- Michael Harris sums up the first year of a Harper majority by pointing out the overwhelming need for change from the government we're stuck with now:
The curtain has been well and truly whipped away from the PM’s self-promoting deceptions and he is revealed for what he is: a power-tripper on a mission to give Canada an extreme makeover that only the super-rich and the semi-comatose could endorse. And he is doing it with virtually no debate, creating something of a new phenomenon in Canadian politics; sole-source public policy.- And the Star isn't much more pleased:
This is not “strong, stable government” a la Harper’s PR mantra. It is oppressive, dictatorial regime-building that would do any petro-state proud.
- Trish Hennessy runs some numbers to keep in mind at tax time - with a particular emphasis on the massive majority of Canadians willing to pay more to ensure a reasonable base of public services.
By now Harper’s signature impulse — to scale back Ottawa’s role in the federation — is beginning to be felt, and so is the cost. The Tory budget, skilfully marketed as a “modest” paring-back that will affect few jobs, will have major impact. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page predicts it will shrink Ottawa’s contribution to the national economy to an “historical low” of 5.5 per cent, from a 50-year average of 8.2 per cent. Page says this will result in sharply slower growth and sharply higher joblessness over the next few years.
To many Canadians that won’t feel like the “smarter, more caring nation” that Harper promised in last year’s throne speech. It will feel more like a federal shrug of indifference. Workers at the CBC are feeling the pain, along with those who run our national parks, compile statistics, patrol the borders and ensure food safety.
- Stephen Maher describes Robocon as a natural extension of familiar Republican dirty tricks - and gets an admitted vote-suppressor to agree with that link.
- Finally, Dan Gardner makes a curious case as to how some unspecified "loony left" (with only a single example) is giving Stephen Harper cover with his party's hard-right base. But I'm surprised Gardner misses one obvious implication of his own argument: if Harper might otherwise be pursuing regressive social policy in order to appease his base but has avoided it because he can accomplish the same goal by merely pointing to what Heather Mallick writes, then her commentary alone has had a far more direct effect on Canadian public policy under the Harper Cons than all the Very Serious People in the country combined.