That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

A meek defense of the status quo

Victoria’s Times-Colonist doesn’t want a federal election over corporate tax cuts. Which is fine. What they don’t clarify very coherently is, why not?

They say a forced election would:

“demonstrate a shared commitment to putting partisan advantage ahead of the public interest.”

O.K. But, this line comes just two paragraphs after predicting that any forthcoming election would be a:

“costly exercise [which] would likely result in a Parliament much like the current one.”

Which is it, guys? If a new Parliament didn’t offer any party a big, new advantage, then where’s the, um, big party advantage?

They then suggest that proposed corporate tax cuts represent:

“less than one per cent of total government spending. This is hardly, in terms of impact on the budget, an issue worth forcing an election over.”

Wow! Surely, discussing government spending in terms of absolute percentages, rather than as figures cracking a billion dollars, is a bit of a bad disguise for the scale of what’s being proposed. Is anything less than a percentile of our entire national budget now considered small beer?

Since the 1960s, successive Canadian governments have consistently failed to get international development aid up to 0.7% of GDP, as such a vast amount of money is considered by many (and by most fiscal conservatives, I’d think) to be both too high and to also represent a poor return for Canada. Surely, no one is such a reckless spendthrift as to consider anything under 1/100th of Canada’s entire annual budget to be little more than pittance or wiggle-room.

After all, if they believe an election is a “costly exercise,” then how can $2.7 billion in lost annual revenue be a mere pshaw?

The TC closes by imploring Parliament to:

“get on with the business of representing Canadians’ interests.”

Hum. It doesn’t read like a very heartfelt plea when they seem to consider a docile and feeble-voiced Opposition as the best manifestation of good public service. Keeping quiet whenever minority governments propose outlandish budget goodies for the richest corporations while we’re supposedly in a delicate economic situation is not, I thought, the height of public service. I mean, I don’t know. That’s just what I thought.

If a newspaper editorial board would like to argue against a federal election, go for it. But don’t dismiss the seriousness of the charges being laid at the foot of government, and don’t blame the Opposition for preparing to follow through on what it means to represent Canadians’ interests. Otherwise, you kind of have no argument.

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , ,


February 2011

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