Okay, so we’re officially in election campaign mode! Like we didn’t see that one coming, what with all the frewferaw over Justin Trudeau’s hair in the last few months.
Seventy-odd more days of various media and certain members of the public asking whether or not the Liberal leader will show up wearing pants to the debates. As much fun as it might be to require all of the leaders to wear shorts to the debates, could this be a slight to Trudeau’s kilt-wearing Scottish heritage? Have the Tories decided that Scots are the next group to deride?
Seventy-odd more days of the Tories trying to scare Canadians with images of Thomas Mulcair’s beard. I can see the ads now; a close up of Tom’s nattily kept whiskers while an ominous voice over booms, “What’s Thomas Mulcair really hiding behind that facial hair?” They’ll be coming for Fred Penner next.
But pants or no pants, the Tory record on common sense initiatives is scant. They’ve pulled some mighty boners in their time in office, not the least of which was squandering the $16 billion surplus they were handed in 2006. It was the only time the Tories ever actually balanced a budget.
Come 2008 when the economy was in the toilet, that extra cash would have come in mighty handy for that thing the Tories did…what did they call it? Economic action plan? Some name like that. I seem to recall seeing a few thousand advertisements.
As for their security stance, I got one word: gazebo. Remember the money that was meant for keeping G20 leaders safe while in Canada in 2010? Instead, some of it got spent keeping Tony Clement’s sensitive skin safe from the light. But if gazebos are the Tory idea of what to spend our security dollars on, then I’m probably better off taking a few survival courses and saying goodbye to the city.
Getting rid of the long-form Census was so stupid it defies belief. It has deprived municipalities, health agencies, government departments, universities and a host of other public facilities with the data and information they need to plan for future population requirements. Should we spend more money here or here? Well, we really don’t know. It’s a crapshoot. The Tories, on the other hand, believe that this information will magically appear to them in a dream, or perhaps in the whisperings of some invisible alien perched on Pierre Polievre’s shoulder.
Forcing children to smoke marijuana, but not allow them to ingest it as an oil or in other forms, is a damned good premise for a comedy sketch and one I would no doubt laugh my ass off at should it ever appear on This Hour Has 22 Minutes or The Rick Mercer Report. It is not quite as funny to see our Health Minister Rona Ambrose expressing her “outrage” at a Supreme Court decision to allow a broader definition of medical marijuana. It’s embarrassing.
The latest Tory idiocy takes the cake. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq has just given Shell Canada up to 21 days—three friggin’ weeks!—to contain an underwater oil blowout should they be given license to drill in the waters off Nova Scotia, waters that also happen to be major fishing grounds. Hmm…garlic bitumen with your lobster anyone?
This minister is relatively young, but surely she remembers the days and days that oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from a defective BP well. The underwater webcam showed a steady gush of thick toxic goo, destined to kill pretty much everything in its path, sicken what was left, and leave the economy of the area in a shambles for years and years to come. It was a disgusting reminder of what we are capable of doing in our own backyard.
But perhaps I’m being too harsh. My observations over the last nine years is that most Tory ministers aren’t allowed to watch the news, or read unabridged scientific documents or conduct any independent research, or have such things as thoughts or the ability to grow a spine. The decree went out in a memo on PMO letterhead way back in the fall of 2006: Congratulations, you are now a Conservative MP. Please shut off your brain until further notice.
The minister’s decision was made despite U.S. requirements of the same company to deploy containment operations within 24 hours. The Americans made Shell Canada bring in a ship from Norway that is anchored off the drill site. And our government can’t…why? They don’t want to piss off some Norwegians? I’m pretty sure we could take ’em. They’re worried that Shell Canada will up and move from such potentially lucrative offshore oil deposits and go elsewhere? Oil doesn’t move around all that much; companies have to come to it if they want to drink from its wells.
Now election-mode Stephen Harper—the Ken doll of Canadian politics—is gnashing his teeth about how change is risky and dangerous. Change like, getting rid of perfectly sound laws, enacting ones that cannot possibly pass the constitutional sniff-test and will return to Parliament like so many cats, demonizing environmentalists, First Nations, single parents, Scots, the bearded, etc., spending oodles of our cash on ads to let us know how our cash is being spent, throwing people off the voter list, and giving Canada seven–or is it eight?–unbalanced budgets in a row.
Change is indeed risky. But stagnation kills.