Sunday, November 30, 2008

Will Harper eat his Red Herring?

The Canadian Government announced their economic update on Thursday. It contained two main components. There was a demonstration that the government was sympathizing with the people by cutting government perks and raises. They would also eliminate the $1.95 per vote subsidy the government pays to counter act the restrictions placed by fundraising restrictions brought in by Jean Chretien. The opposition parties opposed the economic update because it did not contain any economic stiumulus package.

The elimination of the subsidy was a red herring. The Conservative Party is the only party that has been successful at adjusting to the new fundraising restrictions. The Liberals are already in financial trouble. The subsidy accounts for 83% of the Bloc's funding. The NDP would also be hurt by a loss of financial support. Harper could not have expected to get this confidence motion through parliament. I beleive the plan was to propose it with the intention of dropping it, in a show of compromise. The update would be passed. The opposition parties would be exposed for operating out of self interest rather than being upset about the lack of an economic stimulus. It would also serve as a distraction that although government perks are being eliminated, Harper has significantly increased the number of cabinets ministers he has. While the perks may be reduced there are more people receiving them.

The opposition parties are refusing to back down. The government announced that they are going to bring in an early budget, which would bring in an economic stimulus after consultations with the provinces. That should have settled all the reasons for refusing to backdown. The opposition appears to be refusing to back down.

The opposition parties are still claiming that they will bring down the government in hopes of bringing in a Liberal/NDP with BQ support coalition government. The parties are united in their hatred for the Conservatives. How are they going to govern? They are three parties that want to take Canada in different directions. The Green Shift was the key plank in the Liberal platform that the NDP opposed. Who would be Prime Minister? Dion would seem to be the only logical choice. Would being Prime Minister be enough to cancel the leadership race so he can stay on. Dion kept all of the leadership contenders out of his shadow cabinet. Would he leave his star talent out of his cabinet?

In the end this is all banter as all parties should be afraid to go to the polls only 6 weeks into their new mandate. Sometimes in a game of chicken someone forgets to blink. If everyone plays there hands correctly this issue will blow over next week, when the fiscal update is approved by Parliament.

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