They will write books some day analyzing the political genius of Stephen Harper. This move was audacious, stunning, bold, and absolutely right from a small-c conservative point of view: through his Finance Minister’s economic update, he has announced the end of the outrageous system of public financing of Canada’s political parties imposed by the Chretien Liberals. Read about it in Kelly MacParland’s fine column. Quite simply: a system in which the Bloc Quebecois receives over 80% of its operating funds from the very Federal Government it wishes to dismantle, is a system that must go. Grabbing this post-election opportunity in which the official opposition is at its weakest to scrap the system is the type of hardball politics that conservatives usually end up on the butt-end of! Finally, we have hardball players on our side.
What makes this incredibly entertaining is the bluster and sabre-rattling of the opposition parties. Both NDP leader Jack Layton, and Liberal leader-in-waiting Bob Rae, have called the move “undemocratic” – an Orwellian inversion if there ever was one. All opposition parties are threatening to vote against the measure, which would trigger a snap election. Check out these quotes from Joan Bryden’s evening report:
Ignatieff: “I’m utterly unintimidated and undeterred by this stuff and the caucus is in the same mood . . . . (Harper) has misread the mood if he thinks that the Liberal caucus is going to cave on this matter. No way. No way.”
Similarly, Rae said the Tories are “deliberately creating a political crisis in order to avoid dealing with an economic crisis.” He said there’s “no public policy benefit at all” to the move to scrap public subsidies for parties.
“It’s just absolute bloody-minded meanness that’s motivating them and it can’t be allowed to stand.”
So, after two years of abstaining on every key issue put forward by the Conservatives – from war, to justice, to taxes, to economics – we now know where the line in the sand is drawn for Liberals. Deny these pigs their seat at the public trough, and it’s war!
Dignity, thy name ‘aint Lib.