Thursday, March 15, 2007

It's called a "teaser"... or "I'll make you pay the full price later"

With the announcement that the Harper Conservatives are planning to drop the tax-break for business and simply transfer the $250 million for child-care spaces directly to the provinces I was struck by the fact that Harper, although slow on the uptake, is starting to understand that Canadians actually wanted what the Liberals were offering in many areas.

Given that, we should all begin to understand that Harper went into the prime minister's office intent on foisting his ideology on all of us and expecting us to be so uninterested that he could get away with it.

That didn't happen. So, his next best move is to pretend to be doing the will of Canadians by providing scaled-back versions of everything the Liberals were offering before him, all in hopes of gaining a majority government in the next election.

If that happens, you can expect all of these Conservative cheapened Liberal programs to vanish faster than ants at an aardvark convention.

Lord Kitchener's Own has a great post which shares the same view. Harper is playing a game right now, and if we lose interest or don't understand what he's up to, we could be in for one helluva nasty ride.
Why didn't Harper just tell us back in January of 2006 that he planned to do everything the Liberals campaigned on, just on a smaller scale??? I bet he would have won more seats if he had.
I know LKO is asking a facetious question, but it underscores a part of my point. Harper had no intention of retooling Liberal plans. He had his hand forced... by all of us. If he had possessed a majority, it would have been war on Canadians. If he wins a majority in the next election, it will be war on Canadians.
That said, I just don't know how I feel about this. "Everything the Liberals promised, only less ambitious" is certainly much better than what most on the center-left would have expected from a Tory government, but then again, it's transparently a ploy to win a majority, after which I expect the Tories would stop pretending to be so moderate. I say, don't be fooled. And more importantly, don't be satisfied with WATERED DOWN Liberal policies. Canada's New Government is increasingly looking to me like a student writing an exam who reads the answers off of his neighbour's paper, but doesn't copy down every single answer exactly correctly. It's admittedly not the right-wing Tory governance I feared. But frankly, it's hardly "governance" at all.

If I might offer another analogy, it's no different than being offered a new credit card. Transfer your existing balance and pay only 6 percent interest for the first six months. The fine print is where you'll find the kick in the groin. After the first six months the rate rises to the more standard 18 percent. Why? Because it's a credit card company.

The Conservatives can offer whatever they want when they're trying to get you to buy their product, (and that's what all of this is right now), but once we're a few months into an insoluble contract, (majority government with a lifespan of 4 to 5 years), we end up having to pay full price. And you can bet that it would only take weeks to see a Conservative majority government to leave the centre of the road on the first exit veering right.

Scott has additional views on Harper's positions, although I don't see Harper as a cheap Liberal imitation. He's playing at it and I suspect he sticks his finger down his throat every time he has to re-institute a Liberal policy.

Harper is a poseur - not a cheaper knockoff.

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