Friday, December 30, 2005

Relative Not Absolute Gains

If Stephen Harper becomes Prime Minister on the night of the 23rd we will all survive. I was having a coffee today and I was thinking to myself, is it Harper would do harm to Canada or will he just do little good. The answer is both really. In terms of policy and legislative agenda he will do no harm. His free child money is not going to do bad to this country as it is not regressive in the sense that the Liberal’s plan has barely been started. What it wouldn’t do is much good, $25 a week is not buying anyone childcare. His GST tax cuts, will help me personally as a student who doesn’t make nearly enough to pay income tax and you cannot argue that the tax is bad. What you can argue and rightfully so is that it will do less good for the country then an income tax cut. I would like somebody to tell me that the Conservative plan to increase minimum sentences is bad. It might not be the best way to deal with crime but it is not doing any harm.

So in essence you have a party that has policies that if they become government will do good things for the country. The question to ask is, if there policies will do as much good as Liberal ones. I would argue no and I believe that most Canadians* believe the same thing here. They see the Tory policy and say, not my first choice of ways to approach each issue but it is something at least. The Liberal problem besides childcare and handgun policy is that they have announced no new policy to juxtapose. The Liberals are against a GST tax cuts but if you think about it they never said they would instead make an equal cut in income taxes. Remember that pre-election mini-budget was enacted already and thus the tax cuts have already gone through. So if the Tories came to power those income tax cuts would still stand.

On the part where they will hurt this country is Quebec. I hate having to write this because I have always believed you should vote for something then vote against something. The Tories are likely going to win no seats in the province and if they form government it will be a huge problem for unity. Having no Quebec representation of the government in the House of Commons is huge. Having no elected Quebec MPs in the cabinet is a major problem for national unity. I have had problems reconciling with myself how to address this major issue.

So at the end of the day a Tory government is not a bad thing, it is just not as good as a Liberal victory. The sun will rise on the 24th no matter the outcome. It is really a game of relative gains not absolute ones.

*When I state “I believe Canadians….”, what I in fact mean is I am actually guessing.


  • At 4:42 PM, Blogger EX-NDIP said…

    Hey for a college kid you sound like you are waking up . . . think about having 2 or 3 kids at home, a mortgage and bills to pay. $150 per month per child might help a bunch. Think about keeping more of your hard earned money because of income and payroll tax reductions, plus GST at 5%.
    Or the Paul M method, you would probably make too much money to qualify for free daycare, and like Medicare you would have to wait months or even years to get enrolled. Liberal Promises, remember the Red Book . . . us dumb Canucks are still waiting.
    Conservatives = Low Taxes, Small Government, Personal Freedom
    Liberals = Socialism . . . they are even making the NDP blush. The democratic world is turning RIGHT . . . note: Germany, Australia, Denmark and other Scandinavian countries.
    Happy (Liberal Free) New Year . . .

  • At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Jeff Cosford said…

    First I would like to commend you on your Blog. Although I disagree with your Left leaning feelings, the manner in which you have chosen to express them ie no whinning catterwalling or spittle flying and pounding the keyboard in psychotic outrage frees me to read what you have actually said instead of shunning you as just another crazed lefty.

    My belief in the right has to do with nothing more than I don't need the government telling me how to think spend my money or how to walk and talk. I give that credit to all other Canadians in that they too are perfectly capable of looking after themselves. When you boil it right down maybe 5% of the population actually needs some kind of help and those can be accomadated.

    What astounds me is perfectly rational persons such as yourself can support crimminal activity in your government. Since it can be safely assumed that you are not privy to all the goings on in a government, any crimminal scandal would one would think bring the government down in flames.

    To find in Canada that is not the case is disturbing to say the least.
    If this were a Conservative government and not a Liberal government I would be at the front of the line to vote them out. Impeach the bastards at the first opportunity. As much as that would pain me and disgrace me.

    Governments are first and foremost about trust. When that trust has been breached there can be only one choice. removal and prosecution.

  • At 5:39 PM, Blogger Political Nobody said…

    I am not sure what it is exactly. Maybe I just expect a certain level of coruption in the government. Maybe I am just jadded. The thing is the country is moving a long pretty well right now and thus I see no need for a change. Say what you want, crime, drugs, Canada-US relations, healthcare and all the so-called trouble areas have had either a)little effect on my life b)really not as bad as we make it to be. Or I am simple insane, its a possibility.

  • At 6:53 PM, Blogger Koby said…

    "In terms of policy and legislative agenda he will do no harm."

    I could not disagree with you more.

    Now, leaving aside the fact that a Conservative government would table no socially progressive legislation and as such would represent a huge opportunity cost, there is little to justify such complicity.

    With no natural partner in the house, the Conservatives would seek out short term alliances. This would mean that they would join with the Bloc in robbing the Federal government of power (addressing the fiscal imbalance is the word both use). A Conservative government would also do something else.

    Issues, such as gay marriage, are open to free votes. In such cases what matters is not the total of MPs of parties that back, say, gay marriage but rather the sum total of MPs that back, for example, gay marriage. As various Conservative apologists pointed out, there is a large bloc of Liberal MPs opposed to SSM. (There is a world of difference between having the Conservative party brass talking up how SSM posses a threat to Canadian children and the homophobic dribble of a bunch of back bench MPS who are very slowly but surely being pushed out of the party (e.g., Kilger and O'Brien.)) Calgary Grit has suggested to me that these MPs are the most likely to be defeated. No such luck. The vast majority of these MPs are in solidly Liberal ridings, including many in Toronto. In all, only 9 of 32 (e.g., Zed, Savoy, Boshcoff, Bonin) stand even a remote chance of being defeated and only a couple are likely to be defeated. What this means is this that these MPs would be strong enough to withstand any pressure to vote down party lines and that if the Conservatives should they get around 125 seats they would have votes to doom, for one, gay marriage.

  • At 7:09 PM, Blogger Candace said…

    Political Nobody: Don't forget that under a CPC gov't you'd get to write off $500 for books (which is $500 more than you can write off now). You'd also get to enjoy up to 10k per year in scholarships tax free (which, I think, is probably 10k more than you can now, although I'm not a student so could be wrong there).

    "On the part where they will hurt this country is Quebec..." Actually, it has been reported for well over a week that there are at least two seats in Quebec City that may go CPC. I hope you are EQUALLY concerned about the lack of any Liberal seats in Alberta? Because it's extremely doubtful that Anne will win again.

    Koby: "leaving aside the fact that a Conservative government would table no socially progressive legislation"

    So, the CPC wanting to ADD emissions to the list (currently just CO2) of targets for reduction is not progressive? So tax credits for using public transit won't potentially help cut down on emissions? So providing up to $10k in credits to corporations and nonprofit organizations for creating new daycare spots isn't "progressive"?

    "With no natural partner in the house, the Conservatives would seek out short term alliances. This would mean that they would join with the Bloc in robbing the Federal government of power"

    Get a grip. The Bloc supported the Liberal gov't more than they did any CPC votes. There will be no "robbing the federal gov't of power" it will be returning those powers originally granted by the Canada Act to the provinces

    Do some research before spouting the typical fear-mongering nonsense.

  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger Political Nobody said…

    Koby: True........but if the Tories pull off a minority then a lot of the new conservatives who would have to be elected will be the pro-ssm ones. Also I expect a Tory win would in fact be due to increase Bloc/NDP seats not a massive increase in Tory seats. This is would be close.

    On the issue of the Tories no real partner you are right. But remeber this, the NDP never had the BoP and thus the Libs needed either the Bloc or the Tories to vote with them.

    Candice: On the book write off, thats great. But the real need is in tuition bursaries. I dont have loan and thus thankfully no debt but the real problems on education that effect students is the increasing debt. What is needed is increase needed based bursaries and a full overhaul of the system, but that is a provincial issue.

  • At 11:53 PM, Blogger Jason Cherniak said…

    If Harper wins, all of the existing Day Care deals will be recinded. Just wait for the federal-provincial court battles. We also have the problem of his "fiscal imbalance", the Senate and provincial representation at international institutions. Do you really want to see Harper leading Constitutional negotiations?

  • At 1:12 AM, Blogger ferrethouse said…

    What it wouldn’t do is much good, $25 a week is not buying anyone childcare.

    Martin's childcare plan only covers 1 out of every 8 children in Canada over the next 10 years. Harper's plan may only cover a portion of the cost but at least everyone gets something. I thought the Liberals were the party of equality. Apparently you have to win the Liberal lottery to get a child care space.

  • At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Now, leaving aside the fact that a Conservative government would table no socially progressive legislation and as such would represent a huge opportunity cost, there is little to justify such complicity."

    Change for the sake of change? What a compelling moral and economic philosophy you have.

    Unless you can demonstrate that "socially progressive legislation" is the proverbial free lunch, then it too has an opportunity cost - one which you seem content to ignore since it most likely doesn't come out of your pocket.

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