Sunday, February 19, 2006

Harper's Plans

I won’t be blogging much in the next few weeks. However, I highly recommend this Toronto Star article on Harper’s long-term vision. Author Sean Gordon argues that Harper and his team are smart and have a long term goal of moving Canada to the right.

For example he notes: Lost in all the sturm und drang surrounding Harper's cabinet choices — and in particular those of Liberal turncoat David Emerson and the unelected Michael Fortier — was the appointment of five ministers in key portfolios, all of whom have impeccable right-wing credentials.

However, the one thing most likely to undermine them is not discussed. This government was elected at the height of a recovery. The impact of recession on them politically, hard enough on any government, would be devastating.

And this outfit still has the illusion that Mike Harris and his tax-cutting, privatization and deregulation agenda produced prosperity for Ontario in the late nineties. They are wilfully oblivious to the impact of American growth, in part because it came about under Bill Clinton, and followed a tax hiking budget on his part in 1993, which, if it did not create the recovery (there is debate about this), at least did not prevent it. At the time the Republicans predicted economic disaster as a consequence of tax increases.

The one lasting impact of the Harris agenda is a tax regime in Canada that makes it difficult to fund social programs. Thus we have infrastructure, education and other social deficits, that it will be difficult for an ideologically hamstrung government like Harper’s to do anything about.

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