I note that a number of folks have been taking breaks from blogging of late...a point accentuated by our old friend Impolitical yesterday. That ever-prescient Imp (pun intended) must have known what was coursing through my mind. I am also taking a break...done it before...no big deal. Might even give away this old site, since we are just about to celebrate the 100,000 visit mark (actually at about 97,700 visits and 135,00 page views as of now). Someone with a yen for carving up the political landscape might find it useful to start with a ready made audience.
But...before I go...I just have to highlight the humour that is embodied in the Tories' current and growing fear of some sort of coalition in opposition to them. The normally reasonably sensible Steve Janke enters the fray today at the Nat Post. He ties himself up in knots discussing platforms and this and that and the other thing. essentially making a case that a platform, is a platform, is a platform and voters cast their ballots based on them and therefore you can't meld any two together after an election. Pretty much the PMO talking points of recent vintage. He studiously avoids some things...just like his PMO inspirationistas.
First, if a platform is sacred, as he implies, then where in Stephen Harper's Plan for Canadians, the Tory platform 2008, is there any talk of changing the financial subsidy for Canadian political parties? There was NO mention. Which is precisely why the minority Parliament reacted the way it did after the Harper Economic Update in November of 2008...and why Harper scurried off to see the Governor General with his tail between his legs at that time.
Second, Mr. Janke seemingly has missed the entire recent UK election. Of course, in that case a Conservative Party, in a minority situation, actually did what they are supposed to do and made changes to their election platform in order to create a coalition government. Changes that Cameron did not make mention of during the election campaign, as Janke claims is essential. Actually, Clegg and Cameron performed much the same as Bob Rae and David Peterson did in 1985. Oops, not quite...there were no NDPers in the Ontario Cabinet following that accord. So, Cameron and Clegg went further...after the election. Naughty Conservatives for sure, if they were in Stephen Harper's Canada.
Third, Mr. Janke claims that, "...the only true legitimacy comes from running on a coalition platform during the election...". One can assume from this that we were to take the Conservative/Reform coalition platform in 2008 at face value. Alas, a quick perusal shows some inconsistency with the Janke/PMO thesis.
There is not one word about stimulus in the Harper Plan...even though the economy was already in a tailspin. It must have been, since it was Mr. Harper who insisted that the debates include an "economy" section, as I recall. By the way, The Harper Plan was released after the debates...so it surely could have included at least a passing mention of the possibility of the Harper Keynesian flip flop that was to come.
Indeed, if the platform is sacrosanct, as Mr. Janke claims, it is worth noting that some anomalies are cropping up that require explanation. For instance, the Harper Plan for Canadians said: "We will reverse the 2004 and 2005 Liberal cuts to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Western Economic Diversification and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, and ensure that spending on regional development will remain at least equal to current levels." (Pg. 18, Stephen Harper's Plan for Canadians, October, 2008)
Stockwell Day's actions speak differently: Regional development agencies and Industry Canada – which provide what Prime Minister Stephen Harper used to attack as “corporate welfare” – will be at the front of the line as Ottawa trims spending to tackle the deficit.
Treasury Board President Stockwell Day announced Monday that Industry Canada and regional development agencies for Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the West will be among 13 departments required to shave 5 per cent from their budgets this year. (Globe and Mail, May 3, 2010)
The Harper Conservatives are showing their fear of a untied and united opposition. It is no coincidence that those two words use the same letters. It is also something that can happen in many permutations and combinations. Just ask any of the incarnations we have saw on the right in the '90s and early '00s (Reform Party, Progressive Conservtaives, Canadian Alliance, the ever-popular Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance, United Alternative, Conservative Party of Canada).
They dost protest too much.
Good day and good news!