Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Star's What If? Game: Irrelevant to Today's Election

TheStar.com - Canada would be a different nation:
"Canada would be a different nation
Jan. 14, 2006. 09:22 AM

As Canadians prepare to go to the polls, many are pondering what Canada might look like if the Conservatives under Stephen Harper are elected."
The Toronto Star editorial is looking at what would've been. It's an interesting tactic, resurrecting the old war (i.e., the last election) as if it's relevant to the new one. If nothing else, we've seen Stephen Harper learn and grow from his mistakes, just as those of us who've followed Jack Layton since the 1980s, have seen Layton metamorph from an irritiating idealogue into a sensible innovative leader. Paul Martin has also changed from a man of promise into a disappointing ditherer between the last election and this one. All three leaders are no longer the men they were. They have shown themselves capable of learning (Harper) devolving into a do-nothing, dithering control freak (Martin) and influencing government agendas with just a handful of MPs (Layton). With so much change in leaders and parties -- especially the Conservatives which had had no policy convention prior to the last election -- the last war becomes irrelevant. Still if you want to put people off the Conservatives and pretend the Liberals haven't withered this country into the ground, let's play the what if game.

"Canadian troops would likely have joined the American war on Iraq..."

Harper has said he's a porponent of Parliament and therefore would've debated this, unlike the Liberals that believe in government by PMO...and anyway wasn't joining the war on Iraq something that was discussed under Jean Chretien, not Martin, and therefore an irrelevant question in the last election?

"Canada would not have signed the Kyoto accord to curb global warming."

Martin has hidden behind this Accord to pretend he's doing something when he's done diddley squat and, in fact, made global warming worse. Harper is honest, and Canadians need the truth if we're ever going to become part of the solution instead of a bunch of hot air contributing to the problem

"And we would have joined the controversial U.S. missile defence system."

Martin seriously mishandled this. Studio 2's Diplomatic Immunity special on TVO last night had a very interesting discussion on this topic. It was such a popular show, their site crashed by the end of it!

"Harper would have changed the dynamic in Parliament by appointing senators only after they had been elected provincially."

Explain to me how this is a bad thing? Senators right now do produce some thoughtful and thought-provoking reports, which because it's an appointed chamber, are ignored. They have at times acted as a chamber of sober second thought, which is their role, but because it's a bunch of appointees, not all take their responsibilities seriously and some suck at the teat of public funds and do nothing else, and we're stuck with all of them for eons. Elected Senators would either have fixed terms or be turfed out of office by us -- one would hope anyway that this part Harper would also change. Elected Senators would de facto take their responsiblities more seriously. I vehemently disagree with Harper's federalism, but making the Senate stronger, effective, and accountable is a way to tell the provinces they do have a say in our federal politics without breaking up our country into a bunch of provincial fiefdoms all whining about getting more power.

"Conservatives believe as an article of faith in smaller, less activist federal government..."

As I said, I disagree with Harper on federalism, but the Liberals haven't exactly united us as a country either. In fact, because of the sponsorship scandal, they have seriously undermined federalism in Quebec. So please spare me the rhetoric.

"It is hard to imagine Harper would have named a progressive pioneer, such as Madam Justice Rosalie Abella, to the Supreme Court."

Why? Anyone who has the courage to talk about reforming the Senate is not necessarily going to ignore the pioneers and go for the fuddy duddys.

"...many Conservatives would have pushed for a far more restrictive abortion law, and for tougher pornography laws."

And pornography is a good thing? Aside from the fact that if people actually knew what went on behind closed doors in the medical system either with abortion or euthanisia, there'd be appalled gasps, Harper has said over and over he's not touching it with a barge pole -- wouldn't have mattered what some Conservative MPs wanted. This is just BS.

"Moreover, the poor in Canada, who rely more heavily on services for health, education, child care and shelter, get shortchanged."

Under the Liberals we already are. Only Layton forced them to start rectifying the situation.

"Toronto would be worse off."

Toronto is HUGELY worse off after being ignored by the Liberals for over 12 years. If it wasn't for Layton we'd STILL be ignored. Oh please!

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