In its length, in its cost and in its debate schedule, this election is unusual. The first and possibly only real debate of the campaign ended and here are the highlights of what happened.
Conservative Finance Minister Joe Oliver delivered his first surplus budget to paint a rosy picture for the upcoming election. With a $1.4 billion surplus this year, and steadily growing over the next four, there is now room for new spending programs – or so it seems. The Conservatives have managed to create a budgetary illusion and with balanced budget legislation to take place in addition, it is time we look closer at the numbers. The surplus looks great on paper, but just how great is it?
The new year will be an election year, that may oddly enough, mirror the past. Prime Minister Stephen Harper can only look back to the glory days in 2006 as he fights for his political life after throwing his Reform principles under the bus upon creating the new Conservative Party that will have been in power for nine years come May.
The business audience Prime Minister Stephen Harper was talking to in New York wasn’t the only thing that was lacking. He has failed to act on his harsh words during the Ukraine crisis and he has lied about Canada’s involvement in Iraq. It is clear Harper has not only lost credibility at home, but more disturbingly, abroad.
The Transportation Safety Board has released its long-awaited report Tuesday determining the cause and necessary response to the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic that took 47 lives in a fiery explosion. The report found that of 18 factors that lead to the disaster, “no one individual, a single action or a single factor” was responsible for the disaster but didn’t shy away from criticizing Transport Canada’s lack of oversight and enforcement of safety regulations.
The Harper government is being praised for its extra $3.5 billion investment in international maternal health but a UN report finds aboriginal communities are in a state of crisis. As if this wasn’t bad enough, the Harper government has dedicated an extra $4 million in advertising veterans programs that they can’t be bothered to fund – leading to the wife of a veteran with PTSD’s plea, “we’re nothing to you.”
Who said Canadian politics is boring? This year has been a news-maker filled with controversy and action. From the battle that wages over the economy to the one being waged in the senate, Canadian political junkies had ample opportunities to gather popcorn or join the discussion over the issues that matter to them.
Canada’s armed forces are being suffocated by bureaucracy and cutbacks in the equipment and training they need. The Conservatives claim to be there for our military but former officials will tell you otherwise.
There is no more telling scene of mismanagement than Canada Post, a crown corporation that has been mismanaging its funds, funneling it to its management’s entitled salaries. Its CEO, Deepak Chopra, is paid between $440,900 and $518,600 to decide that seniors want the exercise his new community mailbox plan entails. A crown corporation now expected to be going deeper in the red every year has one place to cut: the top.