Even if most Canadians don’t want one, it’s going to be pretty hard to avoid a general election this spring.
Speaker Peter Milliken’s ruling that the Tory government was too stingy with information about corporate tax cuts, and that International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda was not candid (read untruthful or misleading), about her role in cutting funding for the religion-based Kairos aid group, is catnip for those seeking an election.
Whether the Liberals will move for a vote of confidence remains to be seen. If they do, it’s likely an election will be called.
In normal times (assuming any times are “normal” in politics) the Harper Conservatives would be in a mite of trouble. Not only has Ms. Oda become a liability, but a number of other Tories are in the soup. Some have been nailed for exceeding election spending limits, and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney committed the dastardly crime of using his office letterhead to appeal for money for the party. Zzzzz.
While Canadians might tut-tut the above indiscretions, it’s doubtful they match the indignation of Ethics Commissar Christiane Ouimet getting some $500,000 for being fired – on condition she shut up, and not poor-mouth the government. If, indeed, that was the deal.
More than the other stuff, big payoffs to failed bureaucrats is offensive.
Again, it’s thanks to Auditor General Sheila Fraser that we learned that Ouimet had investigated only seven of 228 “whistle-blower” cases in three years, and resolved none of them.
Fair enough for the government to make a mistake in appointing someone, but why pay that person off? Is it really a bribe to shut her up?
Anyway, Ouimet’s case more than, say, Bev Oda’s may hurt Harper.
All that said, if the Opposition parties force an election, common sense dictates that Canadian voters should return the Conservatives – with a majority.
The reason? Canada’s economy, and the overall performance of the government has, arguably, been the envy of the rest of the world.
True, Stephen Harper may not be as loveable and cuddly as some would like. He may be more secretive and controlling than he needs to be. But what cannot be disputed is that under him Canada has performed well.
There is no reason to vote Tories out of office – and a lot of reason to return them with a majority.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff gives the impression of wandering in the wilderness. He hasn’t got much of a common touch, and while he seems more conservative in some ways than many conservatives, there’s no persuasive reason why he should be PM.
Our banking system can be credited with saving Canada from the ravages of the recession that struck America and Europe. And now TD bank and BNS are raising their dividends, with all our banks being profitable and secure. To us that’s normal; to the outside world it’s amazing.
At the moment, both the NDP and the Bloc aren’t saying if they’d support a Liberal no confidence motion. At least not before the budget is tabled. That’s sensible.
Reduced to basics, it’s mostly politicians who agitate for an election, not the Canadian people. Despite the sequence of embarrassments to the Tories, one doesn’t get a feeling that Canadians want a return of Liberals – not under its present leadership, at any rate.