Monday, December 1, 2008

Federal Tories architects of their own demise

Last week’s economic status report from the federal Conservatives was too good to be true.

Now, that’s not to suggest that the Tories presented an overly-ambitious strategy for rescuing the slumping Canadian economy or that they unveiled an over-the-top stimulus package.

Rather, it was too good to be true because the Tories have now set the stage for their own demise. And for the 63% of Canadians who voted against the Conservative Party just 6 weeks ago, this is good news; the anemic Tories are about to be thrown out into the cold Canadian winter.

Indeed, the Conservative Party’s shocking inability to demonstrate to Canadians that they’re willing to do something, anything, to address the recession may prove to be the final straw. A parliamentary vote of non-confidence is now all but assured.

The Conservative response to the recession, or lack thereof, is certainly surprising given recent events south of the border. President-Elect Barack Obama assembled a 17-member economic advisory board just days after his election to help him piece together a recovery strategy -- a team that includes Warren Buffet and Eric Schmidt. And this on the heels of a hotly contested election in which the ravaged economy arguably tilted the results in Obama’s favour.

But here in Canada, our minority government (which acts and thinks like a majority government) has chosen to ignore the public's concerns and at their own peril; Canadians are getting increasingly worried as the manufacturing sector continues to collapse at a frightening rate. Even a hint of hope would be appreciated at this time.

But perception doesn't seem to matter to this government. Prime Minister Stephen Harper would rather play power-politics than draw inspiration from the United States. With millions of Canadians expecting at least something in the report, it came as a complete shock to get something even worse than nothing: in addition to more do-nothingism, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled a plan to curb party funding and ban public sector workers from striking.

Say what!?

This is the response to the worst economic crisis in modern memory? By attacking the other parties and protecting its own ass from potential union unrest?

Talk about a cry for help. This government is acting as if it wants to be put out of its misery.

Well, if all goes according to plan, a coalition government made up of the Liberals and NDP (and propped up by the Parti Quebecois) will remove the Conservatives as early as next week. And further to this end, the coalition has already hinted at a team of economic advisors that may include former deputy prime minister John Manley and former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna.

This coalition may not prove to be the most effective government in our history, but it’s already step ahead -- even if only on paper.

[photo credit: The Globe and Mail]

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