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The Plug Has Been Pulled

Sunday, September 7, 2008

4 Comments

Written by Scott Gilbert

Canadians will be heading to the polls the day after Thanksgiving on October 14th, 2008 for yet another election. This morning Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided to pull the plug and end (for now) his Conservative rule, so he didn't have to wait for the opposition parties to bring the government down.

Beating the drums of fear once again, Harper said that between now and October 14th Canadians will have to “choose between direction or uncertainty; between common sense or risky experiments; between steadiness or recklessness."

His comments were aimed at opposition leaders – particularly Liberal Leader Stephane Dion - which the Conservatives are trying to paint as inadequate, indecisive and unworthy of the public's support.

Specifically, it is Dion's proposed changes to the tax system that Harper feels is worthy of criticism. Dion's plan, known as “Green Shift”, will divert the focus of taxation from income to carbon, which has serious implications for big business and will have both major parties battling for support by the public.

Harper will argue that the plan will be bad for business in Canada at a time when the economy is already wobbling, while Dion will argue that we must address the threats of climate change somehow, and a carbon tax is the most viable option on the table at present.

The Conservatives will be framing their argument along the lines of risk management, and saying that not only is the Green Shift plan an unproven strategy, but it will cost the country money.

"The opposition insists on large-sale spending and a new tax. But even they admit that their carbon tax proposal is a work in progress," Harper said.

Dion and his Liberals will be making the counter argument that their plan is not complicated, variations of it are working around the world, and that most Canadian economists support the idea of cutting income taxes while moving the burden over to pollution.

Trying to not always be on the defencive, Dion lashed into his rival party by calling them the "most Conservative government in our history" and accusing them of neglecting the poor, being manipulative and secretive, and not doing enough to prevent the economy from slipping towards recession under Harper's watch.

"The words 'fight against poverty' have yet to cross the lips of Mr. Harper," Dion said. "With this Conservative ideology, Canadians are left to fend for themselves."

While the big parties bickered, NDP leader Jack Layton and Elizabeth May of the Greens were busy positioning themselves as the logical alternatives.

With the Bloc trying to maintain their 48 seats, and the Greens now having their first MP as of last week, the chances of Harper winning a majority seem slim. Canada may be heading down the road of one minority government after another – something many Canadians feel leads to nothing getting done, while others think it proves to be more democratic.

There are 308 MP seats in the House of Commons so if Harper wants his majority, he will have to conjure up a total of 155 – something few are betting on this time around due to the lack of hot-button issues or any party with something particularly appealing in the eye of the public at large.
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  1. Posted by: on Sep 8, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    I think that the government should be doing more to inform the public of major decisions. I agree that PM Harper has been rather secretive during his time as the prime minister. I also think that whoever the party is, they should make more of an effort to really bring out the issue of the North American Union. I think that more Canadians citizens should be informed on this topic and its serious nature. There is more and more evidence of plans of basically uniting the US, Mexico and Canada such at the "NAFTA Superhighway" or whatever you want to call it. It's important not to get caught up on unimportant details. What is important is to recognize that there is a transportation access that wasn't there before which runs through all three countries. There has been alot of opposition in the United States. However, I feel that many Canadians are in the dark and it is the government's responsibility to inform its citizens of something as serious such as this.

  2. Posted by: Rebecca Spour on Sep 9, 2008 @ 5:49pm

    I feel that the conservative government hasn't been malicious or darkly deceptive in its secrecy. PM Harper is simply not the fake, media driven two-faced stereotypical leader that we are all accustomed to. He knows what he's doing and has a level head. By no means is he the next hot Celebrity Canadian personality. However, his sincere lack of charisma doesn't necessarily mean he's a bad leader, if anything, it shows that his intention is on his work and not the media show. I feel that as a minority government, the Conservatives are trying to be cautious and informed prior to drastically transforming the nation's moral, economic and social integrity.

  3. Posted by: Douglas Fresh on Sep 9, 2008 @ 8:19pm

    Harper is simply not a good person to have such control of this country. Even if it isn't a proven fact, it is wildly rumoured that he is taking long walks on the beach, so to speak, with George Dubya. And a great deal of this country is not behind him. The problem is that the people who don't want him in, can't make up their minds on who they do. Personally, I've never been a big Liberal supporter, and am EXTREMELY green oriented. I don't see Harper making any progress towards creating a more environmentally sound country, and I think Dion's green shift idea is just phenomenal. OK, it will probably hurt the economy a bit, but we HAVE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE ARE TREATING THE EARTH! I can't BELIEVE we are standing idly by as our Government ignores the fact that our more populated province isn't allowing several new makes of electric cars to be sold/driven in its streets. Harper has proven to be a cold-hearted, business oriented, industry driven leader with no intentions toward ecological improvements. Better to take a chance on saving our planet than ensuring we as a country will be able to drive our SUV's and eat our steaks. Clean air, water, and survival is a tad bit more important.

  4. Posted by: on Sep 9, 2008 @ 9:51pm

    agreed. harper sucks.

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