Thursday, July 23, 2015

There's An Old Fashioned Word For That


What passes for Conservatism these days is really Harperism. Those who know what Conservatism means are appalled by Pierre Poilievre's Travelling Payola Show. Certainly former Harper Party MP Brent Rathgeber is. He writes:

There was a time when Conservatives would scoff at — or at least be embarrassed by — such huge expenditures, especially ones linked to the welfare state. But I truthfully can’t remember when that might have been. After seven consecutive deficit budgets, adding over $200 billion to the national debt — including the single largest deficit in Canadian history — it’s clear that this Conservative government is not too embarrassed to spend taxpayers’ dollars in large quantities.

You might think, however, that there would be some principled people remaining in the Conservative party who would see through all of this blatant, shameless self-promotion, on the eve of a national election when the Conservatives are trailing in the polls. Apparently, there aren’t.

And that's just the point. Stephen Harper has expelled those people from the party -- among them Rathgeber, who knows that the roadshow is all a ruse. The old Child Tax Credit was not taxable. Not so the UCCB:

The cheques might appear large — $520 for children under six, $420 for children under 18. But this is not “Christmas in July” for parents. In the last omnibus budget bill, the government eliminated the Child Tax Credit. The new Universal Child Care Benefit is taxable income. So although you get to cash the cheque before the election, you’ll be taxed on it come April. With the elimination of the Child Tax Credit, a family earning $90,000 per year will only be able to keep an extra $7.50 per month after the tax clawback.

From a political and electoral perspective, of course, it matters not. The cheques get cashed before the election. The tax liability is not incurred until six and a half months after the government hopes to be re-elected.

So the whole exercise is fundamentally dishonest and fundamentally contrary to what used to the bedrock principles of conservatism:

Conservatives in this country used to stand for something — for small, limited government, for low taxes, for individual choice and individual responsibility for choices made. This week’s spectacle showed that the Conservatives are no better as guardians of public money than any other party; worse, they have taken electioneering and electoral bribery to new and dangerous levels. 

The fundamental principle of Harperism is that you use public money to buy votes. There's an old fashioned word for that: fraud.


Hugh said...

Owen Gray said...

It's the old magician's trick, Hugh. Create a diversion, so people won't see what's really going on.

rumleyfips said...

Leaks are becoming a problem for the reformatories ( and a delight for me ) . The bureaucrats are not happy and are chewing through the harper muzzle.

I hope and suspect there is more to come in the next little while.

Owen Gray said...

The leaks are just a Preview of Coming Attractions, rumley. When the dam breaks, Canadians will be horrified.

Toby said...

Owen, I hope your are right but I see very little evidence that most Canadians are paying attention and I doubt they will in the future. At some point they may look up, wonder what happened and go back to texting what they had for breakfast.

Owen Gray said...

Fraudsters can only succeed if their victims are gullible. If we are gullible, Toby, it's because we choose to be so.

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting companion piece in this morning's Sydney Morning Herald, Owen. Former Cameron government environment minister, Brit Tory MP, denounces Abbott (and, by implication, Harper) for environmental policies that 'distort' (i.e. pervert) the essence of conservatism.

"The first leader of any major nation to call for a United Nations treaty on climate change was Margaret Thatcher – Britain's greatest postwar Prime Minister and a standard bearer for the political right.

"As a scientist she saw the threat posed by climate change. But she also believed in a vision of economic growth that went beyond the immediate interests of major corporations: "We must have continued economic growth in order to generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment. But it must be growth which does not plunder the planet today and leave our children to deal with the consequences tomorrow.'"

Read more:

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Mound. Love her or hate her, Maggie was a true conservative. She was also an intelligent conservative. Harper and Abbott are neither.

zoombats said...

Margaret Thatcher – Britain's greatest postwar Prime Minister and a standard bearer for the political right. That's a bit of a stretch. The mining communities in the north as well as just about every Scot would beg to differ!

Owen Gray said...

I agree, zoombats. But, say what you will about her, she was no fraud.