Blogs & Comment

It's time for an election already

Whatever your thoughts may be on Stephen Harper, it’s hard to deny that his world is on the verge of imploding. Besides the Lisa Raitt issue (which you can read about here), there’s the pressure to reform EI, the fact that the government funneled billions into GM’s coffers only for them to go bankrupt (not really his fault, but still), and Dalton McGuinty’s disgustthat the PM won’t hold a national summit on pension reform.
Oh yeah, there’s also that little matter of a $50 billion deficit, calls for Jim Flaherty’s resignation, and according to Ekos and Angus Reid the Liberals are polling slightly ahead of the Conservatives.
And, you can’t miss the fact that Ignatieff’s threats to bring down the government have been ratcheted up lately. Yesterday, the Liberal leader said, “I’m trying to make Parliament work with a government that every day is displaying more flagrant examples of incompetence,” pointing to the medical isotope shortage and the growing deficit as proof.
All of this adds up to one thing there’s a good chance we’ll see a vote of no confidence sometime next week or the week after.
And it’s about time. Harper’s argument for not bringing down the government has been made over and over again, including yesterday when he said to reports in Quebec, “why when we are just beginning to see emergence from this recession in Canada in a relatively strong position, [would we] want to throw this country into another round of political instability?”
That reasoning makes no sense. Not only does no business get done on the Hill in the summer, thanks to long vacations for MPs, but some political instability is exactly what Canada needs right now.
Since the recession became the most talked about event on Parliament Hill, I haven’t seen one concrete plan to fix the economy, and even less chatter about how Canada will look once the financial turmoil officially ends. Sure, there’s talk of changes to EI and Harper’s announced plenty of infrastructure projects over the last little while, but it still feels like no one in Ottawa is doing anything, or paying much attention, to the economic crisis.
An election would finally force the Liberals and Conservatives to put forward solid ideas about this country’s future. Questions like how will the deficit be paid down, what’s the plan to revive Ontario and Alberta’s economy, how will the government help spur job growth, all need to be answered.
And they need to be answered now. It appears that markets are stabilizing somewhat, consumer confidence is up, and some economists think, albeit cautiously, that the worst may be behind us. So, now that the panic from both the public and politicians has largely subsided, it’s time for Canada’s leaders to come up with level headed, non-reactionary ideas about our economy.
Harper should embrace an election too. Right now many people think his government has failed Canada in the economics department, but in truth, a lot of what’s happened over the last few months has been beyond his, or anyone’s, control. If the Liberals were in power they too would have a sky high deficit and GM still would have filed for bankruptcy. Harper has an opportunity to reinvent his economic platform, but he needs to do it before public opinion turns on him for good.
Enough of the petty back and forth, let’s debate the issues already. Let’s see what Iggy’s platform, which is supposed to be completed, but not presented(to the public at least), this month is all about. And let’s find out how Harper would get the country back into the black. The only way to do this though is to have an election. So cross your fingers and hope the opposition parties pull the trigger and send us all back to the voting booth as soon as possible.