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Archive for the ‘Canadian Politics’ tag

Canadian Conservatives Morphing Into Republicans

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Remember how GW Bush inherited a surplus from Bill Clinton and left behind a ginormous deficit for his Kenyan born socialist successor? The magic of the Bush tax cuts and two expensive and unpaid for wars. The U.S. GOP has apparently taught their junior partners in Canada well.

According to the Globe and Mail, one of many daily rags who favor fiscal conservatism and endorsed Harper in the recent election, the Conservatives are now confessing that they made up all that stuff about balancing the budget in four years:

The revised 2011 budget that the government will present next month will not show a surplus by 2014-15 as promised in black and white in the Conservative campaign platform, even though the government insists it still intends to deliver on the election promise.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he needs time to consult economists and to draft a clear plan to deliver the extra savings Prime Minister Harper promised during the election campaign.

“We will do the strategic and operating review and we will book [those savings] once the review is done. That will get us to balance a year earlier, but is not part of the upcoming budget,” Chisholm Pothier, Mr. Flaherty’s spokesperson, said on Wednesday.

The platform promise was surprising because just a week before the election campaign began, Mr. Flaherty released a budget that would balance the books in 2015-16. That budget forecast a tiny deficit of $300-million in 2014-15. It also promised a plan would be drawn up later this year to see if further savings of $4-billion a year could be found, but these savings were not included in the government’s projections.

Will Flaherty consider raising corporate taxes? Maybe stop the purchase of jets and jails? Pffft! Don’t be silly. That would be responsible.

Will he look for social programs to cut? Offload more of the cost of health care to the provinces? Maybe. But only if the Prairies are flat and Montreal is a culturally rich and cosmopolitan city.

In the words of someone named Thor at Driving the Porcelain Bus:

The Conservatives campaigned on a pledge to show a surplus by 2014-2015. I don’t believe they ever meant to keep this promise and here we are, less than 2 weeks since the election, and the Conservatives are already saying that won’t be able to keep that promise. The way they plan to waste money on unnecessary things (jets with no engines, mega-jails, more corporate tax cuts), they will have to make severe cuts to transfer payments to the provinces and social support programs in order to balance the budget.

The silver lining is that The Cons will pay a steep political price for this little trick. At this rate, (meaningless) polls will soon show the NDP and the Cons neck and neck.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2011 at 8:21 am

Canadian Election Update – 9/28/08

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Since the last update, The Liberals have continued their downward drift, though a couple of pols seem to show their support stabilizing somewhere between 25% and 30%. On the other hand, an Angus Reid pol released on Saturday 9/27 has the NDP and Liberals tied for second place at 21%.

The Conservatives maintain a lead, but polls differ as to how big that lead is. It is clear that Stephen Harper is close to majority territory, but hasn’t nailed it down as of this moment.

The Bloc Quebecois has seen a small surge fueled by anti conservative sentiment. They remain in first place in Quebec. The Conservatives look to gain some seats there, but again they are being hampered by the Bloc. The Liberals are weak in Quebec, but no one knows how far they will fall. The NDP will apparently win more than one seat in Quebec, a record for that party.

The conservatives retain a strong lead over a surging NDP in British Columbia, with the Liberals facing possible losses. The Greens continue to suck support from the Grits but still don’t have a realistic shot at winning a seat. a. In Alberta, the Tories remain far ahead of everyone else, though some observers think the NDP has a chance in one Edmonton riding.

Most polls have the Conservatives gaining in Ontario at the Liberals’ expense. The NDP is also gaining in Canada’s largest province.

In the Atlantic provinces, it is anybody’ guess as to who wins what.

Here is a link to Polling Observatory, a site that is kind of the British version of 538.

And here is the Election page of the Globe and Mail, with links to all the major pollsters.

Written by slothropia

September 28th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

A Double Dose of Election Fever

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I was sitting on the couch for a year and a half, enjoying the spectacle that is 21st century U.S. Presidential politics. I obsessively watched at least some of the debates during the primary, cheering the Democrats and cursing the GOP. I was slow to accept Obama, but now I’m convinced he is the best politician I have ever seen operate. I believe he will win, though he is lucky to have a buffoon for an opponent.

So, like I said, I was enjoying the rich pageantry of the election here in the states, anxiously waiting for election night catharsis when my fellow Canadians decided to distract me with an election of their own.

So what am I sposed to do now; spend twice as much time on the internet, gobbling scraps of election info from news sites and bloggers in two countries? Yep, that’s what I’m doing.

I often compare and contrast aspects of the two countries I have split my ragged life between. Similarities abound, but the differences are legion, if often subtle.

Take electoral politics for example. The two cultures could not be more starkly dissimilar in the ways they elect their leaders (though the policy differences aren’t as large as many would prefer).

As noted earlier, Americans take years to elect a President. The primaries began in January of this year of course, but the campaigns began at the end of 2006.

The current Canadian election was called on September 7 and will be held on October 14 — an election campaign of 37 days, compared to the two year campaign that will elect President Obama.

In the U.S. there are two parties. Yes, I know, there are several other parties and candidates that will be on the ballots of most states, but they are given no chance to really compete, and that’s just the way the Democrats and Republicans like it.

Canada has four parties that had seats in the recently dissolved House of Commons, and another that at least has a chance to win at least one or two. Five Parties will be yelling at each other in the big TV debate. Two will swap snappy one liners in the U.S. Presidential debate.

Gotta admit, the American debate will be easier to follow.

Americans elect everything from President to Dog Catcher on the same day with the same ballot and it takes days to count the votes (if they ever get counted at all — right Diebold?).

Canadians mark one ballot WITH A PENCIL and it takes no more than 2 hours to declare a winner.

Do Canadians enjoy a higher standard of living (blame the WHO, not me) complete with free medical care as a result of their political system. I believe so. More parties can seriously compete for power, bring to the table more ideas for solutions to problems.

In the U.S. we all know what the problems are, and there are many ideas for solutions, but a sclerotic political system has created gridlock, and problems are not effectively addressed. That is what the 2008 U.S. election is really about, but the same system that elects him will make things very difficult for President Obama.

Written by slothropia

September 17th, 2008 at 8:33 pm