Thursday, March 24, 2011

Let's Get Ready to Rumble...Well, Electorally Speaking.

So much news, so little time.

Obviously, we've had two budgets: The Federal one, which has a snowball's chance in (well, you know where) of passing...Or even making it to a vote before the Opposition bring forward a non-confidence motion.

And a provincial one, which I'm still combing through myself. Once I have a bit more time, I'll maybe do a nice little post on the provincial budget, but no promises.

And then we have Brad Wall's nice little scandal here in Saskatchewan over the Saskatchewan Party's $1,000 Enterprise Club.

For those who haven't heard, the Premier and a few other Sask Party MLAs (Cabinet Ministers too) were having private get togethers with members of their party who contributed $1,000 or more in donations. Wall and the others deny that any lobbying went on at these meetings, but the letters sent out to members and the actions of a few of those in attendance suggest otherwise.

All I'll say about it is this: Yes, politicians need to meet with their supporters and the general public at large. Yes, politicians have always thrown galas and meetings where supporters pay a bit of money and people get to hob-nob with the political powerhouses of the province.

The problem comes when: these meetings are kept secret; an insanely large amount of money changes hands and then is not declared properly to Elections Saskatchewan; and when the Premier is involved.

I think a Premier needs to be aware of what sort of situations they find themselves in; and I can't help but think that anyone would see the potential conflict of interest that exists in a private $1,000 a head meeting with party supporters. But, apparently, Brad Wall thought this was acceptable.

The fact of the matter is, Premier Wall only put a stop to this once it came to light. If the events that brought about the revelation of this 'Enterprise Group' didn't occur, chances are Wall and his buddies would still be throwing their meetings every couple of months and thinking there was nothing wrong with this.

Hopefully, the people of Saskatchewan get some answers about who attended these meetings and what was discussed there; either way, there's going to be some serious questions for Premier Wall, and I doubt he'll answer them willingly.

And as you should all be aware, the Federal Budget has come down and is likely to fall down along with the Harper Government by the end of this week.

The opposition, mainly the Liberals, have already put forward a non-confidence motion in the government and come Friday it seems likely that it will pass and the nation will be cast into an election.

In my last post, I spoke about how the Conservatives like to suggest that this election is unnecessary. And again, I will say, an election is never unnecessary. Any politician in a democracy who utters such a phrase needs to give their head a good shake, because they're questioning the very basis of our political system by making such a statement.

But on top of this, the finger pointing has begun.

The opposition parties are blaming the government; while the government is blaming the opposition.

So, who is really at fault?

Perhaps it's my own personal bias, but clearly the government is in fault. After all, they have been found in contempt of Parliament. And they have been found in contempt of Parliament because they have repeated run roughshod over the rules and procedures by refusing to release information to Members of Parliament that sit on the opposition side.

Furthermore, the government is refusing to accept any amendments to the budget.

And despite it all, Stephen Harper has the audacity to still say that opposition parties should be working with the government to make Parliament work.

Mr. Harper, to that I must say, in a minority parliament it is up to the government to reach out to the opposition to make Parliament work, and you have failed massively on that front. The opposition does indeed play a role in making Parliament work, but compromise is a two-way street; not the Harper Highway which suggests that it is our way or no way at all.

Despite this, some Canadians continue to believe that it is the opposition's fault that we shall be having an election. Again, elections are not a bad thing, and I don't understand why some people are so opposed to one occurring, but I've talked at length about this already...

When the truth of the matter is, that this election falls clearly at the feet of Stephen Harper, the Harper Government, and the Conservative Party of Canada.

It is their decisions, their actions, and their refusal to work with the opposition that is forcing an election. They can paint the opposition as turncoats, or obstructionists, all they want; but the truth is that this government has never been serious about working with the opposition.

Remember budgets past; when the Conservatives purposefully included 'poison pill' legislation, essentially daring the opposition to vote against the budget and bring the government down. And of course, the Liberals in a weakened state (having lost their backbone), passed these budgets, or at least kept enough members away from the vote to prevent the government's defeat.

Canadians need to wake up to the tactics Harper and his team are using, and we need to realize that we cannot afford another year of the Harper Government, and we cannot afford a Harper Majority.

The disdain and contempt that the Conservatives have shown for government, and its procedures, should be truth enough to show Canadians that we cannot trust Harper and his Conservative party with the reigns of power.

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