Cry Wolf

If there is one thing that the Conservatives should steer clear of for a while, it’s predicting the downfall of the Martin Liberals. They’ve been rattling the sabre so much lately that it’s starting to look more like it’s rusted in the scabard.

In their mind, I’m sure they didn’t come off looking too bad following Belinda Stronach’s exquisitely well-timed change of allegiance this spring, but I don’t think most of us give them much credit for playing the martyr role. First of all, even if they could have pulled it off, who wants a victim in government? Others felt it was just cynical politics as usual, and some, like myself, never bought the line that MPs should be bound to the party they were elected under.

All we see is a leader who can’t keep high-profile MPs on-side, a party that urges social moderates out the door, and an opposition so inept it can’t topple a minority government in the middle of one of the worst scandals in Canadian history.

But of course, all of this is ancient history on scale of politics. So why do the Conservatives keep reminding us of it? We don’t need any more predictions. They’ve probably used up their quota of headlines of that nature anyways, and may soon be forced to resort to standing on streetcorners with signs reading “The End (of the Liberals) is nigh!”. So how about they keep their mouths shut until the headline reads “Liberals Lose Confidence Vote”?

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Ain’t Misbehavin’

One wonders how much longer the BC teachers’ strike can go before one side is broken. Rotating action around the province in support of the teachers by the BC Division of the Canadian Union of Provincial Employees was a very good sign, but the government has some powerful weapons in their arsenal as well. The legal system, for example.

The head of the teachers’ federation, Jinny Sims, has said that she is prepared to accept the consequences of disobeying the court order requiring the teachers to return to work. It takes courage to stand against an unjust law and willingly accept the punishment for doing so, but it is somtimes necessary to do so, and this is one of those cases.

Gordon Campbell

Premier Gordon “Johnny Law” Campbell’s comments seemed to discount the entire notion of it being sometimes necessary to disobey an unjust law, telling reporters that, “At the end of the day, it is hardly a hard line situation to say people should respect the law. The fact of the matter is, in a civil society, we must obey the law.” It would be refreshing to see Campbell’s respect for the rule of law matched by a respect for some of the other fundamental principles of a democratic society, such as freedom of association.

But what about the children? Won’t somebody please think of the children? Well, no teacher I have ever met was in it for the money. I would be more inclined to say that interest of the students was more in the mind of the teachers when they voted to strike than it was in the mind of thel legislators as they imposed the “agreement”. Teaching simply isn’t a profession which justifies back-to-work legislation. Children can make up lost classroom time over the year and into the summer. That’s an inconvenience, but that’s the point.

No free vote if you’re an NDP

There is absolutely no straying from party doctrine when your an NDP, otherwise you will have to do as Mrs. Bev Desjarlais, and find yourself another party. Bev Desjarlais, the only NDP MP to vote against the same-sex marriage bill last spring, has lost her NDP nomination for the next election for doing so.

This decision is somewhat understandable as same-sex marriage was a key issue in the NDP platform; but in an era of pressing the free vote, to me, this seems a very harsh penalty from a party that appears to portray a more gentile, friendly, and forgiving persona.

Mrs. Desjarlais has already stated that she will run as an independent in the next election this spring, but may begin sitting as an independent as early as next week. As an MP since 1997 for the Churchill riding, Mrs. Desjarlais’ may be a seat the NDP can kiss good-bye.

All Jack wants for Christmas is for people to remember the NDP

After seeing much of the popularity gained by the NDP in the spring vanish over the summer, Jack Layton moved today to recapture the attention of the Prime Minister and the Canadian public by announcing a list of demands for continued support of the Liberal minority on any upcoming confidence issues.

The list itself, much like the NDP budget provisions, is lacking enough in detail to drive O’Smiley crazy. However, it should prove effective in drawing media attention to the NDP, and forcing our attention on the everyday occurrences of parliament to see if Jack is smiling or frowning. The list itself is clearly designed to kick start a pre-election campaign, rather than send us to the polls or achieve significant political change.

Don’t look for the NDP to kick the leg out of the Liberal Government in time for a Christmas election, but get ready for an all out campaigning race to election day as scheduled.

Rebates Rebates Rebates

Apparently the Alberta prosperity dividend isn’t such a bad idea after all, or at least the Federal Government doesn’t think so. The new Surplus Allocation Act, to be tabled in Parliament today, will, if passed, cut and allocate any future Federal surpluses into three equal parts. One third of any future surplus will be allocated to debt reduction, one third allocated to social spending, and the final third is returned to you and me, as a rebate in the form of a tax credit.

Like the Alberta dividend, the Surplus Allocation Act is falling under heavy criticism. The main criticism, of course, is that this is nothing more than an election ploy. As an election looms in the near future, this does makes sense, but that doesn’t mean its a bad idea.

Unlike the Alberta dividend however, the Surplus Allocation Act does seem to have some sort of structure and planning behind it, rather than the mere throwing around of excess cash that the Prosperity Dividend resembles. Perhaps, as more information is revealed, we will see a broader structure resembling the Surplus allocation Act behind the Prosperity Dividend; at least I hope that is the case.

~ O’Smiley ~