Monday, April 02, 2007

Forecast: Heavy Showers

Below, a depiction of federalism in Quebec:
After the budget, there is no word for this announcement, except for obscene:

The Tories are set to announce a $900-million aid package for Canada's aerospace industry, with most of the money going to businesses in the politically key province of Quebec.

The money, to be spent over five years, will go to research and development, Radio-Canada reports.

Although the funding is not going specifically to Quebec, most of the top industry firms are based in the province.

Industry Minister Maxime Bernier and Public Works Minister Michael Fortier will make the announcement in Montreal Monday.

In the past, the Conservative government has said it prefers cutting taxes to create a business-friendly environment over subsidies.

Federal Liberals are criticizing the new funding announcement, saying it amounts to politicking.

Nevermind the Harper hypocrisy on subsidizing industry, it's time to ask the question, what the heck is happening here? If recent developments articulate Harper's view of federalism, then clearly the country doesn't work anymore. There is nothing unique in trying to appease certain regions of the country, but Harper's pandering is unparalled and risks division and animosity.

The notions of fairness, the greater good, are cynically replaced with political expediency. The scary part, if Harper is actually rewarded for such transparency, what does that say about Canada? Just imagine if the Liberals were engaged in such practices, the howls from Alberta would be deafening. Where is the Reform "base", why the silence? The duplicity is absolutely amazing and frankly undercuts much of the legitimate dissent.

I want a strong, vibrant Quebec, that is given the means to protect its unique identity. Having said that, Quebecers should be offended that Stephen Harper has such low regard for them that he thinks he can simply buy their affection. The whole strategy is really insulting, insulting to other provinces because of the uneven attention, and insulting to Quebecers because of the naked manipulation. Today, only re-affirms my opinion that Canada doesn't have a government, it has a marketing outfit who's sole purpose is the acquistion of power.

H/T Woman at Mile 0

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

but Quebecers are so used to having their votes bought - it's become part of the Canada good liberals fight to maintain.

Steve V said...

"it's become part of the Canada good liberals fight to maintain."

You meant "good conservatives" right, or are you just a hypocrite by nature?

Woman at Mile 0 said...

I have talked to several people today who were already disgusted at the budget. This is just icing on the cake. I really wonder if the Cons are planning on an election? Maybe they are hoping the bloc will keep them going by offering them a steady stream of cash handouts at the expense of the rest of the country. It seems to be working so far.

Steve V said...

"It seems to be working so far."

Everyone assumes that Quebec voters are sophisticated. This transparent manipulation will put that theory to the test.

Ed said...

I wonder how long the small-c conservatives are going to take this crap.

At what point do they let HArper know that enough is enough, and demand he stop shovelling cash into Quebec.

Its a fine line, they accept these trangressions against conservatism for the sake of the covetted majority.

But if they do not pay off, what then?

Steve V said...

"they accept these trangressions against conservatism for the sake of the covetted majority."


And where pray tell, are all the old Reformers, shrieking at the Quebec preferential treatment angle. I've said it before, just imagine if this was PM Martin, just imagine.

Ed said...

If Martin had brought in that budget, the Albertan Seperatists would be rioting in the streets of Calgary.

Well, maybe I embellish a little.

However, there would be genuine outrage.

What is good for the goose, it seems, in not necessarily good for the gander.

Scotian said...

"Today, only re-affirms my opinion that Canada doesn't have a government, it has a marketing outfit who's sole purpose is the acquistion of power." Steve V

Yep, that sums it up, and it is the same mold that the GOP used for the last decade, and GWB over the past 6 years, and we see what kind of "governance" that provided. Just look at New Orleans, federal prosecutors forced out for not being partisan enough in their investigations of Dems and not lenient enough on GOPers, the US Military especially the ground forces component, etc.

This has to be exposed before he can get to majority level, and preferably so we can remove him and his crew from power in the next election. This man is dangerous, he is willing to use any tactics no matter how contradictory they are to his supposed principles so long as it gains him power. Once there I fear we will see the Harper idea of federalism put into practice and that as you have already noted in other posts would be a disaster for the federation and for the idea of Canada itself. What he is already doing is incredibly corrosive to the nation and national unity and that he is managing this with such a weak minority bodes ominously for the future if he were to gain more power in minority to a majority government next time out. He must be defeated for this country to have a chance at staying together IMHO, as hysterical sounding as that will seem to CPCers may be it is unfortunately what I see coming along with many others like Steve V here and many others throughout the Canadian progressive blogosphere.

Steve V said...

"He must be defeated for this country to have a chance at staying together IMHO, as hysterical sounding as that will seem to CPCers may be it is unfortunately what I see coming along"

Scotian, the good news, this sentiment plays to Dion's strength. The Conservatives will try to make the next campaign an uneventful affair, the Liberals must make it the campaign of a generation.

knb said...

Scotian, did you read the article in the NYT's re' Bush's ex advisor Dowd? Here.

Too little too late imo, but he's reflecting on how it was wrong to support Bush and how he "bought" into the whole thing.

I'm looking for that person in Canada to speak up now, before it is too late.

Scotian said...

knb:

Yes, I saw that from Matt Dowd, and the first thought that went through my mind after reading it was "out out dammed spot". This man was well aware of exactly what he was in service to, he was the campaign chair in 2004 for Bushco, and if the SBVfT run by Rove wasn't enough to tell him what kind of slime he worked for then nothing would. I also think this is because his son is now being deployed to Iraq, funny how once you have skin in the game it changes how one views the travesty that is the Iraq war.

Steve V:

Agreed, but he has to be heard for it to work. I have always maintained that Dion carries traits and strengths within him that will contrast better with Harper than many may currently believe, and that Harper’s obsession with attack ads against Dion makes him actually look that much more capable because if he really was the creampuff Harper and the CPC want him to be seen as they would not feel the need to act in this very unusual and unprecedented manner as attack ads outside of an election campaign are in Canadian politics let alone a second set. I would suggest you take a look at something A BCer in TO has posted regarding the polling trend of this government over its term and the question it raises as to why Harper and the CPC after all this time are at election night levels despite al their advantages over the last year.

Steve V said...

scotian

I read Jeff's post, even commented on it.

The best way for Dion to "be heard" is for the Liberals to have a co-ordinated emphasis. Just as the Conservatives use repetition, it's critical that all Liberals raise the stakes, and frame this election around the notions of federalism. This issue has all the intangibles for Dion, addressing the perception of weakness, while simultaneously drawing attention to his pedigree, contrasted with the the cynical sellout of Canada for ambition. It's the Liberals best hope, and I suspect it will play quite well in battleground Ontario.

Use the budget against Harper in B.C, Sask, and the east coast, and put it in the larger context of nation. You used the word "hysterical" earlier, and I think Liberals need to turn up the volume here, clearly define the stakes and make the campaign a referendum on Harper's vision. Dion can flourish within this debate, and it may motivate people to get engaged. If there is one way to throw Harper off the controlled message it's this discussion IMHO. The only way it works, Liberal bombard the airwaves, ala the Tories, create so much noise that it can't be ignored.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

I wholeheartedly agree with your last comment. I think you are exactly correct in everything you are saying in it. I only hope the Liberal party; its blogosphere actually follows that approach, because otherwise I think it is a far chancier thing to defeat Harper next time out. While I understand why some like Ti-Guy wants to leave him in place a bit longer so as to truly show Canadians just how sick and dangerous this strain of Conservativism is I can't in good conscience do that. Not and believe what I have claimed to about the seriousness of this threat and the ability of it to do a lot of harm even in the limited role of the minority he has got now. Just look at the way he is politicizing the judicial selections process and the way he is mishandling the RCMP issues from Arar onwards to letting Day pick someone to investigate them while he is under investigation himself. That is such a conflict of interest it is amazing it is not getting screamed about, I mean it is not the appearance of conflict it is conflict of interest. It doesn't even take both sides to do something to make this a bad idea, either side acting on its own thinking it might help itself makes this a conflict, which is why Day needs to be out of that portfolio until the investigation is over, he can serve elsewhere in the Cabinet in the meantime, my objection is specifically limited to the conflict that currently exists.

While I have my own concerns with the Liberals, they are nothing when compared to the CPC, and until Layton is gone the NDP are out for me, so I am de facto stuck with the Liberals to save us from the fate I see in my nightmares. At least with the Libs the main problems were the more typical money scandals which have plagued governments of all kinds in our history, what Harper represents is something entirely different and far more corrosive, which given how damaging money scandals can be to the system is really saying something. It is on the federalism and what kind of nation Harper sees us being that my primary opposition has always been rooted and I suspect that may well be true for a lot more out there than may be believed.

I think Dion is well qualified on this, and I think that whatever else the failings of the Liberals they at least want us to remain a true independent country with our own approach to things as much as possible living next to such a powerful neighbour and that they also want us to remain united. I cannot say the same for Harper and those closest to him, and that scares me and angers me as my family roots in this nation go deep, and the pride I have in it comes as much from their contributions as it does from what we are today. I will *not* stand by and see all that thrown away as if it were meaningless, not without fighting it to the best of my abilities, which is why I have been the "raving loon" I have been where Harper and the CPC are concerned. So let us hope senior Liberal strategists pay attention to your blog, or someone that talks to them anyway, because I think this is the best chance of taking Harper out and limiting the damage he has already done.