Sunday, 30 August 2015

What Would Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister Mean for Canada? Look at Ontario to Find Out

If you want to know what Canada with Justin Trudeau as prime minister would look like, you need look no further than my home province of Ontario, where the provincial Liberal Party has been in power since 2003.  So what does Ontario look like after over a decade of Liberal rule?  Do you really want to know the answer to that question?  Okay, but don't say I didn't warn you.

Ontario under the Liberals has suffered from years and years of fiscal mismanagement and scandal after scandal.  As soon as they came to power, the Liberals didn't waste any time in tearing the province apart.  The first major blow came shortly after Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty was elected.  One of his first moves was to bring in a very large new tax known as the Health Premium.  According to the National Citizens Coalition, this amounted to the largest tax grab in Ontario's history - and from a party that promised not to raise taxes if it was elected.  Then came the HST and skyrocketing hydro rates.  Indeed, ever since the Liberals came to power, Ontarians just can't get a break from their seemingly endless money grabs.  The results?  Lost jobs, lost businesses and a lot of pain for the average Ontario taxpayer.

Worse still, the Liberals have squandered Ontarians' tax dollars in one fiasco after another.  If you live in Ontario and follow provincial politics, terms like eHealth, gas plants and smart meters all provoke the memories of scandals that cost the province and its taxpayers billions of dollars.  Ontario's debt has more than doubled, its debt-to-GDP ratio has risen significantly and its credit rating has been downgraded.  But what does this have to do with Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals?  A lot, unfortunately.

Trudeau is basically pitching the same kind of tax and spend policies that have run Ontario into the ground for over a decade.  He's announced plans to run budget deficits for the next four years if he becomes prime minister.  Clearly, he's not afraid of a backlash by more fiscally prudent-minded voters.  And why should he be?  After all, running big deficits and racking up debt has unfortunately not hurt the Ontario Liberals.  Heck, they went from a minority government to a majority in the last election!  The question is, will all of Canada make the same mistake that Ontario voters have made three times already?  I sincerely hope not, because just as the provincial Liberals under Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynne have made Ontario a have-not province, their federal cousins under Justin Trudeau will make Canada a have-not country.      


Friday, 28 August 2015

Canada Votes 2015

Well Canada, it's that time again.  Time to stand up and make your voices heard at the ballot box.  So is anything different in this federal election than in previous ones?  On the surface, not much.  The issues are pretty much the same.  The economy, health care, and so forth.  Also the same are our choices.  As in other elections prior, our choice is primarily between the three fat cat parties, the Conservatives, the Liberals and the New Democratic Party, whose leaders are all equally uninspiring.  Yes, there are other players, such as the Green Party and the Bloc Quebecois, not to mention a bunch of other fringe parties that most Canadians have never heard of.  But in a country that still uses the unfair and antiquated first-past-the-post, winner-take-all electoral system, none of these parties have a chance of forming the next government or even taking part in it.  Most of them will be lucky just to win seats in the next parliament.

And as if our electoral system doesn't make our elections unfair enough, the current government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has changed the rules so that this year's election might be the most unfair in Canada's recent history.  For starters, the election campaign is a record eleven weeks long.  Why does this matter?  Because the Tories have more campaign funds than the Liberals and New Democrats combined, so they are much more capable of sustaining an effective, long-term campaign than their challengers.  The Tories have also phased out the per-vote subsidy, public funds that were allocated to political parties based on the number of votes they garnered in the past election.  This subsidy helped small parties like the Greens compete in an electoral system that heavily favours large parties with deep pockets.  To make a long story short, the Conservatives have stacked the rules in their favour and made it a lot harder for the opposition parties to remove them from power, not to mention the fact that they've spent millions of our tax dollars on partisan government advertising that has essentially given them a giant head start over their challengers in winning the hearts and minds of Canadian voters.  Still, the latest polls show a tight, three-way race between the main parties with many voters undecided, hence Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau and Tom Mulcair, the leaders of the Conservatives, the Liberals and the New Democrats respectively, all have a chance to become Canada's next Prime Minister.  So what do I have to say about these three uninspiring party leaders?  Plenty, believe me.

Stephen Harper: The Increasingly Arrogant Incumbent

I have traditionally supported our current prime minister, especially in matters related to foreign policy.  But over the last year or two, he's been trying my patience with his growing arrogance.  He's been arrogant with our tax dollars, spending millions of them on partisan ads promoting his so-called Economic Action Plan.  Some action plan, Mr. Prime Minister!  You put all of Canada's eggs in one basket, relying solely on oil to fuel the country's economic growth.  So now since the oil boom has become a bust, what's your plan for the future?  I'm still waiting for an answer, and until I hear one, I'm going to assume that your arrogance has blinded you to the needs of anyone who lives and works outside of the oil patch.

Unfortunately, the only thing Prime Minister Harper has been good at of late is bribing Canadians with their own tax dollars, promising bigger tax cuts; tax cuts that will see more money flow mostly into the pockets of wealthy Canadians instead of into programs and initiatives that will give help to those who really need it.  Universal prescription drug coverage?  Affordable childcare?  Dream on, Canada!  Prime Minister Harper needs to feed his wealthy friends.

Justin Trudeau: The Little Boy Who Won't Grow Up

I want to be honest with everyone reading this.  I hate the Liberal Party.  I have for ages.  Furthermore, I have never voted Liberal in any federal election and I don't know if I ever will, especially when the party is headed by a juvenile incompetent like Justin Trudeau.  The current Liberal leader is essentially a wannabe.  He seeks nothing more than to fill the shoes of his father, the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  Personally, I think that if he didn't share his father's last name, he wouldn't even be on the map as far as Canada's political scene is concerned.  Moreover, the only trait that Justin seems to have taken from his father is his arrogance.  Yes, I believe that Justin is just as arrogant as his father was, if not more so.  The big difference is that Pierre Trudeau actually had a vision for Canada, whereas his son Justin does not.  Actually, having original ideas is very uncharacteristic of the federal Liberal Party outside of the Pierre Trudeau era.  The federal Liberals have a history of stealing ideas from the New Democrats and Conservatives and winning election campaigns with them.  So in a way, Justin Trudeau is the perfect leader for the Liberals.  He is certainly not, however, a good candidate to be Prime Minister of this great country we call Canada.

Worst still, the young Trudeau knows nothing about what it takes to govern a country.  He's never held a post in any government on any level.  He can't even hack it as an ordinary Member of Parliament.  If he could, he wouldn't have held the infamous distinction of having the worst attendance record of any MP.  So inasmuch as you may be annoyed by those frequent Conservative ads saying that Justin Trudeau is "just not ready", the truth is that he isn't ready in any way, shape or form to be the next Prime Minister of Canada.

Tom Mulcair: A Liberal Pretending to be a New Democrat?

If I didn't know better, I'd swear that NDP leader Tom Mulcair was actually a Liberal.  Much to the chagrin of some NDP faithful, Mulcair is probably the most centrist of leaders in the history of the party.  In fact, he used to be a Liberal, at least at the provincial level, having served as a member of Quebec's National Assembly since the mid-90's and eventually making his way into the provincial cabinet.  He actually became a New Democrat less than ten years ago, winning a federal by-election in a Quebec riding in 2007.  Now of course, it is certainly not uncommon for politicians to switch allegiances, but the question I have to ask is, does Mulcair actually believe in the traditional left-wing principles of the NDP, or is he just disguising himself, campaigning like a New Democrat, but planning on governing like a Liberal if he wins the election?

Pick Your Poison, Canada

Well, there you have it.  We get to choose between an incumbent prime minister, who doesn't seem to care about anyone without deep pockets, an inexperienced young buck who is so bereft of ideas on how to run this country that he makes everything up on the fly, and a guy who wraps himself in NDP orange, perhaps only to cover up the Liberal red underneath.  Isn't democracy great!?