Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Joke's On Us

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.


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

When evaluating the actions of the Conservative government one has to keep in mind their ideological and prejudicial point of view. Harper althought a pragmatist is a libertarian at heart. In Alberta his heart would be with the Wild Rose Party, in which he has several friends.

On the other hand the Ontario Liberal Party is a big disappointment for those of us in Northern Ontario. They are defunding the Ontario Northland Transortation Commission. The only agency that will be completely abandoned. The heart of this is the ONR, the railroad that opened the North East to development. I travel this railroad regularly and prefer it to the bus. It needs improvement not cessation. Parallel to it from North Bay to Hunsville the Ontario government is just now finishing an expanded four lane highway. If they had put this money into the railroad they would not need this highway to move people. In the process this highway has killed several small town economically.

There is an effort to have the NDP make this a game changer. If the ONR is not saved they should not support the budget. For me, if the NDP does not take this hard line and sells the North out they will have failed their vast constituency in the North.

Ironically. this railroad is being abandoned at a time when some major communities along its route are economically expanding (Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Cockrane) as new mines are opening up.

Perhaps it is time to revive the efforts to have Northern Ontario become a Province, so we can benefit from the wealth from resources that go south.

Anonymous said...

Great catch there.. that's a ridiculous 'economy' or 'savings' .. rather its a vicious, ignorant, shameful stab to the heart at our Canadian community levels. I will check with the local library in Harper's hometown neighborhood of Leaside in Toronto to hear if they have been notified they have fallen into unnecessary charitable status and will lose access to the internet.

Owen Gray said...

Both Harper's Conservatives and McGuinty's Liberals have bought into the myth that you can cut your way to prosperity, Philip.

We've been down this road before -- and we did not like where it took us.

Anonymous said...

For Decades the Conservatives/Reform/CRAP candidates have been touting their fiscal responsibility, and worse yet, getting a pass by the mainstream media on the same.

When you look at the reality, CONSERVATIVE Governments are the worst thing to happen to our state. They are fiscally irresponsible and they always sacrifice the Civil part of civil society.

Two of the unwritten attrocities -
Issue 1) TFSAs - on the surface what a great idea. As a boomer myself I thank them. From a social perspective, "WAY TO SCREW not only our kids but our GRANDKIDS as well". An RRSP requires the government to fund the tax break out of current revenue. Then it gets to take it back in the future (presumably). The TFSA causes no pain currently, but will reduce tax revenue in the future. Great policy while boosting the deby with continuous deficits.

Issue 2) Another kill on civil society - "TORTURE is OK when it is done on behalf of the STATE. Let me paraphrase what that means...


Bemused Lurker (And I don't give the cops permission to TASER my kids)

Owen Gray said...

The argument which Conservatives float all the time is that deficits create a burden for our children.

But, in the present, they are selling the next generation down the river. It is no accident that youth unemployment is so high.

Owen Gray said...

I've always felt that someone who refuses to forget where he or she came from has a firmer grip on reality than some one who runs away from his or her past.

Stephen Harper ran away from Leaside a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

In order to further emphasize how much the joke is on us, here is an excerpt from today's Ottawa Citizen (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Canada%2Bworst%2Bplaces%2Binvest%2B2012%2Breport/6435951/story.html) :

"The S&P/TSX 60 index, comprising the 60 highest-capitalization stocks on the broader index, ranked 21st on the list of developed country indexes with its 0.7 per cent year-to-date return. Only Spain's Ibex 35 and Portugal's PSI-20 indexes delivered worse returns.

And when ranked among commodity-producing countries, Canada was the worst performer of all, eighth on a scale of eight".

Thus even when compared to other commodity producing countries, our resource based economy is not even performing well.

Doesn't it say it all when only Spain's and Portugal's stock market indexes fared worse?

thwap said...

The Canadian people have had enough of the harpercons. Have no fear. Their government won'tlast the year.

Owen Gray said...

Believe me, thwap. I sincerely hope you're right.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting, Anon, that ever since the Harperites tabled the budget, the TSX has gone south.

What's happened in Europe is proof that you can't cut your way to prosperity. But this government -- headed by a man who calls himself an economist -- keeps insisting that we can.

Anonymous said...

I find this strange given that the PM and much of his "base" are (supposedly) evangelical Christians. Last time I checked, the New Testament calls for charity, not fighter planes. Anachronism aside, I'm sure the Bible's teachings don't call for procuring fighter planes while so egregiously violating the 9th commandment.

I'm starting to feel bad for many Conservatives--the ones who like and trust Harper. I hope that they realize that this government can't be trusted, and that they don't abandon political life as a result.


Owen Gray said...

It would be ironic, wouldn't it, Anon, if the party's whose political success has been based on suppressing its opponents' voters wound up suppressing their own partisans?