Xtra
2 min

The Mike Harris Liberals

While debate on the seat redistribution
bill gets underway, the Liberals have decided to throw caution to the wind and
outline their radical proposal of redistribution a) without adding new seats,
and b) still respecting some of the established floors, though not all. It’s
ballsy, I’ll grant them that, but I’m certainly not sold, since I do think that
we would actually be better served by having more MPs. What troubles me most,
however, is this adoption of the populist rhetoric of “too many politicians”
and the nonsense rhetoric of using fiscal prudence as the fig leaf to hang said
populist sentiment on. It’s like the Liberals have forgotten that they’re
borrowing the very same populist nonsense of Mike Harris’s “Common Sense
Revolution” that they’re so fond of railing against to this very day. It
also invites more ridiculous contributions, like the NDP chiming in to say that
if you really want to save on politicians’ costs, then abolish the Senate (not
only a virtual constitutional impossibility, but let us also remember that the
Senate is actually a far more cost-effective body than the Commons, and they tend
to produce a lot better work if we’re going to make the argument). Sure, the
Liberals want to look like the outsiders with the radical ideas right now
– I get it. But perhaps they need to reevaluate some of the accompanying
rhetoric before they say something they’ll later regret.

Hidden in the omnibus crime bill: provisions that would give the immigration minister the power to arbitrarily
deny visas to “vulnerable” workers, which adds a whole lot of moral and
political ambiguity to the system.

Oh, look – our “fiscally responsible”
government has increased spending 22 percent in its first five years of
office – and no, stimulus spending in the last recession was not the only
cause.

More cuts to federal agencies studying
extreme weather resulting from climate change. Try to look surprised, everyone!

The report on the Privy Council Office and how
it seems to continually be thrown by natural disasters and political crises
makes one wonder just how competently its political direction really is. The
signs are worrying.

Over in the Senate, Liberal senators are
trying to get time to “pre-study” the Wheat Board bill, which is not an
uncommon occurrence, but as part of that, they want to be able to travel to
Western Canada to actually talk to affected farmers. The Conservatives
voted it down once, but the Liberals are trying again with a vote on Tuesday.
And to add to that drama, the Conservatives have decided they want to
limit debate in the Senate to six hours on the bill. Because apparently,
sober second thought also deserves time allocation.

Here’s a look at the upcoming NDP leadership
debates and how Thomas Mulcair fits into the puzzle. Incidentally, there are
six debates planned, but Paul Dewar thinks there should be 10. Dewar is also
talking about the need for a “Western strategy” for the party, but one would
think that rhetoric that doesn’t vilify the resource extraction industry might
be a good start.

And John Baird is off to the UAE and
Kuwait
. Somehow I doubt that being a vocal advocate for gay rights will be on
his agenda there as it was at the Commonwealth meeting.

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