Harper's ridiculous act of political brinksmanship has taken an economic crisis and made it into a political crisis. it has encouraged an unprecedented coalition of Liberals and New Democrats. A coalition prepared to take over the reigns of government.
Instead of reaching out, as leader of a minority government and as president-elect Barack Obama is doing by talking to moderate Republicans, he smacked his opponents in the chops.
Instead of heeding the advice of economists everywhere that the economy needs stimulus, he got his Minister of Finance to present a budget that offered cutbacks and tiny surpluses that absolutely no one believes will be realized.
Instead of supporting the fight against political corruption and vote buying they plan to eliminate a $1.95-per-vote annual tax subsidy for political parties. The plan would all but cripple the opposition, while saving the treasury a paltry $30-million.
Faced with Harper’s folly the opposition parties have cobbled several variations of a motion to go to parliament next week. These range from a call to turn the focus back to the economy through to a full on non-confidence motion which:
- denounces the Conservatives' handling of the economy
- expresses that the House has lost confidence in the Conservative government
- expresses that in the opinion of the House, an alternative government can be formed from existing Members of the Parliament
So what would this Liberal led coalition offer in its economic package? According to the party’s finance spokesman Scott Brison measures to be considered would include:
- an increase and an acceleration of infrastructure measures, with a particular focus on green infrastructure
- an increase in support for Research and Development measures that can take place in the short-term
- working with provinces to improve programs for Canadian workers to train and retrain as part of life-long learning to help them cope with current and future economic realities
- working with manufacturing, forestry and auto sector leaders to develop measures that help strengthen their position during this crisis.
With regards to the auto sector, we would not continue to be a bystander in these important ongoing negotiations in the
We would also convene an immediate First Ministers conference to partner with provinces to ensure the stimulus comes into effect quickly and makes an impact now in the downturn, but also contributes to greater productivity and prosperity in the future as the global economy recovers.
Curiously, according to recent polling, the majority of Canadians believe the Conservatives are best suited to delivering on the economy. In the face clear evidence that Harper is more concerned about politics than he is about the country’s wellbeing that sentiment might be at risk.
But to give the country confidence in a potential coalition the Liberals must show some real spine and resolve their leadership issues. Even if it goes back to the wider membership in due course the federal caucus and party executive need to bite the bullet in the short term and install workable leadership.
One major display of a country first attitude would surely involve putting ego aside for the sake of wider interests. Any potential coalition must be predicated on the public interest over petty politics.