Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Painting the conservative landscape

Ok, that sounds arty, unlikely in Canada when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces $44.8-million in planned cuts to arts-and-culture programs. Girding themselves to call a ‘snap election’ Canada’s Conservatives are also exhibiting how bound they are to doctrine over outcomes.

For Harper the doctrine is a simple one, retain government at all costs. But his coalition of the conservative end of the spectrum have a mix of traditional and neo-conservative agenda to enact, regardless of demonstrative inanity.

Reducing funding to arts and culture, indeed any intellectual pursuit, is policy carved in conservative stone; as are:

  • An aborted effort to give the food industry a greater role in inspection. This policy document surfaced in the same week tainted meat products started killing people across the country. But self regulation is a priority.
  • They backed away from supporting a bill that would have made it a crime to take the life of a fetus. That bill will be replaced by a more convoluted version. Only conservatives have the simply answers to this complex issue.
  • Canada’s Conservatives want to force all prison inmates to work. Again, it must be wonderful to have such simple blanket solutions to highly complex issues.
  • To achieve the ‘holy grail’ of the neo-cons, free trade, the Conservatives are risking Canada’s primary producers walking off their farms if the current controlled marketing systems are dismantled. It is no idle threat; long term farm profit is not based on production, but on trading quotas and other inbuilt instruments.

“The Conservatives were supposed to be the party of economic rectitude. Yet, they'd gone from a surplus of $2.8-billion from the same period a year earlier to $500-million in the red.”

You will note that the only items above that come close to addressing economic conditions either put consumers at risk or destroy the dynamics of a reasonably well run industry. But we know from the examples of Bush in the US and Howard in Australia, conservatives pay lip service to economic rectitude and really focus on ‘out there’ social policy.

Like it or not, the conservative experiment over pat decades has made real economic focus the only priority. We simply don’t have the capacity to tinker with moral/social agendas when the world economies are going down the sink.

The world, societies, have survived this long without the universal enforcement of dubious conservative values. Inevitably the major conflicts and dangers are related to economic and trade issues, from pre-history on. We don’t need more conservative diversion, we need workable economic programs.


lindsaylobe said...

Harper was a ‘Howard’s man’; on most issues as you have aptly explained.

I notice Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the era of large budget surpluses is over (one could reasonably expect them to continue given Canada's natural resources) and his budget projected $2.3 billion surplus is looking very shaky.

But the Governaments generated additional funds from a just-completed wireless spectrum auction, with its $4.25 billion windfall going into the government coffers.

Best wishes

Cart said...

I consider asset windfalls to have as much real substance as a desert mirage.
This one is a good example;
* it is selling rights to companies with appalling records of false billing for dubious products
* The sale price is just a bit higher than Flaherty's announced spending on infrastructure development - which is way under necessity anyway.