Thursday, November 27, 2008

 

THE WHAT IF? FACTOR

I don't know whether I am angry, or just shaking in disbelief. It has been less than four hours...In politics they say a day can be an eternity. The fiscal update tabled by the Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty, is either a sham; or just about the most cynically politically expedient manoeuvre of the century. I could just spit!

I am not a wealthy Canadian, but just about like everyone else my somewhat limited investments for the future, in my case mostly in Registered Retirement Savings deposits, have been savaged by the economic meltdown. I agree with Mr. Flaherty that none of the current economic mess is of Canada's making. Blame the Americans.

I did however expect that my Government...my elected political leaders would offer-up some kind of early financial stimulus to help sort-out the confusion which afflicts the country's finances. Maybe I am getting this all wrong. My sense though is that what Mr. Flaherty delivered was a political taunt to the opposition parties to "put-up...or shut-up!"

The Conservatives may very well have put the country on track for a Constitutional crisis which we Canadians, particularly given the economic conditions, cannot afford to contemplate. I am reminded of Nero's fiddling while Rome was burning. Shame on every one of the 308 Members of Parliament...Shame on each and every one of us for being duped into electing them just six weeks ago.

Time is critically crucial and short. It is expected that the legislative requirements of the fiscal update delivered by Mr. Flaherty this afternoon will be tabled in the House of Commons on Monday. At this point each of the three opposition parties say they cannot support the legislation which the government will be tabling. Mr. Harper's government says it is an issue of Confidence. If the government were to end-up being defeated on this legislation, the opposition Liberals are counting on the Governor-General to ask them to form a coalition government with the New Democrats to run the country. Frankly this is a scenario that not one of us should wish to contemplate.

The Liberals, saddled with a lame-duck leader, have neither a plan nor the political support amongst the opposition NDP and the Bloc Quebecois to pull-off the bail-out package the country so desperately needs. Sadly, unfortunately, cynically that appears to be just what Mr. Harper's Government is counting on.

The economic and social meltdown in the United-States is the root cause of the financial difficulties which are buffeting our country. Everyone knows that. If the Government is unable to come-up with a plan to sort-out our problems until the new Barack Obama administration down south is in place with its own plan, why don't Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty say so. I think most Canadians would understand.

The danger with the cynical political games which appear to be about to get underway is that they will plunge our country into a Constitutional crisis, further divide the efforts to solve the problems, and generally make matters worse. I think really that we should expect better from reasonably intelligent politicians.

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