Friday, April 06, 2007

Harper's Latest Hoax: His Campaign Promise Over Wait Time Guarantees

Andrew Coyne in the National Post does a piece today (Harper Has Learned Well) that reinforces the point of this Blog post. It is worth a read.

Stephen Harper claims he has delivered on another of his campaign promises, this time over health care wait times. The triumphalism he presented with this “announcement” is pure George Bush in content and context and especially in his contempt for the truth.

Dubya, you will remember, donned a flak jacket, flew in a jet, landed on an aircraft carrier as a poser for the photo op in front of a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished.” Yes the world was lied to yet again in his declaration of victory in Iraq. One can’t help but ask just how many months - and deaths ago - was it that the world celebrated that glorious day for our security and peace of mind. We have to ask ourselves just how the Iraqi people have enjoyed, or should we say endured, their “freedom” and their “democracy”?

Steve’s wait time guarantee delivery triumphalism was more bathos but his claims of political victory was just as hypocritical as Dubya’s Mission Accomplished declaration. Wait times “guarantees” yes sir – promise made – promise kept, well kinda, sorta, maybe. For sure under in certain circumstances, perhaps in three years and in limited and modest dimensions, admittedly to varying degrees and in different ways in the different provinces but it is ideal, we think.

The provinces will always seem to take the money in the same old extortion model originally fashioned and perfected by the old-style Liberals. This is Harper using the same old same old way of the feds buying their way into provincial jurisdiction. This is after all Canada’s “New” Government you have come to know. They are the “quasi-Conservative” and “Liberal emulator” government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Yup it is the "fiscally conservative" and the "jurisdictional purist" Stephen Harper who is doing the extortion trickery this time.

His approach on this policy trickery reaffirms his admiration with the George Bush precise media message planning and the transparency of his political power plays. As for the provinces it seems we can always count on them to trade jurisdictional purity when cash comes to shove. You can all expect Harper to be out of cash by the 2010 due date, just in time for his wait time policy outcomes to be evaluated and the provinces will have to account to citizens on this Harper policy.

The provinces are going to wear the political fall out from the lack of real performance for any effective wait time guarantee outcomes. Harper will have moved on, in one way or another. If he is still PM expect the second shoe to drop and he will say that his government, unlike the former Liberal government, respects the provincial jurisdiction in health care and expects them to deal with their own problems on wait time guarantees. That is the way this federal encroachment has always worked in the past and why would Harper be any different now?

It is always the same game when the feds agree to pay for new health care initiatives. At the beginning they buy provincial inclusion and engagement and they always pull out when the going gets tough or they have changed policy direction to some other flavour of the month.

It always ends up the same way, just like the old Peanuts cartoon. Remember the one where the Feds play Lucy holding the football and the Provinces play Charlie Brown. Chuck always who knows she will pull the ball away just as he goes to kick it but he continues to take the sucker bait every time.

Rest assured these fresh federal funds are not the answer to wait times and will do more harm than good to the over all system. Every MSM editorial and commentator I have read have called this ploy for just what it is – political hypocrisy and election posturing.

Given his dismal record on keeping campaign promises and his bullying style of playing power politics, I wonder why anyone who is politically engaged, and not a card carrying CPC party member, actually believes or believes in Stephen Harper anymore. This video captures the essence of Harper's duplicity.


  1. The Liberals promised to fix health care back in 1992. Now THAT is classic Dubya!!!

  2. Yes and the Martin government put in $41B just over a year ago too...remember calling it a "fix for a generation."

    They were still interfering in provincial jurisdiction.

    How is that anything to do with Dubya - classic or otherwise...please explain!

  3. sheilabee1:40 am

    what a great video. Do you think the Libs could use something like this? I'm not sure but would you say this was an attack ad or a negative ad? Whatever, it is absolutely bang on. It really shows who he is...but, do we really know who he is. A poll not too long ago was asked this question, and it became clear that the population did not really know who Harper is or really what he stands for. If you learned about him when he was Pres. of the National Citizens Coalition then he was certainly different now where he puports to be a middle of the guy p.m. So your heading is dead on.

  4. The way you write your post illustrates the "old-style" federalism - where it is conceded that the LPC can intrude into provincial jurisdiction at will. Quebec, Alberta, and now seemingly Ontario have all rejected that approach in favour of open federalism. Dion, the hardcore straight-arm federalist, better get with the times or risk alienating many Cdns.

    Unfortunatley for the LPC, health care is no longer one of their strong points. Martin slashed health care funding to a point where you're so-called cash injection (so-called because this was 'announced' right before the LPC fell) did not fix all the damage that the LPC had done.

  5. eric - you have to reframe your thinking about me. I have not yet found a federal party since the Joe Clark Progressive Conservatives who I thought respected jurisdiction. And that was what was then in the BNA Act was still around.

    I like Dion the man and politician but not the old-style Liberal track record. Especially in the Chretien times and though the one-offs deals Martin made with provinces which in many cases was ill concieved pandering...Harper has learned well from those two former Liberal PMs.

    You have to accept that I "concede" nothing to the Cons as being acceptable to govern because of their emulation of those past Liberal mistakes.

    Harper's mimicing of a rejected "old-style" Liberal governance model does not make him acceptable.

    In fact Canadians voted for a minority Harper government to see if he would be different - he is not. That is not only unacceptable - it is perhaps a betrayal given how duplicitous he has been with his policy directions of late.

    We need another hero - Harper is not it. Layton is not it. Dion and May are not yet defined enough to know if they fit the bill or not.

    BTW - what is "open federalism" and how is it different from aysmetical federalism? And how comfy is the Cons election campaign war room? You working out of there now?

    Wouldn't that money be better spent on pre-electon attack ads on Dion since Harper really really does not want an election now?

    Or are we to take that pronouncment with the same grains of salt we need to view his other campaign delivery "claims" over wait time guarantees and child care promises...just to name two of his hoaxes.