Thursday, October 29, 2015

They Were About Power


There is much on the Liberal agenda that Andrew Coyne doesn't like. But he admits that the proposals are ambitious -- even radical:

All right. It’s an ambitious platform. Strikingly so, in fact. One consequence of the long campaign is that ideas that are objectively radical come to seem commonplace, through sheer repetition. No, the Liberals would not take Canada on an abrupt “lurch to the left,” as one commentator claimed. But neither is this the formless, shapeless party of old. These are big, bold, often risky proposals, and if some are not especially well-considered, well, you can’t say we weren’t warned.

But there is much else that represents a real departure, including a complete revamp of child benefit policies, scrapping a passel of existing programs worth $18 billion annually in favour of a new Canada Child Benefit that would deliver more to those at the bottom and less to those at the top. Add to that legalizing pot, expanding the Canada Pension Plan, “putting a price on carbon,” implementing every one of the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and a “non-partisan, merit-based” process for Senate appointments — not to mention the political revolution that electoral reform alone would bring about — and you have quite the packed agenda.

The agenda indicates that the Liberals are serious about "Real Change:"

The point is that they are substantive, lending credibility to the “Real Change” slogan. If the Liberals have absorbed some ideas they once rejected — such as free trade, keeping corporate tax rates low, or providing benefits in cash rather than in kind — they have also proved willing to strike out in fresh new directions of their own. And it worked. If there is one single reason for their remarkable success in this election — from third to first, from 25 per cent in the polls to 40 per cent — it is their daring.

It makes what the Conservatives accomplished over the last ten years look lilliputian:

Contrast, on the other hand, the offerings of the Conservatives. I don’t just mean in the thin little document the party put out as its platform, almost self-parodying in its spray of micro-targeted tax credits in every direction. I mean over the last 10 years. What, in all seriousness, does the Harper government have to show for its time in office? I mean on the positive side. The Accountability Act, its first piece of legislation; the European and Trans-Pacific trade agreements, still unratified; its deft handling of the financial crisis, and its work over the last few years in unwinding the deficit it so rashly plunged the country into.

But, then, the Harperites were never about policy. They were about power.


The Mound of Sound said...

It's refreshing to hear a MSM voice put Harper's record, Canada's 10-lost years, into perspective. Coyne is right. Harper has no legacy. There's nothing he truly achieved that put a lasting stamp on the country and our people. Even those who did like the guy spoke of him as a competent shopkeeper, nothing more. The editorials endorsing Harper reflected a bar set laughably low. I suspect that partly explains the outburst of demands that an airport be named after him. They probably realize he'll be quickly forgotten, at best a footnote in Canadian history. There's no Bill of Rights, no national flag, no Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and nothing approaching these achievements for Shifty Steve to prevent him from fading into obscurity.

ron wilton said...

I guess my HDS (harper disgust syndrome) has not yet subsided because I cannot for the life of me think of anything they/he have done that would be considered a benefit to or an accomplishment for Canada or Canadians.

Owen Gray said...

Length of time in office, Mound, is no measure of greatness.

Owen Gray said...

As time goes by, ron, I suspect that historians will reach the same conclusion.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

"But then, the Harperites were never about policy. They were about power" You hit the nail on the head Owen. There is no Harper legacy, because there were no Harper achievments. Instead historians will be left with following Harpers attempts at destroying the Canadian government and Canadian democracy. It will be a sole discovery of Harpers pursuit and acquisition of power. A legacy of tyranny and destruction.For Canadians, 9 yrs. of Harpers governance, was 9 yrs. of living in a cultural and political wasteland.

lungta said...

he gave us 10 years to ferment
and forced us to consider
that if you drop the progressive from the conservatives
you get regressive times 10
when you get canadians of every political stripe
joining together to evict the harper style it is telling
he may have shaken us enough
to have us re-evaluate our real values
and have us re-discover voting as a way to be really heard
oh the irony
the man of no vision
gets unintended consequences
his legacy will be like a scary bedtime legend
to warn your political children
of what can happen if you don't pay attention and respond

Owen Gray said...

It would be ironic, wouldn't it lungta, if Harperism took on the same connotations as McCarthyism?

Owen Gray said...

I can't imagine, Pam, that future historians will refer to the Harper Era as a "Golden Age."

Scotian said...

I called Harper the Destroyer and Salter of the Scorched Earth because that really was his true agenda and legacy as a PM. He was never a builder unlike any other PM in our history, he had no real vision of the country in positive terms, only in negative anti-Trudeaupian terms, and therefore there is nothing really to point to as a long lasting positive achievement. Even the few Coyne comes up with are not likely to hold up over the long term scrutiny to come, the economic record will almost certainly be shown to be a mirage either through accounting tricks or resting on the legacy of the prior Lib government he replaced, and the Accountability Act was clearly for show and not substance as shown by the way Harper actually governed.

I've asked people for years now what kind of long term positive achievement has the Harper government given Canadians, and I would point to things/exmples from both Lib and PCPC PMs of years past from the Charter with Trudeau, and the Acid Rain treaty and anti-Apartheid from Mulroney, Dief's original bill of rights, Pearson's Peacekeepers, etc. To this day I've never heard anyone find something that fit the bill, nor can I think of one either. That as much as his corruption of the tools and levers of government is the true measure of the Harper legacy of government, and it is not a good one.

Owen Gray said...

When it comes to the public good, Scotian, Harper has very little to show for his ten years in power.

Raven Corvoid said...

Mound i beg to differ harpola has a lasting legacy. It goes something like this " I turned a democracy into a 'mockracy' hey hey hey. I'll make a mound out of pure B.S. the real stuff not what he is peddling in Saskatchewan and call it the harper ski hill in the winter. In the summer perhaps more fitting bull shit harper hill :>

Anonymous said...

You're forgetting his GREATEST achievement.

He divested Canada of the penny.


the salamander said...

.. suppression .. secrecy.. massive propoganda.. in support of a 'government of one' .. Who knew ? ! ?

Potemkin Village government.. painted faces along the shore.. Look! There's Steve & Laureen with Novak & Kenney !

Owen Gray said...

"Potemkin Village Government" -- an excellent phrase to describe the Harper years, salamander. The government, like the man, was a phoney.

Owen Gray said...

As former Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan said of the late Jim Flaherty, Anon: "He was penny wise and pound foolish."