The Commons: Holier than thou (as long as thou is Greece)

Aaron Wherry sums up Question Period

by Aaron Wherry

The Scene. Peggy Nash had asked why the Prime Minister wouldn’t be in Halifax on Friday to meet with the premiers—”Since the Prime Minister is rarely here on Friday…”—and Jim Flaherty had duly enumerated all of the conversations the Prime Minister has had with the premiers these last seven years and now Ms. Nash was apparently done playing nice.

“Mr. Speaker, the fact is the premiers of this country are getting together to discuss, among other things, the economy, but the Prime Minister is refusing to join them,” she prefaced. “According to the IMF, we will have fallen behind the U.S. in growth by 2015. Greece’s economy is expected to grow faster than ours.”

The Conservatives across the way burst into laughter. The Speaker was obliged to call for order.

The New Democrats happily point to some numbers in this regard—specifically the International Monetary Fund’s projections that in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Greece’s economic growth will surpass that of this country. Of course, before that, Greece’s economy will have plummeted for two years (and then, having reached the bottom of the gorge like Wile E. Coyote, just sort of laid there motionless for a year).

With order more or less restored, the Speaker returned the floor to Ms. Nash. “Mr. Speaker, addressing serious problems means engaging in serious discussion,” she ventured. “It means give and take. Co-operative federalism means listening to ideas that are not necessarily one’s own. Why is the Prime Minister refusing to go and meet with the premiers?”

The Finance Minister was eager to have more fun with this. “Mr. Speaker, now we know where the opposition sets the bar for its fiscal performance. It is to try to catch up with Greece,” he quipped. “We aim higher on this side of the House.”

Not much higher, mind you. Just higher than Greece.

Indeed, therein apparently is the choice between what this country has now and what would befall this country if Thomas Mulcair—whose beard is obviously inspired by ancient Greece—were ever to gain power.

“It is absolutely essential that we understand how fraught with danger it would be for Canada to go down the path that Greece, Portugal and other jurisdictions with high taxes, high debt loads and loss of competitive position have gone,” Chris Alexander informed the House earlier fall. “However, that is exactly what the member for Outremont is proposing with his $21.5 billion carbon tax.”

On this day, Mr. Flaherty opted for a slightly less harrowing comparison. “We are a leading economy in the G7, which is acknowledged throughout industrialized societies,” he offered, using a comparison that helpfully renders moot the inconvenient likes of Australia (which has a carbon tax). “We are looking forward to the economic growth that we have in Canada and in the United States, being aware always of the turbulence that is out there in the U.S. and in Europe.”

For its sins of cursing the world with this democracy, so is Greece now the nightmare by which all realities are measured.

The Stats. Ethics, seven questions. Crime, six questions. Foreign investment, five questions. Foreign affairs, government spending and infrastructure, three questions each. Sri Lanka, the economy, the environment and aboriginal affairs, two questions each. Temporary foreign workers, food safety, foreign aid and natural resources, one question each.

Stephen Harper, eight responses. Pierre Poilievre, seven responses. Christian Paradis and Rob Nicholson, three responses each. Jim Flaherty, Vic Toews, John Baird, Peter Kent, Jason Kenney and John Duncan, two responses each. Diane Finley, Leona Aglukkaq, Diane Ablonczy, Tony Clement, Julian Fantino and Joe Oliver, one response each.




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The Commons: Holier than thou (as long as thou is Greece)

  1. Greece is what….5000 years old?

    Been through boom and bust many times, trading world wide, numerous wars, done a lot of inventing, everything from democracy to the Antikythera mechanism……and yet some distant 145 year old colony that can’t even hold itself together thinks laughter is appropriate?

    • Damn right ,we laugh at greece and we laugh at you.

      • Well that’s because you’re the Party of Stupid.

        Just like the Repubs in the US.

        High school stuff.

  2. Today’s QP was almost embarrassing to watch…HoC has become a playground to zing the opposition, laugh, scream, interrupt, accuse and everything else in between…

    • What did everyone think of that Frank/Frankly exchange? Funny and amusing or disgraceful democracy at work? I was hoping Aaron would address this

  3. “It is absolutely essential that we understand how fraught with danger it would be for Canada to go down the path that Greece, Portugal and other jurisdictions with high taxes, high debt loads and loss of competitive position have gone,”

    Actually Greece and Portugal are *low* tax countries. Of the 6 bankrupt developed countries (over 100% debt,) 5 of them are low tax (ranking in the top ten of 31 High Income OECD countries):

    Japan #4, Greece #8, Portugal #10, Ireland #4, the US #1.

    The Harper Government is following the US down the same path of fiscal ruin with reckless tax cuts. It has cut taxes by $44.4B/yr so far (according to its 2009 budget.) These tax cuts never “pay for themselves” they just create debt.

    Also under Harper our competitive position has collapsed. We have lost 500,000 good-paying export-related jobs, $20B trade surpluses have turned to $50B trade deficits, and productivity growth has been it’s lowest in recorded history.

    Clearly the Harper Conservatives are the real danger to our economy.

    • BTW, Canada ranks #9 in tax revenues and #23 in social spending.

      All the bankrupt US PIIGS had big trade (current account) deficits before their debt crises hit. This is something Canadians should be worried about. According to the “twin deficits” theory, big budget deficits follow big trade deficits.

    • Clearly you have a unique grip on the global economy.

      Yes, the Harper government is driving Canadians out of the country.
      Young men are lined up in the harbour of Halifax just looking for a boat to Portugal—gotta get to Portugal.
      Pearson Airport is full of young Canadians looking to emigrate to Ireland or Greece—-they are obviously desperate to benefit from the tax and spend policies of these Utopias .
      I`m sure a man of your perception has already packed your bags. Be sure to write, now.

      • That’s a lovely straw man you’ve built there. Does burning it down warm your cold, empty life?

        • Like the NDP front bench Waller obviously believes that the countries that I mentioned are in an envious position compared to Canada. I was merely complimenting him on his wisdom and wishing him good luck on his emigration.
          What`s your problem.

          • This statement is chalk full of ignorance. For one, I’m a non-partisan centrist who supports the Keynesian economic system (we used in the post-war era.) Two, I certainly never claimed Greece was in an envious position. Three, I’m merely pointing out the facts that Harper has squandered the economic advantage left him from the previous Liberal government.

            I think Conservatives like Harper should just move to the US instead of trying to turn Canada into the country. It would be much easier with much greater odds of success…

            “Much of the country’s resilience stems from policies—such as bank regulation and sound public finances—which predate Mr Harper. ” (The Economist 2010)

            Harper on America and Republicans: “Your country and particularly your conservative movement, is a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world.”

      • “Pearson Airport is full of young Canadians looking to emigrate to Ireland or Greece—-they are obviously desperate to benefit from the tax and spend policies of these Utopias.”

        This certainly adds weight to my theory that when Conservatives are not ignorant of the facts, they are either ignoring them or waging a war against them…

        I already pointed out that bankrupt developed countries like Ireland and Greece are LOW TAX countries.

        Here are some more facts to ignore (showing these countries are far from socialist “utopias”.)

        Public social spending rank (among 31 High Income OECD countries):

        Japan #20, Greece #12, Portugal #10, Ireland #24, US #25

        Inequality gap (Gini Index):

        Japan #1, Greece #18, Portugal #28, Ireland #18, US #30

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