Monday, December 07, 2009

Harper Says He's Saved Canada

I don't know what Canada's conservatives have against making major announcements in Parliament or provincial legislatures. Former Premier Mike Harris famously crowed about bypassing Queen's Park to spend a ton of money making an announcement outside the legislature. Now Prime Minister Stephen Harper is crowing outside Parliament about how many billions he's committed to stimulating our economy.
"Prime Minister Stephen Harper is facing criticism for both the content of his latest economic update and a "bizarre" decision to release it to the media in a plane over Siberia en route to China.

Critics charge that not only are his claims that he and the Conservatives saved the economy meaningless, his pattern of disdain for Parliament reached new levels when he upstaged his finance minister and delivered the update while overseas." (Les Whittington, The Toronto Star, 3 December 2009)
Parliament comprises our representatives, the people we voted in to represent us, to rule our country. But apparently the Conservative party doesn't like telling our representatives -- essentially telling us directly -- the ones who voted with his party to stimulate the economy -- how the plan is going. Instead, he prefers to tell journalists in a flying sardine can high over frozen Siberia aka hell, cause, like he gets on so well with Canada's media.

But then the media don't boo and hiss him or lob tough questions in full view of cameras about why his government has racked up the biggest deficit in history for this plan that may or may not be working because, unlike the US government, his government has not provided the public and Parliament detailed on-line tracking of projects and money. While Americans can check out recovery information in their neighbourhood and can see a front-and-centre map of funds allocated, Canadians are subjected to lots of photos of Harper. Be still my heart. While the US government has peppered the front page of their website with data, stats, and more data, we have cool clickability and the ability to watch ads. If there is any data or stats, you gotta go digging. Except for a journalist or dedicated Canadian with time, who will do that?

But that's the plan.

Bury the spending of billions so Canadians can't see how Harper and his Conservative party have outspent the former Mulroney government in achieving not much.

Take back control and face time from the Finance Minister, pretty up the plan on the website, plaster the airwaves with persuasive ads that say nothing, take credit for the plan, say the plan ended the recession (and with no clear, accessible data, who can say it did not) while not acknowledging their head-in-the-sand attitude to it only a year ago, and go for the big prize:

Get a majority government in the next election.

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