Stealth budgets and simpletons

Stealth budgets and simpletons

A private members bill that would allow RESP savings to be directly tax deductable, and cost somewhere between $900 million and $2 billion dollars (both more or less made-up numbers, if you read the article) was passed in the House, and now sits before the Senate.

The Conservatives, thoroughly emasculated (and confused, we imagine; there must be a lot of paper-shuffling and looking at letterheads. But no, it says right there that Im the Minister!) are asking the Liberal Senate to drop it. We dont expect that will happen.

This is precisely why Minority governments require openness, tact and intelligence, signs of which are noticably lacking from the doughy wasteland of Peter Harpers forehead.

The measure itself is a good idea, though quite possibly not an affordable one. Something the Conservatives ought to have considered since they knew they couldnt vote  it out.

Democracy struggles with tar

As former denizens of the tax hatin est, gun totin est, most cow eatin est and best educated est province in this glorious dominion (complete statistics only appeared in the print version), we were not especially surprised by the results of the election two days ago.The longed-for revolution just wouldnt make the leap off the written page. We find it amusing that this disappointed anyone.

Now, unlike sales of cowboy boots for once a year company pancake breakfasts, Alberta does not have a monopoly on low turnout (most western democracies without compulsory voting systems, like Australia, suffer from this problem to some degree.) That said, less than half the population voted and this is significant.

For the cities, our explanation is that money and low density discourage voter turnout. Calgary and Edmonton are grey stains on the landscape, furiously leaking into the farmland around them, and neither city has a mayor willing to bite the bullet and slow things down  the economy is booming and theres too much demand. It is preferable to cry for provincial infrastructure funds and avoid long-term planning.

Things just arent bad enough. Other than traffic and a lack of parking, with even supermarkets putting out neon signs advertising $15 per hour cashier jobs, it would take a major catastrophe for the greying electorate to rouse themselves out of their Coca-cola comas and consider voting, let alone for anyone other than the Conservatives. Suburbanites inevitably have an entitled attitude towards government, since their public social interactions are limited to looking at the car next to them. These are not people with a strong sense of the obligations of citizenship, they live in a delusion of independence encouraged by multiple cars, single-family homes and high incomes.

The leadership issue was a red herring. A plate of beans has more charisma than Ed Stelmach, and would be the premier if it was on the ballot in Conservative blue. The failure of the other parties notwithstanding, Jesus himself could have emerged out of the tar sands and he would have struggled to get elected for any other party.

As for the rural constituents, they did as rural constituents tend, and the system gave them a disproportionate voice, but this still doesnt account for the Conservative domination. The electorate didnt want change, which feels more risky during a boom than a bust, and so they didnt go to vote.

Until things start going terribly wrong, and it will likely take some time (Extra! Extra! Maybe not? before they do, Albertans will sleepily hold the Conservatives hand into a future of endless oil revenues, low taxes and bad traffic.

As usual, you read it here first.A parallel can be drawn to the federal Conservatives, with most Canadians feeling like they havent done anything crazy yet, and the opposition strategy appearing to be, were  killing time until they do.


Harper tells the teacher

Harper tells the teacher

Weve been avoiding lAffair Cadman since its been done to death  elsewhere. But the news that Prime Minister Harper is threatening a lawsuit laughed us into action.

Weve always found The Pillsbury PM petulant, obviously a simpleton and a bully, so these hysterics arent really surprising. He was leader of the Conservatives at the time, so demands for a personal explanation are perfectly reasonable. Their handing of the fracas so far implicated him further, and now hes embarrassing himself by threatening this suit.

Its unbecoming to a Prime Minister, and stinks un-Canadian. If the allegations really held no water he wouldnt have to stoop like this, and could deal with them directly.

Newsflash: the widow speaks. I knew he was telling the truth; I could see it in his eyes. Which reminds us of George and Vladimir and is, truely, a postmodern argument

Kosovo not Quebec

Kosovo not Quebec

Singularly rare that we have nothing to add, but if you are interested in secession, please read this column by former Chretien advisor Eddie Goldenberg.

Quebec  Kosovo. This will hardly plug the taps of rhetoric, of course, since so few of the loud people can read