Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Smoke, mirrors, charades, illusions...

...what passes for politics on Parliament Hill.

The spin: The Liberals will "hold the government accountable" by making it deliver regular reports to Parliament. Newfoundland and Labrador MPs are graciously permitted a one-time dispensation to vote against the budget. It's a stimulus budget: doesn't go far enough...but we reluctantly support it...the Canadian people don't want another election.... Mesmerizing stuff.

The reality: the Liberals have teamed up with the Conservatives to pass an all-things-to-everyone budget that hurts Newfoundland and Labrador, threatens to gut pay equity, keeps most unemployed people off EI, starves research and development, ensures our solid last-place standing among industrialized nations with respect to childcare, and substantially erodes the revenue base with ginormous tax cuts. The price of this monstrous cave is regular reports to Parliament, which, with the addition of five dollars or so, might allow Count Michael to purchase a latte.

Ignatieff "allowed" Newfoundland and Labrador MPs to vote against the budget (i.e., for their constituents), which is somewhat like allowing Cape Spear to be windy. Would he have made this emptiest of public gestures, though, had their votes actually mattered?

The new Liberal leader is even being coached by Tom Flanagan. Good grief. With a little training, it seems, Iggy will prove to be every bit as good a Conservative backbencher as his predecessor.

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