Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Forced to wade back into politics: Why defeated governments don't make very good oppositions, the boys in short pants are still very much in charge.

I got a flyer in my mailbox from my MP, telling me that the Liberal budget is a nightmare for Canadians and reckless spending is a problem:

I gather that Justin Trudeau just borrowed 29.4 billion dollars to have what  sounds like  a frat house keg party. I gather the three costliest items are: beer, pizza and condoms, the fourth item is the reincarnation of the band Great Big C.

I can understand how defeated Conservatives think everything the Liberals do is bad and those newly elected to sit in opposition probably shouldn't be held accountable for Conservative reckless spending, if such a thing ever existed:

- "Canada's Cabinet ministers are in hot water for their government's plans to spend nearly two  billion dollars  building a man-made lake for this month's G20 summit". (Globe and Mail) This was a two billion dollar spend to build a fake lake in Toronto a city which already had  Lake Ontario.  Thank you Conservative Minister John Baird.

- "2010 – In late May, Conservative Defence Minister Peter MacKay tells the Commons that Canada will buy the F-35. Ninety minutes later, he says he misspoke and announces there will be an open competition with all aircraft considered. Six weeks later, ignoring what he previously said, MacKay announces Canada will purchase 65 F-35s. The cost is estimated by the government to be $9 billion. Deliveries would begin in 2016.
Several months later, Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page releases a report predicting F-35 program will cost $30 billion over 30 years. National Defence says price is $14.7 billion."(CP) Thank you Conservative Minister Peter McKay.

It took exactly 37 seconds to find 32 billion dollars wasted by the Harper Conservatives on two projects. This makes the Liberal 29.4 billion dollar keg party seem like a good deal that, will probably last all weekend.

The other interesting  thing this week is the MP from St. Albert, Michael Cooper, an aspiring young lawyer,  now relegated to being opposition justice critic, berating the minister of justice on her delays in appointing new Queens Bench justices. This one too smacks of insincerity, since the problem began long before Michael got elected.

Alberta has had the same number of Queens Bench Justices since 1996.

For twenty  years no previous government, including the Conservatives, chose to address the issue that apparently is now the  fault of the minister who has had the portfolio for  one year.

My point being:

I think a better approach for the Conservatives  is to start collaborating instead of complaining and accusing. Had Michael asked the Minister what he could do to help, he might have actually accomplished something, as it was his question and accusation were worthy of a fifteen second sound bite and nothing more.

A flaw in the party system is the lack of freedom available to the members thereof, every hair brained scheme dreamed up by government is only talked about as being swell by it's members and woeful by everyone in opposition.  Good quality legislation, beneficial legislation is treated as ineptly as inconsequential things such as changing the words to the national anthem or trying to decide who gets to use what bathroom.

It is mildly hypocritical of all parties involved to engage in such pandering simply for the purpose of getting people riled up or being quotable from Hansard.  Democratic reform is not going to happen until everyone involved acknowledges that while we as citizens vote in a democracy, there is no democracy in caucus and our elected representatives do not respond to our demands so much as to the demands placed upon them by those in charge of the circus.

Neither newly elected MP is a bad guy, I know and like them both but I also understand the motivation:

There are committee appointments, cabinet possibilities and better parking spots at risk for the maverick MLA or MP who steps out of line; and that's why they don't.

I'm looking for a maverick, but damned if I see one.

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