It was a classic con. Pose as stolid, competent managers while you raid the business, then burn it down. And they pulled it off -- until now. Linda McQuaig writes about how the Harperites must have laughed at all the rubes in The Great White North. They cut back on internet access for the poorest Canadians while sinking money into a flying white elephant:
Throughout that campaign, Harper and his ministers stuck adamantly to the $15 billion estimate — while knowing it wasn’t true — and won a majority government.
Ha ha ha! What a knee slapper! And did you hear the one about the two Canadians who walked into a polling station, only to discover it was the wrong one!
But, while a $10 billion cost overrun is apparently no big deal to the Harperites (who, oddly, present themselves as sound fiscal managers), they quickly shifted into “austerity” mode after the election, lecturing Canadians on the dire need to reign in government spending.
Just last week, citing “challenging fiscal times,” the Harper team ended a program that provides Internet access at libraries and community centres, giving low-income Canadians — about half of whom lack Internet access — a lifeline to the world, as well as a way to apply for jobs.
The nationwide program, which costs only $15 million, operates with the help of volunteers.
This is a government which believes that social programs should not be government's responsibility, because they are -- essentially -- charity. And charity should be voluntary. Except they have ditched the volunteers.
They must have done a lot of snickering on election night. They pulled it off. The joke was on us.