Thursday, July 8, 2010

 

SUMMER OF DISCONTENT(?)

Well, it's called the "Liberal Express" and somewhere, somehow, it will be hitting a town, barbecue, pig roast, Rotary meeting near you any day now, and (apparently) until the end of August.

You may call it what you will; but the underlying message is: Forget Ignatieff: Vote Liberal! Though it's being billed as Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff's attempt to connect with Canadians, the real message may be: Look! He may be a weak leader, but we've got all these other great guys...and frankly folks, wouldn't you rather vote Liberal than give Stephen Harper the majority he doesn't deserve.

This is Mr. Ignatieff's third summer at defining himself to Canadians. He flamed-out as Pierre Trudeau incarnate in summer tour #1 three years ago. Who can forget (oops! Looks like we already have) Mr. Tough Guy of the Summer 2009 tour - "Mr. Harper, your time is up?". Summer 2010: Flavour? To be determined.

Meantime in the other camp: Let's see - "Fall Election Threats Follow Budget Bill Debate" screams the latest Canadian Press headline as the Tories threaten yet another fall election after Liberal Senators stripped provisions from the 2010 budget implementation bill. Somehow, shouldn't we be weary and bored of all this by now?

According to the latest EKOS poll, the Liberals have sunk in popularity to their lowest level in over a year. Respondents claim they'd vote 34% in favour of the Conservatives, compared with 24% for the Liberals if a Federal election were held this week. The Conservatives, specifically the Prime Minister, has / have been in the spotlight over the G-8 & G-20 Summits and the successful visit of The Queen on Canadian soil through the Canada Day celebrations. The even more recent confirmation of David Johnston as the next Governor General seems to be playing particularly well with the conservative masses - "Well, he's not from the CBC" - is apparently the general consensus. But; 34% popular vote is considerably short of the 40-plus percentile generally considered majority government territory.

Mr. Harper thus intends to spend his summer at the Gatineau Hills, Harrington Lake estate, official country residence of the nation's Prime-Minister. Senator Douglas Finley who is threatening a fall election over the Senate's debate of the Federal budget bill, is the Federal Conservative Party Campaign Director. Mr. Harper may be on "staycation" up at Harrington Lake, but never too far for a huddle (or two) with the Tory campaign managers who've already acknowledged..."The buses, the planes, the trains, the money, the boardroom - every thing's ready to rock and roll."

Can the Conservatives pull-off a "majority" win election this fall? It's already a given that Micheal Ignatieff is out unless the Liberals can extricate a quite unlikely winning rabbit out of their hat come the next general election. But, Harper's future may be no more assured, and hang squarely on a "majority" win. A fourth unsuccessful attempt could be mortally wounding to the Prime Minister's leadership and insider pressure to step aside difficult to ignore.

Within days of "mounting the throne" (as it were) come September, Governor-General David Johnston may just be asked, as was his predecessor in 2008, to dissolve Parliament and call Canadians to another unwanted General Election. As the Conservatives face the prospect of implementing massive Federal program cuts to rein-in their own unprecedented $60-Billion budget shortfall; it is the future of both major national party leaders which may be at stake.

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Comments:
Well, as the old saying goes, "whoever gets elected, the government gets in!

While it is good to keep an eye on the overall political picture, I think our best option for having a fit world to live in is to start at the local level, where our voices are more easily heard and where they can make a difference in how we chose to live. Enough like minded people in communities can influence districts, provinces, regions and finally, change thoughts and politics at a national level.

It takes an acorn to grow a mighty oak... or something like that, eh?
 
I think that you may just have something there. A large part of the problem (as you've identified) is the disconnect between levels of government who (frequently) forget there's just one tax payer. The problem is perhaps exacerbated in Canada where most major cities have populations greater than half a dozen of the provinces (N.B. for instance has a population equal to Hamilton, Ontario), yet maintain all of the bureaucracy, infrastructure and political discourse as do much larger entities. The costs are staggering and ultimately unsustainable.
 

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