motion at their first opportunity – an opposition day in early October – the Conservatives on the other hand plan to table a ways and means bill on the first day the Commons reopens, September 15th. That bill would officially implement the hugely popular and much publicized “Home Renovation Tax Credit”, so many Canadians have already bought into spending countless millions in the process.

Conservative strategists believe that by forcing the Liberals to vote against that particular bill they can paint the opposition as killing the stimulus program, of damaging the economy and of costing individual taxpayers up to $1,300 in rebates many are counting on this spring.

As a purely political move it’s ingenious. The question is whether it will backfire.

Clearly Prime Minister Harper has no inhibitions when it comes to his political ambitions. This is nothing new. In previous years Mr. Harper has shown that he’s willing to ignore signed agreements by stripping money away from provincial coffers without so much as a second thought (consider the Atlantic Accord contract as an example).

Mr. Harper is now proving his willingness to not only pull a fast one when it comes to cryptic programs like equalization that are outside the understanding of the average voter but to reach directly into voter's pockets by gambling with tax refunds which many taxpayers have already spent thousands of dollars in the expectation of receiving.

I’m not so sure that’s a wise move on his part.

There’s an old saying that “all politics is local” and you can’t get much more local than a voter's back pocket.

The question for voters to ask themselves, should an election come to pass, is which political leader is truly the most harmful to the economy?

Think about it. If you’ve already spent thousands of dollars, believing that you would get a sizeable portion of that money back, are you more or less likely to curb your spending over the coming months now that you have been told you may never see a dime of what you were promised?

On the other hand, if you’ve yet to spend a penny on home renovations are you more or less likely to do so now that Mr. Harper has put the “Home Renovation Tax Credit” up for grabs in a self serving political game?

For most Canadians the answer to both of those questions is pretty clear.

So which leader is the most harmful to the economy?

Is it really, as Mr. Harper would have us to believe, Michael Ignatieff, a man most of us know very little about? Possibly.

Or is it the current Prime Minister, a man who, by using the “Home Renovation Tax Credit” as a self-serving political hammer may well have single handedly done more to stifle discretionary consumer spending than the economic downturn itself?

Remember, even if the opposition parties rise to the bait and kill the rebate bill, if even temporarily, it was Mr. Harper who self servingly put that program on the chopping block and raised the axe high into the air.


Anonymous said...

The "Home Renovation Tax Credit" is not very much to begin with. And yes, you might say it is better than nothing. However, people who have renovated their homes had to spend $10,000 in order to receive $1300....that return is laughable but I do understand your Harper argument. We cannot though, let Mr. Ignatief off the hook either. Are you aware of his slam speech delivered to Trinity College in Dublin in 2005? Mr. Ignatief is an opportunist and will be no better than Mr. Harper.

Patriot said...

Can't say I disagree, just trying to make a point (one that might get lost in the coming days).

As far as I'm concerned they're all the same. No matter the party they cow tow to the majority (read ontario/quebec) and to hell with everyone else.

It's the system. Not the players. They just play by the rules (No matter how disgusting those rules may be).

Ussr said...

Myles, Iggy has no choice but too run now.If he doesn't he will continue to be viewed as a paper tiger by the voters of Canada.Doesn't make him any better then Harper or any worse.My question is, how will screw over Newfoundland and Labrador when he does get power.

The polls have the Neo-Cons and the Mushy-Peas both at 32.5 on the voter scales as of last night.

" Republic Of "

Anonymous said...

Could they ie Liberals not argue they are supporting bill because it was part of budget passed in the spring. So technically it is not new legislation really. It is just a formality which is good for Canadians.

Anonymous said...

The problem with politics in Canada and especially Newfoundland has to do with people. Some minister or would be leader shakes a hand and that person runs off declaring what a nice guy he is. Then there is the fact there are so many Canadians living from one pay cheque to the other wondering if they will have job on Monday morning. Keeping the masses scared is what is happening in Canada now. With this in mind, is it believable that the inner circle of any government in Canada likes it that way so they can put in power who they want? I have just returned to Canada after living ten years outside the country ...for work purposes...and I can tell you, Canadians were a lot happier in 1999 than they are now. For example the Canadian Health Care system is NOT the best in the world....it is in a horrible mess. It has declined badly....and why is that? Do we want the system they have in the US?...maybe doctors do. 30% of children are living below the proverty level putting Canada at the bottom of the list for good infrastructure when it comes to the support of children. South Korea is way ahead of us as is America. We are last on the list by UN standards. Those are the things that need to be addressed by want-to-be leaders. Ignatief can complain all he wants regarding Canada and the amount of money the government puts into education. The more money allocated toward health care and education, the happier a country is. Why is it the French have less health problems than we do (heart attack)? They drink more alcohol and eat more fatty foods than we do. The French have job security as does Norway..a country where they have excellent education and health care as well as Japan....that is why they live longer. Canadians have to be more astute regarding who we put in power and it is our job to keep politains on their toes.

NL-ExPatriate said...

If you consider that no federal party can call a referendum and as such can not be considered a separatist party.

There has been more than one Bloc party in canada over the years.

The Sask CCF or Sask Block under Tommy Douglas's mouseland.

Preston manning, Stockwell Day, Stephen Harper's Reform/Alliance Bloc Alberta.

and of course the french(Quebec) Bloc Aka Bloc Quebecois.

Now consider that Harper's Conservatives is a coalition of the

C onservatives
R eform
A lliance

It really makes you wonder why he was so hypocritical when the Liberals
and Bloc were going to form a coalition to give us a majority govt?

Considering he came from the Alberta Bloc Reform/Alliance party roots and coalition?

Of all the countries in the world to have coalition govts you would think canada with it's supposed history of compromise, and debate would be a shoe in?