Polygonic

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

Arithmetic shocker: Majority oppose Conservatives

Smack my gob. A revealing CBC investigation has exposed an electoral arithmetical travesty, hitherto unseen. Apparently, only two-fifths of Canadians support key CPC policies, whilst a clear majority of people oppose them and don’t want them implemented.

Key Conservative policies lack clear support

A majority of Canadians don’t support corporate tax cuts and are opposed to buying the F-35 fighter jets, two major pieces of the Conservative government’s plan for the country, a new poll suggests.

In a new poll conducted for CBC News following the May 2 federal election, 53 per cent of people surveyed said they were opposed to dropping the corporate tax rate from 16.5 per cent to 15 per cent. About two-fifths — 39 per cent — agreed with the cut and eight per cent weren’t sure.

Just more than half — 52 per cent — said Canada should not go ahead with the purchase of 65 F-35 fighter jets, while 37 per cent polled said the government should buy the planes. Twelve per cent said they didn’t know.

So, roughly the same number of people who voted Conservative support Conservative policies. While roughly the same number of people who didn’t vote Conservative don’t support Conservative policies.

The mystery clearly doesn’t lie here. Indeed, there’s a weird relief in seeing that, in the absence of a sitting parliament, voters’ views haven’t done a lot of capricious shifting.

No, the mystery is why we tolerate a voting system that generates majority governments with less than 2/5 popular support.

I’d like to “blame Canada” and say, well, you got what you voted for. But you didn’t, did you?

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Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , ,

Playing politics out loud

This doesn’t quality as a gaffe, perhaps, but the Liberals best avoid being quite this frank.

The Liberals had also worried coming back to the Commons in January that Stephen Harper would cancel the $6-billion tax cuts, deciding the country just couldn’t afford them. It would deny the Liberals their big issue – and the spending envelope for their programs.

Their entire platform would have been in jeopardy had Mr. Harper changed his mind. “Our biggest fear coming back in the New Year was that he would think twice about the corporate tax cuts,” a senior Ignatieff official said Monday. “But he didn’t do that, he is stubborn, he is ideological and he didn’t do that.”

When you say that you feared Harper might roll back the corporate tax giveaways because it would make campaigning against him tougher, you’re pretty much saying that the issue itself is secondary to the competition.

As always, Jane Taber doesn’t reveal her “senior party sources,” but whoever she/he is, please – we get enough hyperpartisan spin from Team Harper. Let’s stick to the bottom line: corporate tax cuts are inappropriate, full stop.

Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , ,

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, , , ,

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