Tomorrow’s budget

January 26, 2009 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

You know, I was never more pleased with Harper’s government than when the shit hit the fan in December. I thought he handled the “constitutional crisis” well (although that’s a misnomer – there isn’t and never was any crisis facing the country’s constitution. The country faced a particularly fractious political atmosphere and the Prime Minister, as is his right to do so, approach the GG about prorogation. It seems easy to say now, but it’s the truth: at no point was there any REAL unknown factors at play. Everything proceeded exactly as the constitution dictates it should).

Harper announced his intention to remove the political parties funding, but reinstalled it when the issue became too heated (and the leftist media in this country practically started tripping over themselves to call him a mean-hearted bully, despite the massive support from the public to do away with the funding altogether) which left no rhyme or reason to the continued threats of coalition.

But I’m nervous about this thing tomorrow.  I don’t like the news that tomorrow’s Conservative budget is going to create a $64 billion deficit.

Please note: the Conservatives will be saddled with this deficit come the next election. It will hang around their necks like a dead albatross only because they’ve been forced into a spot where they must appear conciliatory and bipartisan, although they have no obligation whatsoever to do so.

It is NOT the force of the Liberal Party that has pushed the Conservatives to this. If you think that Ignatieff’s new crown as Liberal leader has created this new cheerfulness-at-gunpoint attitude, you’re dreaming: Ignatieff is only meeting with approval when compared to his predecessor, and even then, his numbers haven’t sky-rocketed the way everyone expected them to. Nobody thinks The Harvard Prince has the stuff to make a great PM, he’s just better than the other guy.

No, this is coming from the ridiculous and unwarranted vitriol that has been shovelled around by the Canadian media. Every day, they deemed the situation to be getting worse, unretrievable, dire, a national emergency of unforseen proportions.  They made it seem like a foregone conclusion that any budget that didn’t feature bags and bags of money to be thrown at the economy would lead to a surefire defeat for the Conservatives. And people started to fall for it.

This is all predicated on the idea that, should the budget be too light on stimulus, the coalition would force an election and Harper’s Conservatives would have their goose cooked.  This is where the unbelieveable arrogance of the Canadian media has it all wrong: I don’t believe Harper is now, or was then, anywhere close to losing to a coalition of Libs, Dippers, and the Bloc.  The CBC and the Globe and Mail would never believe that Canadians wouldn’t vote for the left-wing option over Harper, despite the fact that he’s been the longest-serving minority PM in the country’s history.  Goshdarnit, they just keep bringing him BACK!  It’s like the old Broadway saw that my buddy Mark Steyn likes to repeat so often: The show is a total disaster; everybody hates it but the public.

So, inevitably, between Peter Mansbridge’s good cop/bad cop routine with his Ignatieff/Harper interviews and the coverage by the oh-so-objective Globe and Mail, the country was eventually saturated with the notion that any absence of stimulus in the next budget would not be fiscally sound prudence, but political gamesmanship – that mean, arrogant Stephen Harper just thumbing his nose once more at the well-meaning, humbled Liberal Party and hard working Canadians across the country who want their government to step up and do something to fix this horrible mess that we’re kinda/sorta in.

If you want to see an example of the kind of lame ass, biased reporting that I’m talking about, I’ve included excerpts from an article in today’s Globe. Check out the ridiculous choice of biased quotes, most of which are attributed to the Globe’s best friend, Mr. Unnamed Source.

The full story is here, but the choice bits are below.

An unprecedented series of announcements previewing tomorrow’s federal budget continued through the weekend as the Harper government pledged to set aside the partisan gamesmanship that turned its last economic foray into a near-fatal political crisis.

First off, it wasn’t Harper’s political gamesmanship that set off the events in December. It was the irrational forming of a weak coalition government with zero mandate from the Canadian people over something as trivial (and ultimately moot) as political party funding.

“We have grown-ups running the budget process,” a senior government official told The Globe and Mail yesterday on condition of remaining unidentified by name. “There will be no juvenile political games.”

Our good friend, Mr. Unnamed Source That Is High Up In The Conservative Party.

The Conservatives say they’re trying to make sure their entire budget gets publicity rather than risk measures being overlooked in the torrent of budget-day spending news. Also, they argue, leaking budget measures was standard practice under the Liberal governments that preceded theirs. “The budget hasn’t been all kept [secret] for budget day in more than a decade,” one senior official said.

Still, leaks in the Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin era tended to be imprecise hints transmitted through anonymous sources — not public statements by cabinet ministers as the Tories have done.

Oh, is that right? The old Liberal style of dropping shadowy hints about the budget rather than being up-front is preferred to Harper’s method, is it?  That wily old Stephen Harper, using transparency in the country’s finances to mask a far more sinister plot, to be sure. Quick, somebody find a senior Liberal who can make SENSE of all this madness!!

The unusual strategy is to cement public support for the budget and, thus, for the minority Harper government, leaving no reason for the Liberals to vote against it and defeat them (asserted the fair and balanced Globe And Mail team with an unmistakable tone of superiority) “The goal seems to be to delay the executioner,” Liberal finance critic John McCallum said.

I fucking hate you.

This whole stretch nearly gave me an aneurism:

Last fall’s economic statement led to the creation of the Liberal-NDP coalition and the near-death of the government. Government officials have pointed fingers (names? –ed.) at Mr. Giorno, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and at Mr. Harper himself for the statement and its inclusion of such initiatives as suspending the public service’s right to strike and the effort to eliminate voter subsidies to political parties.

While nobody has been reprimanded for the November difficulties, it now appears clear (to the editorial board at the Globe –ed.) the government wants to send a message that it has learned its lesson.

Shifting responsibility for the budget may serve to demonstrate to Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, who must decide whether to keep the government alive (thereby relieving the Canadian voters of their terrible burden –ed.), that the Conservatives are serious about changing their approach.

The government official’s statements are in stark contrast to Mr. Harper’s refusal in his year-end interviews to take any responsibility for last fall’s political crisis (Naturally, I’m sure the Globe tried to contact Stephane Dion to get some acknowledgment of his responsibility, but couldn’t find the ice floe on which the Liberal Party cast him adrift to die –ed.), or to acknowledge that the fiscal update — which he had personally approved — was a mistake. A number of Conservatives (who refused to be named, those brave souls –ed.) now feel that Mr. Harper has to either eat crow and take responsibility for the fiscal update, or assign blame to one of his top operatives for the ensuing political crisis.

It gets better.

One Tory insider also said that the PMO has sent out messages that individual ministers are not to draw attention to themselves during the budget process by pushing forward controversial ideas.

The new co-operative attitude on behalf of the PMO has also been on display with respect to the premiers, business leaders and the civil service. Observers also say Mr. Harper’s authority has been curbed, his agenda circumscribed and his instincts to attack Mr. Ignatieff curtailed.

The hallmarks of good journalism: when you can’t get someone to go on record with their name, “observers” are the next best thing.  Apparently there are scads of people standing around watching the day-in-day-out activites of the prime minister, all privy to his deepest meditations, just waiting for a Globe writer to approach them for their sharp-as-a-tack political analysis.

But wait, there’s a bureaucrat with an opinion as well!

It was a far cry, said one provincial bureaucrat, from last year when Mr. Flaherty advised international investors that Ontario was one of the worst places in the world to invest.

But whether the Prime Minister can rebuild trust quickly is still a question.

When asked (a completely innocent and non-leading question by those intrepid Globe reporters –ed.) whether Mr. Harper would have done so much consulting without the sword of the coalition hanging over his head, the bureaucrat (that’s Mr. The Bureaucrat to you –ed.) said “no way, no way. This isn’t in their DNA. They’re playing against type here.”

Fuck off and die, all of you. There’s not one hardball question for the Liberals, and barely even a discussion about whether or not the leaked details of the budget have met with Liberal approval.  Of course they have.  The Liberals have even more at stake than Harper does right now.

Fuck it.  I’m going back to bed.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

The ‘naug Not before bed, please.

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It's mostly a collection of sweet links and copious amounts of talk talk talk. I like it more and more every day. And yes, even the ugly blue/green color scheme is not without a certain charm.

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