The “Hidden Agenda” turns out to be cowardice
By Bruce A Stewart
Despite what you hear in the media, many people in Canada like Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.
But after yesterday’s budget, it’s increasingly hard to.
There are many Canadians who have wanted real economic reform in Ottawa.
Tax change. Elimination of programs that are well past their “best before” date. Winding up agencies that don’t deliver enough value for the money spent on them.
Most of all, stop the endless growth of the civil service. Don’t run deficits.
Minority governments made these folks stay on side. When you need votes from across the aisle, you’re going to have to move cautiously. You’ll do things because that’s how you get the votes.
So, along comes 2011. The Government brought its March budget back in after winning its majority. That makes sense: you’ve got to get on with business.
But 2012 awaited. The moment that majority could be used to change direction.
Conservative voters — and not only are there Conservative MPs for every province, but many ridings where upward of 40% of the votes were Conservative even in defeat — from Newfoundland to British Columbia and up into the Territories — have been waiting for the 2012 budget.
A majority Harper budget, one where the Opposition doesn’t need to be bribed. One where it’s three years until the next election, time enough for change to bear results.
A time to do the right thing.
What we got yesterday was pabulum, for a country ready for hot peppers, cask-strength whisky and well-aged steak.
Cuts? Only in the surreal world of a capital city is “not increasing an expenditure as quickly as before” considered a cut.
In my house a cut means “absolutely less.” Yours, too, I’d bet.
This Harper budget went over so well, the snivel serpent unions stopped their sabre rattling. If the strike talk stops, you know your money’s headed their way.
We’re still borrowing from tomorrow and doing nothing much with it.
We’re not preparing for any of the worrisome signs on the global horizon.
Why not? We’ve got a Conservative-in-name-only government, one that’s afraid.
All hat, no cattle, these guys.
Acting like they’re still going to lose power if they do anything is going to cost them seats in 2015.
Ontario gave a little more than two-thirds of its seats to the Conservatives. It voted with the West, not the East.
The Atlantic provinces are filled with seats where the Conservatives “just missed”.
Well, Dexter’s NDP Government in Nova Scotia is doing a better job on public finances than Harper’s in Ottawa. Québec may stay NDP now. Ontario’s getting desperate — it tried big Liberal seat counts and got squat, and now Conservatives and got the same.
The NDP even got 35% of the vote in Saskatchewan. No seats, but close in oh-so-many. And BC? Strongly headed to Team Orange right now.
Think on that … and wonder how many votes Mulcair might pick up.
There’s the true cost of cowardice. Losing because you feared losing.
Mr. Harper should be ashamed.
Bruce Stewart is a consultant, educator and philosopher with a passion for public affairs currently located in Toronto. He is well known across the Internet for his blogs on management (Getting Value from IT) and social affairs (Just a Jump to the Left, then a Step to the Right) and for his daily stream of snarky comments on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.