Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Flaherty Lies, Layton Cries

I just saw an interview with our new Finance Minister. The reporter asked Flaherty to respond to criticism that the budget tax package favored high income earners. Flaherty responded with the usual blah blah about how the GST really helps lower income people- cough. Then, in a simply amazing attempt at spin, and a downright lie, Flaherty said that the Tories had cut the lowest tax bracket from 16% to 15.5%. The reporter didn't question Flaherty on this point and allowed him to present himself as the robin hood for lower income Canadians. So, instead of a half point raise in income tax, Flaherty claims a half point cut as though the Liberal taxcut never existed. How Flaherty could make that claim with a straight face is beyond me, equally amazing that the reporter accepted the lie as fact.

On another note, it was nice to Layton in post-honeymoon mode. Layton was generally seething at the corporate taxcuts and vowed to vote against this budget. Layton also cited the environment and childcare as crucial issues. Layton chastised the government for not following through on their promise to consult and compromise with the other parties. For the first time since the election, Layton spoke from the heart, without any political consideration. It was like Layton emerged from a cold shower and was shocked back into reality. The illusion of the kumbaya parliament is now gone, so maybe we can get on with the business of real opposition.

6 comments:

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

The Bloc's reaction to the first Harper budget shows what to expect during this session of Parliament. Harper set out to woo Quebeckers with money, and with his promise to take money from the federal government and give it to the provinces – a sum far exceeding the thirty shekels of biblical fame – he has succeeded in turning Duceppe into a Harper Groupie.

It sure did not take much to sway Duceppe: more money for the provincial government? Count me in, he said. Even if this came at the cost of the scrapping of the daycare program designed to provide sustained spaces for children, and the deal cut in Kelowna to help the First Nations ....

Really, Mr Duceppe: what happened to your many statements that your party was in Ottawa to make sure t hat the federal government worked for Canadians?

Harper suckered Duceppe once before, when he stampeded Layton and Duceppe into calling an early election in 2006. Now he is setting the Bloc up as a patsy again: throwing some money to the provinces at the cost of reducing the strength of the central government.

The pattern is crystal clear: the separatist Bloc and the anti-Canadian government Harper believe in the same thing – a weakened Canada and a balkanized system of provinces with enhanced power.

Who will speak for Canada?

Not the separatist Bloc, and not Harper and his neocon New Tories.

Steve V said...

curiousity

Duceppe was embarrassing, in his post-budget presser. Maybe Duceppe is banking on Harper failing to deliver fiscal balance, the way Quebecers have hoped. Otherwise, Duceppe is essentially digging his own grave by backing a party which has zeroed in on soft nationalists.

indievoter said...

Great post on a bad budget. The media is near brain dead these days.

dalestreet said...

Just finished watching the Finance Minister on the National. He's certainly adept at making it sound as if those who have been hosed by this budget (natives, low-income earners, even farmers) are already getting loads of money and are just piss-poor at making it work for them (and smiling all the while).

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Was Layton the captain of the Liberal Titanic during the 2005/6 election campaign?

Or did Paul Martin take the bridge and steer the ship into the iceberg of voter reprisal?

One thing we do not and never will know, is what the impact on the election results would have been if the election had not been precipitated by Layton and Duceppe being hoodwinked by Harper to join in bringing down the government and have an election in January, rather than after the Gomery commission's final report.

We do know that Martin was unable to shake the corruption tag hung around his neck by Harper, aided and abetted by the Bloc and NDP. We also know that the release of a notice by the RCMP during the January campaign about another scandal blew the bow off the Liberal Titanic.

However, Layton has to answer for his willingness to accelerate the election date rather than wait for the Gomery report. It is possible that the release of that report, with its clearance of Paul Martin, coupled with steps by the Liberal government after its release to have those named by Gomery as implicated in wrongdoing, brought to justice, might have taken enough sting out of the corruption charge to mean a slightly different election result. Voters might have elected to punish the Liberals by giving them a minority government, rather than Harper.

The results – despite an inept and bumbling campaign by Martin and his group, and Harper's strident (and today rather ironic, given his own actions to date) cries of corruption – were not as positive for Harper as people seem to think. He barely made it to a minority government, and voters in the large cities turned their faces from his neocon party's policies.

Layton miscalculated, by being suckered by Harper, and by misjudging the results. He thought the NDP would hold the balance of power in the new Parliament. He failed in this task. The results of his cold electoral calculation is the election of the most rightwing government in Canada's history, which has an agenda to dismantle the Canadian government by stealth, as Harper's public utterances admit. His party president is on record as saying that achieving power by stealth (by not telling voters all that the New Tories want to do, but then taking steps once they have a majority government) was the Tory aim, and they disciplined themselves to this end.

All these signs were clear before Layton chose to sup with the devil. What on earth made this long time politician misjudge the nature of Harper and his Tory party?

At best, Layton displayed incredible lack of judgment in analysing the threat posed to the values of the NDP by the neocon New Tories; at worst, Layton showed a lust for personal power which outstripped his political acumen.

Voters will reward him for his actions come the next election.

dalestreet said...

curiosity

By giving the appearance that the NDP, Bloc & Tories were all "working together" Layton did make a mistake. However, it was Martin who ultimately caused the election to be called early.

It was Martin, after all, that rejected out of hand, all of the NDP's terms for continued support.

If Layton had backed down, he and his Party would have not only been perceived as weak by Parlaimentarians and the media, but by their oft-fluid support base as well.