For some reason I thought it might be fun to go through the statement of the Prime Minister and offer opinions/thoughts. So here you go. Behind a cut because it is kind of long! [ETA - okay, I can’t put it behind a damn cut because for some reason even when I put it in, whenever I save it, it goes away and now I am tired of repeatedly editing this post and resaving it to no results, so. Sorry for the dashboard clutter, people!]
“Once again, as you know, the leaders of all three Opposition parties have stated their reluctance to support our Budget.
Actually, I think they said they wouldn’t support it period unless there were some changes and then your office said there would be no changes.
“I am disappointed that they did not take time to read the Budget before rushing to their conclusions.
“Our economy is not a political game. The global recovery is still fragile. Relative to other nations, Canada’s economic recovery has been strong, but its continuation is by no means assured.
“Many threats remain. In an interconnected world, difficulties arising from turmoil in the Middle East, the disaster in Japan, European debt, and the ability of struggling trading partners to buy our exports can all put Canadian jobs at risk.
“In this period of global economic uncertainty, our Government is focused – above all else – on completing Canada’s economic recovery.
“The Budget that the Minister of Finance tabled yesterday – the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – is a low-tax plan of critical importance to jobs, growth and the financial security of hardworking Canadians.
All this is fine, really. Appropriate for a Prime Minister to get up and say before Canadians. An explanation of his view of the budget, whether or not it is true, or whether or not it is supportable. But then he starts to sound a bit more like he’s making a campaign speech.
“It is unfortunate for Canadians that the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois seem to have a different priority, and that is to force an unnecessary election.
Okay, the part I am confused about here is that this is a minority government. This is not an unnecessary election. This is an election caused by the major opposition parties - all three! - disagreeing with the minority government and none of them appeased enough to stand by the minority government (I will keep saying it until our eyes bleed) during a critically tabled budget.
This isn’t unnecessary, this is our democracy in action, Mr. Harper. If you have a minority government, you have to play nice with the other parties. This time, you just needed to make one of the parties happy. It is the tightrope you need to traverse because you did not convince enough Canadians to give you enough seats in a majority.
C’est la vie. Ce n’est pas unnecessaire.
“From coast-to-coast-to-coast Canadians expect all Parliamentarians to be working together to finish the job of securing our economic future.
And help us with our heath-care and our education and help prepare for our old age and create a net for the poor and just generally be our government! Canadians are a persnickety and demanding lot.
“Let’s be clear about what the Opposition is opposing and what they would toss away. All things – by the way – that they claimed to support: An increase in the income of Canada’s most vulnerable senior citizens; the reintroduction of the Home Energy Retrofit program to reduce home heating costs; an innovative transition-to-work program for our Canadian Armed Forces Veterans; extensions to work-sharing and the targeted initiative for older workers; an incentive to retain the volunteer firefighting services that are so critical to rural communities; and powerful encouragement for doctors and nurses to locate in rural areas.
“The Opposition is threatening to vote down significant new supports for families and local communities including: tax relief for family caregivers as well as the elimination of the cap on the medical expense tax credit; the Children’s Arts Tax Credit; and enshrining the gas tax fund in legislation for infrastructure in cities and towns.
“They are opposing initiatives to promote jobs, growth and the international success of Canada’s forestry, agricultural, mining and aerospace sectors.
I now feel like Mr. Harper is on a campaign platform which makes me uncomfortable, as he is currently using the Prime Minister’s Office for this speech. He does need to convince voters on the merit of his budget, but really, he should be convincing the Opposition leaders.
I don’t feel he is saying this to change the leader’s minds, I feel he is saying this because it makes a better stage for him to get re-elected, perhaps even with a majority government.
“The Opposition would block a break on EI premiums for small businesses that create jobs and they would stop a two-year extension of incentives in manufacturing.
“The Leaders of the Liberal Party, the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois must explain their rejection of these and other initiatives to promote jobs and growth.
“Let me be very clear: this Budget – the Next Phase of Canada’s Economic Action Plan – is designed to ensure the continuation of Canada’s recovery.
“The Opposition parties have a choice between two priorities: Their ambition for an unnecessary election or our important measures to support Canadians and the economy.
“Notwithstanding their declarations, the Opposition parties still have the opportunity to put Canadians’ interests first.
“It is not too late for them to step back, to think about the fragile global recovery, and to listen to the strong support of many organizations and the Canadian public for these measures.
“I encourage them to put the interests of Canadians first and to help us complete Canada’s economic recovery.
“To protect hardworking Canadians and their families, the financial sector, their jobs, their communities.
Again, I do not think you are saying these words because you think this statement will impact the Opposition Leaders. You are speaking to impact your potential voters.
No, no. Thank you!
I really think a statement was necessary. But this much grandstanding, and this much ‘unnecessary election’ this and ‘disappointed that’ and ‘Canadians want’ such and such felt far too much like the Prime Minister is setting himself up to be the maligned leader of a country where the big bad Opposition are just selfish and getting in the way of governing.
This is a minority government. That means a delicate balance, and just because the parties won’t vote for what you tabled does not mean they hate you. They might - shocking though it may seem - really disagree.
Just a thought.
If everyone follows through, now, we are looking at an election.