Tuesday, May 31, 2005

If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em

Week before last, the Liberal government almost fell. All parties were in election mode. We were on the edge of our seats. As a political aficionado, I found it fascinating to watch the Liberal party during this time. Paul Martin was a sight to behold as he effortlessly glided across our nation giving handfuls of our money to anyone who asked. He reminded me of a drunken sailor in the red light district at Mardi Gras. But with a little more class. Just a little more.

And, as much as it really irks me to see my hard earned tax dollars being used by the Liberal party to grease the palms of voters, I can’t help but feel a certain measure of grudging admiration. Lets face it, they’ve got it down pat. Nobody plays payoff poker better than them. That’s why they are the natural governing party of Canada.

So, I’ve been thinking: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. There will be an election someday, sooner better than later I think. And if the Conservatives are to win that election, they have to just suck it up and get with the game. In other words, they must promise to pay Canadians a shed-load of moola, just like the Liberals do. After all, it must be clear to everyone by now that Canadians expect to be bought off with their own money. We are accustomed to selling our vote to the highest bidder. With that in mind, I would like to offer Mr. Harper a sure fire way to win the election.

Here’s the TV commercial that will seal the Liberal’s fate:

Sixty seconds

Stephen Harper is sitting on the edge of his desk, a Canadian flag hangs behind him on a pole. The walls are lined with books. His hands are clasped in his lap. He looks straight into the camera and says:

“I’m Stephen Harper, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.

"It’s time to move ahead. Away from the corruption, and arrogance of the Liberal party and into a new era of honesty, integrity and good government.

"Your Liberal Prime Minister, Paul Martin has been traveling across Canada buying your votes. So far he has made promises amounting to more than - Fill in an obscene amount here. And we all know where most of the money will end up, if he pays that is, in the pockets of Liberal party members and supporters.

"Well, we have a better idea. We'll give the money directly to you.

"If, my party, the Conservative Party of Canada wins a majority government, we will send every tax paying Canadian a personal cheque for one thousand dollars. We can do this and still be giving away less in total than the Liberals are promising.

"One thousand dollars in cash. It's doable and it's my promise to you.

Fade to Conservative Logo. Voiceover: “This message brought to you by the Conservative party of Canada"

Well, that’s it. A gilded stake thrust through the black heart of the Liberal vampire. I offer it to the Conservatives for free. Of course, it would cost around $22 billion to give every tax filer $1000. Hey, wait a minute, isn't that the total amount that Martin already promised during the recent faux election campaign? Gee, that works out pretty well, doesn’t it?

Laugh if you want. (I'm sort of smiling myself) But, before you dismiss this idea out of hand, I ask you to consider this:

First and foremost, there's the issue of integrity. That is to say, the absence of integrity in today's political environment. Let's face it, people don't want integrity, they want goodies. They love getting money from the government. In fact, they expect it. So, while many Canadians may at first feel offended at the idea of a government offering $1000 for their vote, we should never doubt one thing: greed will always triumph over self-righteousness. Expecting goodies from government is almost a constitutional right here in Canada.

Sure, the Toronto Star and CBC will bemoan the depths of cynicism to which the Conservatives have sunk. And many people will tell their friends that their vote is not for sale. They will hold their heads high and proud as they march into the voting booth. Then, in private, they will quietly mark an X beside the Conservative candidate’s name and spend the rest of the night secretly thinking about what they will do with the $1000. And when the conservative in their riding wins, they will throw up their hands in faux disbelief and claim that they didn’t vote for her/him.

And then there's the little matter of honesty. Buying people off at election time is nothing new in Canada. We already live in a society where government pays for votes. We all know it, we're just too self-deluding to call it what it is. In weeks leading up to the recent Stronach-scuttled election, Paul Martin made approximately $22 billion in promises in the hopes that those who benefit from the promises will vote for his party. If that’s not buying votes, I don’t know what is.

It seems to me that paying people directly would be a much more honest way of doing things. Instead of sneaking around like a Liberal weasel, slipping money in people's back pockets, why not just give them the money right out in the open, above board. If anything, this approach simply takes the corrupt, old school “wink, wink – nudge, nudge” vote buying process and opens it up completely to public scrutiny. It gives Canadians something they never had before in an election campaign - transparency, honesty and forthrightness. Most notably, it is a completely non partisan initiative. Everyone gets the money whether they vote for the Conservatives or not. That way, all Canadians benefit from the program, not just friends of the Liberal party.

Finally, this really IS doable. The cheques could be sent out by the Canadian tax authorities when they process each Canadian's tax return. And it IS affordable. It can be offered as an alternative to tax cuts, with the promise of cuts put off until later, maybe the next election. And we mustn't forget, the Liberals waste untold billions of dollars a year on ill-founded, selfishly motivated, programs and initiatives. Billions sent to arms-length foundations that cannot be audited by our Auditor General. Billions lost on the Gun Registry, HRDC and Sponsorship fiascos. $Billions upon $billions upon $billions given in grants and handouts to thousands of Liberal supporters, community groups, special interests, unions, companies and other grasping, groping Canadians all across Canada. The list is endless. I was turned on to this 'Public Accounts of Canada' report on Andrew Coyne’s blog. The extent of this vast nationwide network of Liberal beneficiaries is positively obscene. I'm not kidding. Here’s the link:


If Mr. Harper has the guts to take this on, we could stop funding this vast, nation-wide, web of liberal dependants and just give the money directly to Canadians. A thousand dollars for each of us would be a good start. When you think about it, it's really just a down payment. God knows, the Liberals have stolen a lot more than that from us.


Blogger Linda said...

Well, I remember getting $200 from Mike Harris's government when I lived in Ottawa -- a lovely meal was enjoyed by all!

12:12 AM  
Blogger Candace said...

I'd love to be all high & mighty and call you out for that. But I'd rather have $1,000 in my jeans ;-)

11:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home