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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Harper's Campaign Platform is Not Just Disappointing - It is Disasterous.

The Harper speech on the Conservative last minute campaign platform made it look like there was only one plank in the thing. He did a litany of old news on old announcements and hoping that would appease voters. Voters are shoing thay are not prepared to vote for a “Do Nothing” politician especially as we face the most disastrous economic calamity since 1929.

Harper’ political lens is just that of an economist. His speech was like a keynote to the Conference Board of Canada, the Fraser Institute of the C.D Howe Institute. All about balanced budgets, lower taxes and controlling inflation. Important stuff but that is not all there to consider in this election.

I thought it was telling that Harper admitted he knows this economic disaster was coming as far back as August 2007 but he did not address it in this election – that HE CALLED – until the very last minute. Is that because he did not have a plan, did not want to share it or did not want to be bound by any campaign promises so he could do what every he liked with the absolute power of a majority government? Can you trust a man to govern who uses any of these tactics?

So let’s look at the platform itself. It has five sections and a costing. Cost of living, jobs for the future, a “strong, united, independent and free Canada, health and environmental well-being and safety and security. Why did he only talk about the stock portfolios and taking a “trip of a lifetime”? Hardly the stuff that is top of mind of ordinary Canadians like keeping their jobs, securing their savings and pensions!

In two weeks $400B has been wiped off the Canadian stock market and $2Trilllion of our largest customer, the Americans. Are they going to be unable to buy from us and where is Harper’s expertise as an economist on this reality?

A detailed look shows it is still a “Do Nothing” strategy. Harper tells us there are no holes in the hull of the Ship of State but he is ignoring the economic tsunami that everyone else sees and knows will swamp the boat unless we respond.

The rhetoric in the Cons Campaign Platform is the same old – same old and it is mostly pictures – pretty and cuddly but not much substance. Communities policy is all about crime – did not see anything new about infrastructure needs beyond what he has already announced, ironically using the Liberal gas tax transfer as the source of funds.

The consumer theme is tinkering on a two cent tax reduction on diesel when the problem is that there may not be enough diesel fuel to meet demand.

Here is a burning issue that goes to the heart of the economic crisis facing Canada. Harper is going to stop phone companies from charging for receiving unsolicited text messages and spam. How naïve is it to think that this is going to appease the folly of the stupid copyright legislation Harper has introduced.

Now that they have created the food inspection crisis, they are making a virtue out of necessity. More inspection and testing of food, toys and consumer products the obvious rampant crime of gas pump tampering.

Family policy focus is on disability sector needs by creating a Disability Savings Plan – like an RRSP scheme and allowing income splitting for stay home care givers. No indication of supporting disabled people themselves. Let’s hope this is as insincere as his Income Trust promise last time.

The marginal tinkering with penny-ante programs is laughable. $5000 tax credit for First-time home buyers means only $750 in real dollars – if you are in the highest tax bracket. Indexing the $100 per month TAXABLE child care benefit is also laughable. If Harper is going to control inflation – who cares? Spare us please!

Some vague language on making housing affordable for “Vulnerable Canadians” will only maintain funding at current levels and will give low income home owners renovation assistance. This is such silliness when low income people can’t stay in their homes with pending job loss…never mind renovate.

There is lots of make- work- but-not- in-anyway- that- is-progressive and the usual vague language on aboriginal challenges and fuzzy comments about working with provinces. Aboriginals are a federal jurisdiction. Harper is down loading the challenges that are his Constitutional responsibility, to the provinces.

The breathtaking policy on “Reforming or Abolishing the Senate” is a sop to the Reform/Alliance base as a time when substantial and reassuring leadership is so critical. We don't need to initiate a Constitutional Amendment policy when the economy is in crisis.

There is more but it is all superficial and shallow stuff that misses the mark in addressing the major angst and anguish of Canadians today. Indifference and callousness abound. Harper does not only not "Get It" He doesn't CARE!

I will do more posts later, today or tomorrow, on the Harper half-hearted so-called campaign platform. He is still committed to do nothing of substance or that shows no capacity for caring and understanding of the plight of regular Canadians.

Stop Harper before he Misleads again. Vote Liberal.