Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AWOL: 221 Days

Listening to the debate on infrastructure initiatives, one thing is clear, it will take considerable time for any money injected into the economy to offset the downturn. Most expert analysis agrees that it will be 2010 before any impact is felt, which is troublesome, considering economists expect us to hit bottom later this year. In many respects, whatever the government does now, it is too late in terms of avoidance, rather a strategy for the other side. The reality of delayed return started my thinking- just where in the hell has the Government of Canada been the last year?

Did you know, that apart for the fall farce, it will be 221 days since Parliament last sat, when Flaherty delivers his budget? Think about that, in the face of an economic storm, our government has been AWOL. A highly relevant fact, for a myriad of reasons, particularly this crap coming from the Conservatives. Bragging about the earliest budget delivery in history, arguing ad nauseum about all the early steps they took to cushion the blow now, steady hands at the tiller, etc, etc.

Let's review the facts, and then judge if Canadians should be concerned. Last spring, this government muddled through the entire session, with an agenda that was considered "light" by every one's standards, so thin MP's had trouble keeping busy with government business, nothing on the plate, talk of "retooling" and the government needing "new ideas". SPENT. Remember that the Parliament was sent home early for the summer break, June 20th 2008.

Prior to Parliament's return in September, as the economic storm gathered further, the Prime Minister decided to manufacture a crisis of confidence, as he began the march towards an election. Before Parliament could reconvene, Harper plunged the country into another election. While people were touring the country, kissing babies and wearing cute sweaters, the economy was crumbling and Parliament sat empty.

After the election, a period of inactivity, but finally Parliament reconvened. When it did, and no reasonable person disputes this fact, the government came forth with a commitment of nothingness, using disingenious data. All the inaction, and Canadians were given such a disaster that Parliament was forced to evaporate once again, the government still at a standstill.

Everybody already knows the above timeline, but when I hear talk from the likes of Baird about "quick action" and recognizing the gravity, the proud record of pre-emptive measures, it's worth remembering- 221 days of a Parliament completely AWOL, during the worst economic crisis in at least a generation. More staggering, the government points to its record, as evidence of staying ahead of the economic curve, and yet 221 days of NOTHING, over seven months of NADA. So, when you understand the reality of no impact from a stimulus until 2010, it's "too late" for measurable difference in 2009, it really begs the question- where was the Government of Canada during the crucial time? Either on holiday, forcing an election, proroguing Parliament or spending all their energy trying to kill political opponents. That's it, while Rome burned. A disgrace, by any measure.


Anonymous said...

Steve you have to consider that is the first right wing party that is not concerned with the economy. other than a few far right fantasys and tax cuts they stand for nothing. The light in the economic cupboard is not on as they screwed up the good times and have no clue how to deal with tough times.

I read this week that if a business person or local politition runs federaly, run don't walk away from them! Both only understand planning for a year at the most and are only concerned wih results now and don't have a clue how to plan long term. Guess what the majority of incompetant con. mp's are?

Canadians deserve the suffering to come from voting these fools in and I don't feel sorry for them.

janfromthebruce said...

W.D., 62% of voters did not vote for the cons, and they deserve better.
Steve, you are right, Canadians should be concerned. The Cons have been awol for over 200 days.
So you argue that Canadians should do something and be concerned, but the power to change this government in power is not in their hands, but in the hands of the 3 opposition parties. So following this logic, it would suggest that these opposition MPs should vote no confidence and get on with running govt for the majority.

Steve V said...


Iggy and Harper are the same, but if Jack and Iggy should turf Harper, then Jack and Harper, I mean Iggy, should work together, even though working with Iggy would be like working with Harper, because they are the same. If Iggy does bring down Harper, then he is my progressive friend, showing no resemblence to Harper, but if he bides his time, then he is my neo-con enemy forever.

Does that cover it?

penlan said...

The AWOL Con govt. is a crime in action/non-action. It's hurting every one in this country.

And as a reminder: before the June 20th summer break call many committees were tied up by the Cons with filiblustering, chairs walking out, etc. No business that needed to be done COULD get done because of this (think Con Playbook to disrupt committee meetings). Disgusting.

And if Harp et al stay in power we can expect to see the same I'm sure. The general public was not, & is still not aware, of what went down in that area. I know they don't because I've brought it up numerous times to people I know & they hadn't a clue. And these people are not ignorant or do not care, they do care.

I'm having more & more reservations about Mr. Ignatieff. And some of the people he is surrounding himself with/appointing to different roles in the party. Kinsella for one. I've found him to be nasty, biased, especially in the I/P conflict. It frightens me to be honest. And he is running the war room? How appropriate (hawk). Are we going centre-right here?

Anonymous said...


Iggy does lean right and if he scuttles the Coalition he WILL be Harper-lite. If he chooses the Coalition he won't be a progressive to me but at least I will see him as more centrist than right leaning.

I am willing to support a Coalition government because I believe that there are some real progressives in the LPC that will (with the help of NDP cabinet members) will pull Iggy to the centre.

Do you think that progressives should trust Harper to implement a stim package? Do you really think that the Cons will do what we think needs to be done to help working people?

Wasn't it you who suggested that the broad strokes would come across ok but that the devilish details would fall short?

So I guess the question is, does Iggy want to actually help solve the problem and help working people (in which case the Coalition is the best option) or does he put politics first and hope that the Cons wear it when their economic plan does little to help "the most vulnerable", and "leave our work force more competitive and better trained"?

Susan said...

It's intentional!! Harper wants to destroy the federal system as we knew it. He's doing whatever he can behind parliament's back to this end.

You know when the Baird mouth starts flapping that it's all a con - the infrastructure projects ain't going to happen, they're going to talk and bluff their way through a complete laissez-faire approach. In other words, another 200 days of nothing and another 200 after that.

CuzBen said...

Steve I agree with your criticism of the gov but I don't think the opposition is without fault. You would have more leg to stand on if the Libs didn't spend the last session scandal hunting rather than pointing to the economic indicators and demanding action. Now I know the opposition isn't responsible for what the gov does (or doesn't do). All I'm saying is that it's easy to criticize with hindsight. Contrast the federal scene to the Ontario legislature: The opposition parties have been wailing about economic inaction for months and McG has done relatively little (albeit more than Harper), engaging often in his own partisan games instead of adjusting his economic plan. In this sense, the Ont PCs and NDP have more credibilty in their criticism of McG than the LPC does of Harper only because they have the "I told you so" argument on their side, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Susan's comments. After the bells and whistles, Harper will start doing away with government services on the basis of "we can't afford them". The last people you want managing this kind of economy is right wing ideologues.

Steve V said...


I hear you. The only thing on the scandal front, unfortunately that's the sort of stuff that grabs media attention, smearing your opponent seems half the battle these days. I view it more as a response to the climate, rather than a true distraction from important issues. The media doesn't care about the big issues, until it becomes a "crisis", then we get in depth pieces every night detailing the problems.