The Commons: Shovel-ready answers

John Baird is the government’s fast-talking expert of the day

The Scene. At each MP’s desk, a red box had been placed with a gift package of sporting equipment intended to celebrated the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. While he waited for Question Period to begin, Peter MacKay removed the swimming goggles, put them on his head, then put one of the socks on his nose. 

Class resuming after a week off, the mood was relatively light. The 15 minutes before Question Period included just one shouted denunciation of the Liberal leader. The Speaker advised that he would be looking into a report of unparliamentary language made before the break. Then Michael Ignatieff stood in an attempt to be serious.

“Mr. Speaker, the country is facing record unemployment, record bankruptcies, record hardship for small businesses, especially auto dealers,” he began, congratulating the government on its acheivements. “And still the stimulus is not flowing. It is nearly June. Cities and municipalities are still waiting for the infrastructure funding that was promised in the budget. The government has already missed the June construction season. Why has only six per cent of the stimulus gotten out of the door?”

The Human Resources Minister was in Oshawa, reannouncing something from January’s budget. The Finance Minister was in Quebec, warning that the wild guesses on which that budget was based now seem “substantially” off the mark. The Prime Minister was unaccounted for. So the day would belong to John Baird.

“Mr. Speaker, we are working co-operatively with provinces and municipalities,” the Transport Minister said. “We are getting the job done. That non-partisan work is really paying dividends.”

Having not said a single thing of any consequence, he proceeded to read into the record something Mr. Ignatieff had said that seemed to be only vaguely related.

Ignatieff tried again. “Mr. Speaker, still there is no answer to the question of why only six per cent of the stimulus has gone out on the 26th of May,” he said.

“Improving EI eligibility will put money in the hands of 150,000 Canadians and their families, people hardest hit during this crisis,” he continued, adding another matter to the queue. “That is effective, immediate and targeted stimulus, and it will get there before the honourable member’s infrastructure programs even begin to kick in. The government can do this without raising payroll taxes and it can do it without raising benefit levels or duration, so why will the government not make EI work?”

Back to Baird. “Mr. Speaker, our government is committed,” he said, “to doing absolutely everything we can to help Canadians who, through no fault of their own, find themselves unemployed.”

He reannounced Diane Finley’s reannouncement, then repeated allegations of a nefarious Liberal desire to raise taxes on the unemployed, destroy small businesses and eliminate jobs.

“Mr. Speaker, what the minister has just said is absolutely false from one end to another,” huffed Ignatieff, repeating his question in French.

Next it was John McCallum’s turn. What, the Liberal finance critic wondered, of the government’s purported 120-day deadline for emergency spending?

“Mr. Speaker,” repeated Baird, “we are working constructively with our municipal and provincial partners.”

Till then he had failed to rouse much cheer on his side, so the minister began now to talk faster, syllables running together in an unbroken stream of obfuscation.

“Moreinfrastructurespendingwillhavebeencompletedthisyearthaninanyyearinourhistory,” he said. “Itismoving10times-fasterthanunderanyotherLiberalgovernment. TheLiberalplanisonlytodigdeeper, toaskworking-familiestopaymoretaxes. Thatwillkilljobsandthatiswhythisgovernmentwillneverundertakethat-typeofrecklessplan.”

A few backbenchers stood to clap when he finished.

“Mr. Speaker, Canadians know what that answer means; 120 days and zero jobs created,” snapped McCallum. “What those days have delivered is an IMF report showing that the government is actually running a $120 billion deficit, not the $80 billion that it claims. This is confusing for Canadians. The Conservatives are promising money. They are not spending money, but the deficit is going through the roof.”

“The member should come clean with Canadians, unveil the Liberal plan to raise taxes so we can have an honest debate,” replied Baird, talking louder now and apparently without irony.

With the Bloc taking up the questions then, Baird handed off to National Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, the responders interchangeable when the responses are so rote.

Eventually Jack Layton stood to beg for clarity on the matter of employment insurance. Here, again, came Baird.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “the New Democratic Party came out against our budget before it was even presented in the House of Commons.”

The NDP leader tried again to gain clarity.

“Coalition!” cried Baird. “Socialist scheme!”

Layton moved on to pensions. Baird was the day’s expert on this too.

“Mr. Speaker, it is this government,” the minister observed, “not the NDP, that has brought forward a range of services and support to help seniors … I can say that this side of the House is committed to an economic action plan that will give more jobs, more hope and less taxes to Canadians, unlike the Liberal leader and his friend in the NDP.”

Brusque and unimpressed, Liberal Michael Savage rose next.

“Mr. Speaker,” he grumbled, “the only things in this House that are shovel ready are the answers from that minister.”

The Liberals jumped up to applaud. Across the way, Baird smiled, then stood too to clap and congratulate Savage on his effort.

The Stats. Employment, eight questions. The economy, six questions. Chalk River, four questions. Afghanistan and transportation, three questions each. Forestry, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Quebec, the auto industry and aboriginals, two questions each. Pensions and credit cards, one question each.

John Baird, 11 answers. Lawrence Cannon, six answers. Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Lisa Raitt, four answers each. Vic Toews, three answers. Ed Komarnicki, Josee Verner, Mike Lake and Chuck Strahl, two answers each. Denis Lebel and Peter MacKay, one answer each.

The Commons: Shovel-ready answers

  1. “Coalition!” cried Baird. “Socialist scheme!”

    I'm really hoping that was a joke.

  2. I love how Wherry quotes the opposition questions verbatim and presents them as though every questioner is a statesman, asking for the public good, without any partisan agenda. Every opposition question is sincere and altruistic, with government responses apparently beneath Mr. Wherry, as he only quotes part of each answer, while giving himself equal time to deride it.

    I give him marks for consistency though – it's the same bouquets for the opposition every day.

  3. Please inform us, Emisar, of what magnificent and public-spirited answers the Government provided.

  4. Aaron Wherry. He's the new Jason Cherniak.

  5. If you are not interested in a journalist's take on QP, I would suggest that you read the Hansard and draw your own conclusions. Aaron Wherry is just doing his job when he points out that the Emperor's new clothes are a crock and his ugly bits & pieces are hanging out in broad daylight. Freedom of the press is part of life in a democracy. Get used to it!

  6. Conbots have it so easy. The Government can never do anything wrong. If the Tories do something right and they hear about it, it's the freakish exception to the media's conspiracy of silence; if the Tories do something wrong and they hear about it, it's because the media are trying to damage the Government.

    Basically this sort of criticism is premised on the idea that Harper is Jesus Christ. It's called paranoia and it's a medical condition that can be overcome, but you have to want to get well.

  7. So it was the one man Baird show today? You got to give it to the man. He has an unwavering belief in his cause, logic be damned.

  8. Jack, you're cute. Are you really saying that if a Conservative leader had been out of the country for 34 years and referred to himself as American, the Liberals would have let it slide?

    The Liberals has girls rocking themselves in hospital emergency rooms, hand guns being pointed at the screen and going off, and threats of soldiers in our streets.

    What do you expect the Conservatives to do back? Play nice? It's politics.

  9. Thats exactly what occured to me as well.

  10. "Then Michael Ignatieff stood in an attempt to be serious.

    Mr. Speaker, the country is facing record unemployment, record bankruptcies, record hardship for small businesses, especially auto dealers,” he began, congratulating the government on its acheivements. “And still the stimulus is not flowing. It is nearly June."

    I was getting ready to make snarky comment about this but I clued into what you were saying. Very droll indeed.

  11. The Liberals has girls

    It could, of course, be argued that politicians and political parties should take the high road and focus on policy.

    But it's far easier to argue that your subject-verb agreement seems off.

  12. No, Jack is obviously not saying that – stop trying to deflect peoples gaze from your idiocy.

    Bob, in the midst of trying to win elections at all costs, and fighting for Conservative policies which are by and large proven not to be those of the majority of Canadians (nor to be wise) when will Conbots realise that they are actually harming the morale, reputation and future of this great country and its citizens?

  13. "May 25, 2009 at 7:34 pmReport AbuseI love how Wherry quotes the opposition questions verbatim and presents them as though every questioner is a statesman, asking for the public good, without any partisan agenda"

    So did I. The opposition parties seem like the only ones in Parliament who care about dealing with the issues facing ordinary Canadians in this recession.

  14. What the heck is a conbot ? I suppose if I had the maturity level of Mitchell I would call him a lying-lib but I won`t.

    By the way, Wherry`s posts are getting too Lib-Ridiculous even for him and the only reason I can think why he continues to go down that road is to satisfy his increasingly rabid following exemplified by Mitchell. So, I wonder if you could ask him to cool it—-he would listen to you.

    If I see one post from him that`s not an Iggy-blog or a Harper-bash I`ll know he`s seen the light.

  15. harming the morale, reputation and future of this great country and its citizens

    LOL, what a load of crud.

  16. Thanks Zilla

  17. The whole thing is getting sort of circular. Harper is pushing his fake stimulus that the Liberals claim is not being actually spent while complaining about a growing deficit which will need to be corrected by tax raises that Harper accuses the Liberals of planning….

    The Liberals don't really believe their questions and the Tories don't believe their answers. The whole thing is bonkers.

  18. I agree with your post, William. What I can't understand is why he is employed by Maclean's. Most liberal bloggers are not paid for their efforts (I don't think so in any case). But here we have a Liberal blogger being paid by Canada's national magazine. He is not a reporter… he is a blogger. Let him blog on his own dime.

  19. I guess the silence is the answer. Either that or it takes a lot longer for John Howard to fax in the talking points these days…

  20. Go read Taylor. He'll appeal to that tinfoil hat fashion you wear…

  21. Well nailed, Bill.

  22. “Coalition!” cried Baird. “Socialist scheme!”
    I’m really hoping that was a joke.

  23. Classy bit from Baird at the end, showing his appreciation of Savage's truly funny line. It almost makes up for his"Coalition! Socialist scheme" nonsense in the middle.

  24. I wonder, if we gave them a 10% voter turnout at the next election, would it even faze these clowns?

    Bill may be right, politics in this country is in serious need of therapy.

  25. What is a conbot? Question asked – answer provided.

  26. I love how Wherry quotes the opposition questions verbatim and presents them as though every questioner is a statesman, asking for the public good, without any partisan agenda. Every opposition question is sincere and altruistic, with government responses apparently beneath Mr. Wherry, as he only quotes part of each answer, while giving himself equal time to deride it.

    I give him marks for consistency though – it’s the same bouquets for the opposition every day.

    • Please inform us, Emisar, of what magnificent and public-spirited answers the Government provided.

      • I guess the silence is the answer. Either that or it takes a lot longer for John Howard to fax in the talking points these days…

    • If you are not interested in a journalist’s take on QP, I would suggest that you read the Hansard and draw your own conclusions. Aaron Wherry is just doing his job when he points out that the Emperor’s new clothes are a crock and his ugly bits & pieces are hanging out in broad daylight. Freedom of the press is part of life in a democracy. Get used to it!

    • “May 25, 2009 at 7:34 pmReport AbuseI love how Wherry quotes the opposition questions verbatim and presents them as though every questioner is a statesman, asking for the public good, without any partisan agenda”

      So did I. The opposition parties seem like the only ones in Parliament who care about dealing with the issues facing ordinary Canadians in this recession.

    • Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like most media types Wherry likes to predetermine heroes and villians. We know it isn’t the Conservatives who are the heroes in Wherry’s mind.

  27. Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Like most media types Wherry likes to predetermine heroes and villians. We know it isn't the Conservatives who are the heroes in Wherry's mind.

  28. Jack…it is you who is full of paranoia and meaningless comments. Have at it though. It is still a free country.

  29. Show us Liberal policies that can be debated. Anything the Count has said to date he has taken back within 48 hours. Shall we call him the absent minded professor?

  30. Well argue then that any of those three things are not being harmed by the Conservatives and the level they have taken our politics to.

    And I think it takes this kind of statement to make a paid Conbot who happily toils away on newpsaper and blog sites to stop and reflect for a second. – before gearing up a notch i imagine.

    I know your no Conbot (I'm sick of the term too) but please stick to the occasionally thoughtful baby who has far too much time on its hands and still manages to come off as miserable and snooty most of the time.

  31. You really don't know what you are talking about. Iggy has been de facto leader since December. Polls show Canadians are watching him but might I suggest if as you say he is harming the morale and future of this country why are Canadians not clammering for an election? Why do the polls show the parties virtually tied with the government trying to deal with the worst recession in Canadian history. Inquiring minds want to know.

  32. Right, Canadians aren't clammering for an election, but they are clammering for politicians to behave like adults. Inquiring minds would like to know why this govt persistently acts as though -they- are in fact the opposition? We currently have nothing but opposition parties in our HoC"s.

  33. I don`t get it——–your comment seems meaningless.

  34. The argot: "conbot" = "internet cheerleader for CPC"; "libbot" = "internet cheerleader for LPC." I don't actually know what the NDP equivalent is.

    What do you mean, "rabid," "maturity level," etc.? I'm rarely on the warpath and when I am I'm not partisan. Cheap shots are something else.

  35. Canadians are not clamoring for an election because they have been turned off politics….I wonder why. The reason the polls are so close I would imagine is because most people are set with their votes between elections – if their not trying to wade through the crap. A bigger issue arises on the news that catches their eye, and the votes adjust slightly. An election comes around and Canadians are sick of being misdirected from the big picture by puffins, screams of "socialist scheme!", and espresso – we have an opposition of Cons ripping apart from their Reform roots.

    And just how is the government "trying" to deal with the worst recession in Canadian history? Inquiring minds want to know. By batting back the rising tide of Canadian opposition on the hill with millions of Conbot bucks on TV? By hiding truths to Canadians, like realistic budget projections on budget day (see todays news), or of nearing issues (like that recession that Harper informed us we would have already had), or do you really think he wanted to take action on the recession and is not just hiding the fact that he believes we shouldnt?

  36. Aaron Wherry. He’s the new Jason Cherniak.

    • Conbots have it so easy. The Government can never do anything wrong. If the Tories do something right and they hear about it, it’s the freakish exception to the media’s conspiracy of silence; if the Tories do something wrong and they hear about it, it’s because the media are trying to damage the Government.

      Basically this sort of criticism is premised on the idea that Harper is Jesus Christ. It’s called paranoia and it’s a medical condition that can be overcome, but you have to want to get well.

      • What the heck is a conbot ? I suppose if I had the maturity level of Mitchell I would call him a lying-lib but I won`t.

        By the way, Wherry`s posts are getting too Lib-Ridiculous even for him and the only reason I can think why he continues to go down that road is to satisfy his increasingly rabid following exemplified by Mitchell. So, I wonder if you could ask him to cool it—-he would listen to you.
        If I see one post from him that`s not an Iggy-blog or a Harper-bash I`ll know he`s seen the light.

        • What is a conbot? Question asked – answer provided.

          • I don`t get it——–your comment seems meaningless.

          • The argot: “conbot” = “internet cheerleader for CPC”; “libbot” = “internet cheerleader for LPC.” I don’t actually know what the NDP equivalent is.

            What do you mean, “rabid,” “maturity level,” etc.? I’m rarely on the warpath and when I am I’m not partisan. Cheap shots are something else.

      • Jack…it is you who is full of paranoia and meaningless comments. Have at it though. It is still a free country.

    • Thats exactly what occured to me as well.

      • Thanks Zilla

        • I agree with your post, William. What I can’t understand is why he is employed by Maclean’s. Most liberal bloggers are not paid for their efforts (I don’t think so in any case). But here we have a Liberal blogger being paid by Canada’s national magazine. He is not a reporter… he is a blogger. Let him blog on his own dime.

          • Go read Taylor. He’ll appeal to that tinfoil hat fashion you wear…

  37. So it was the one man Baird show today? You got to give it to the man. He has an unwavering belief in his cause, logic be damned.

  38. The budget was passed only weeks ago, so the earliest the civil service can release any funds would be summer if the system works at record speed and Parliament signs off on it before they hit the BBQ circuit.

    The 6% Iggy mentioned represents the $3 billion Harper needed to prime the pump in the mean time, the "slush fund" Iggy threatened to deny but later voted for.

    Question Period is all theatre.

  39. Jack, you’re cute. Are you really saying that if a Conservative leader had been out of the country for 34 years and referred to himself as American, the Liberals would have let it slide?

    The Liberals has girls rocking themselves in hospital emergency rooms, hand guns being pointed at the screen and going off, and threats of soldiers in our streets.

    What do you expect the Conservatives to do back? Play nice? It’s politics.

    • The Liberals has girls
      It could, of course, be argued that politicians and political parties should take the high road and focus on policy.
      But it’s far easier to argue that your subject-verb agreement seems off.

      • Show us Liberal policies that can be debated. Anything the Count has said to date he has taken back within 48 hours. Shall we call him the absent minded professor?

    • No, Jack is obviously not saying that – stop trying to deflect peoples gaze from your idiocy.

      Bob, in the midst of trying to win elections at all costs, and fighting for Conservative policies which are by and large proven not to be those of the majority of Canadians (nor to be wise) when will Conbots realise that they are actually harming the morale, reputation and future of this great country and its citizens?

      • harming the morale, reputation and future of this great country and its citizens

        LOL, what a load of crud.

        • Well argue then that any of those three things are not being harmed by the Conservatives and the level they have taken our politics to.

          And I think it takes this kind of statement to make a paid Conbot who happily toils away on newpsaper and blog sites to stop and reflect for a second. – before gearing up a notch i imagine.

          I know your no Conbot (I’m sick of the term too) but please stick to the occasionally thoughtful baby who has far too much time on its hands and still manages to come off as miserable and snooty most of the time.

      • You really don’t know what you are talking about. Iggy has been de facto leader since December. Polls show Canadians are watching him but might I suggest if as you say he is harming the morale and future of this country why are Canadians not clammering for an election? Why do the polls show the parties virtually tied with the government trying to deal with the worst recession in Canadian history. Inquiring minds want to know.

        • Right, Canadians aren’t clammering for an election, but they are clammering for politicians to behave like adults. Inquiring minds would like to know why this govt persistently acts as though -they- are in fact the opposition? We currently have nothing but opposition parties in our HoC”s.

          • It is really people like us who follow politics that are interested in the ins and outs of what is happening daily. Most Canadians could care less what politicians do on a daily basis. They want them to manage the country, keep out of their lives and keep their taxes low.

            This stuff about childish behaviour, Harper is a bully, mean spirited and all that crap is media driven and of course picked up by partisans like us. However, in the scheme of things like I say seriously ordinary Canadians are busy living their lives, working hard to pay the bills and raising their families.

            What are you talking about this government is acting like they are in opposition. They are managing the economy, making decisions everyday. It is pure spin that line of attack and doesn’t make a lot of sense when you really think about it.

            The problem is the Liberals don’t believe that the government can walk and chew gum at the same time because they are so focused on regaining power and will say or do anything. The fact is it is the Conservative party that is running the ads. It is the Conservative party that is paying for those ads from their own funds provided by thousands of small donors. It is not the government.

        • Canadians are not clamoring for an election because they have been turned off politics….I wonder why. The reason the polls are so close I would imagine is because most people are set with their votes between elections – if their not trying to wade through the crap. A bigger issue arises on the news that catches their eye, and the votes adjust slightly. An election comes around and Canadians are sick of being misdirected from the big picture by puffins, screams of “socialist scheme!”, and espresso – we have an opposition of Cons ripping apart from their Reform roots.

          And just how is the government “trying” to deal with the worst recession in Canadian history? Inquiring minds want to know. By batting back the rising tide of Canadian opposition on the hill with millions of Conbot bucks on TV? By hiding truths to Canadians, like realistic budget projections on budget day (see todays news), or of nearing issues (like that recession that Harper informed us we would have already had), or do you really think he wanted to take action on the recession and is not just hiding the fact that he believes we shouldnt?

          • Campaigns do make a difference and they cause people to focus a little more but the fact is they are either supporters of one party or the other and it takes a lot for them to move that vote when an election happens.

            In the time before the writ is dropped most people could care less about politics. Polls are polls and really don’t mean much. They are becoming less relevant as technology takes hold and people no longer have land lines but cell phones etc. So results can be less reliable.

            Canadians are being misdirected from the big picture?. You shold ask the media in this country why Canadians are being misdirected from the big picture. No real discussion about policy. Just the horse race. Who is winning and who is losing. How many news stories were had about the pooping puffin. It was day after day. However, what the media doesn’t get that by talking about this silly thing they caused people to focus on it and reinforced their view of Dion. It also took away time from serious discussion about the issues.

            The media simply reports what a politician says and does nothing to verify whether what they are saying is factual or is it just pure spin. It happens every day. News reports are filled with editorial comment; subtle but its still there trying to lead the reader or viewer to a certain conclusion. Issue a press release and it is sure to get reported verbatim by the media. No thought needed.

            As for the ads the Conservatives learned from the masters; the Liberal Party of Canada. If you like I can remind you of the negative ads against Harper since he became leader of the Alliance and the Conservative party and the ads run by the Paul Martin crew in the 2006 election. Let’s not get too high and mighty.

            Once again you want to spin the line abut the budget. The government makes their predicitions based on private sector economic forecasts and the best information they have at the time. Remember the buget, because of opposition demands, was presented in Jan. when it is normally done in March. Things have changed considerably. However, it doesn’t really matter because everybody wants the government to spend, spend, spend. So the deficit will end up what it ends up at.

            The fact is nobody and I mean nobody can predict with the current economic times what is going to happen with their budgets. Look what is happening in the States today as we speak. Trillions of dollars in deficit and there is no stopping it. By the way there were defenders of the government on the news today and I didn’t hear much criticism given the difficulty with the world economy. By the way it was Flaherty who said the deficit was going to be much bigger than planned.

            Once again you are being disingenuous when you talk about the recession. Harper said in year end intereviews that 2008 was going to be a more difficult year. However, he nor anybody else could have predicted the sub prime and ultimate financial collapse that took place and affected the world within a very short period of time. You should try to put some balance in your comments instead of trying to put what do you call them Libbot points across.

            I don’t know what you mean about hiding anything. I would suggest that Harper recognizes the recession is here and is hurting the country big time. That’s why the forecast for a $34 billion deficit this year going to $84 billion in five years. That’s to help Canadians and the country to cope with the fallout. There is nothing hidden.

            If you ar talking about how slow the stimulus money is flowing. As a taxpayer I don’t want the government to stand at the top of the TD Centre in Toronto and throw money into the wind. Spending needs to be thoughtful with normal safeguards from waste and mismanagment.

  40. “Then Michael Ignatieff stood in an attempt to be serious.

    Mr. Speaker, the country is facing record unemployment, record bankruptcies, record hardship for small businesses, especially auto dealers,” he began, congratulating the government on its acheivements. “And still the stimulus is not flowing. It is nearly June.”

    I was getting ready to make snarky comment about this but I clued into what you were saying. Very droll indeed.

  41. The whole thing is getting sort of circular. Harper is pushing his fake stimulus that the Liberals claim is not being actually spent while complaining about a growing deficit which will need to be corrected by tax raises that Harper accuses the Liberals of planning….

    The Liberals don’t really believe their questions and the Tories don’t believe their answers. The whole thing is bonkers.

    • Well nailed, Bill.

    • I wonder, if we gave them a 10% voter turnout at the next election, would it even faze these clowns?
      Bill may be right, politics in this country is in serious need of therapy.

  42. Classy bit from Baird at the end, showing his appreciation of Savage’s truly funny line. It almost makes up for his”Coalition! Socialist scheme” nonsense in the middle.

  43. Mr. Wherry…

    Gimme a break. Since you publish at Macleans, I have to assume you consider yourself a journalist.

    Puhleez. Do us all a favour and re-read your article/post, replacing "Liberal" (small or large L) with "Conservative" (small or large C) and vice versa, Harper and Ignatief the same, then ask yourself you would have hit the "print" or "send" or "publish" or whatever button you push, 3 years ago.

    I bet not.

  44. The budget was passed only weeks ago, so the earliest the civil service can release any funds would be summer if the system works at record speed and Parliament signs off on it before they hit the BBQ circuit.
    The 6% Iggy mentioned represents the $3 billion Harper needed to prime the pump in the mean time, the “slush fund” Iggy threatened to deny but later voted for.

    Question Period is all theatre.

    • Mr. Wherry…

      Gimme a break. Since you publish at Macleans, I have to assume you consider yourself a journalist.

      Puhleez. Do us all a favour and re-read your article/post, replacing “Liberal” (small or large L) with “Conservative” (small or large C) and vice versa, Harper and Ignatief the same, then ask yourself you would have hit the “print” or “send” or “publish” or whatever button you push, 3 years ago.

      I bet not.

  45. It is really people like us who follow politics that are interested in the ins and outs of what is happening daily. Most Canadians could care less what politicians do on a daily basis. They want them to manage the country, keep out of their lives and keep their taxes low.

    This stuff about childish behaviour, Harper is a bully, mean spirited and all that crap is media driven and of course picked up by partisans like us. However, in the scheme of things like I say seriously ordinary Canadians are busy living their lives, working hard to pay the bills and raising their families.

    What are you talking about this government is acting like they are in opposition. They are managing the economy, making decisions everyday. It is pure spin that line of attack and doesn't make a lot of sense when you really think about it.

    The problem is the Liberals don't believe that the government can walk and chew gum at the same time because they are so focused on regaining power and will say or do anything. The fact is it is the Conservative party that is running the ads. It is the Conservative party that is paying for those ads from their own funds provided by thousands of small donors. It is not the government.

  46. Campaigns do make a difference and they cause people to focus a little more but the fact is they are either supporters of one party or the other and it takes a lot for them to move that vote when an election happens.

    In the time before the writ is dropped most people could care less about politics. Polls are polls and really don't mean much. They are becoming less relevant as technology takes hold and people no longer have land lines but cell phones etc. So results can be less reliable.

    Canadians are being misdirected from the big picture?. You shold ask the media in this country why Canadians are being misdirected from the big picture. No real discussion about policy. Just the horse race. Who is winning and who is losing. How many news stories were had about the pooping puffin. It was day after day. However, what the media doesn't get that by talking about this silly thing they caused people to focus on it and reinforced their view of Dion. It also took away time from serious discussion about the issues.

    The media simply reports what a politician says and does nothing to verify whether what they are saying is factual or is it just pure spin. It happens every day. News reports are filled with editorial comment; subtle but its still there trying to lead the reader or viewer to a certain conclusion. Issue a press release and it is sure to get reported verbatim by the media. No thought needed.

    As for the ads the Conservatives learned from the masters; the Liberal Party of Canada. If you like I can remind you of the negative ads against Harper since he became leader of the Alliance and the Conservative party and the ads run by the Paul Martin crew in the 2006 election. Let's not get too high and mighty.

    Once again you want to spin the line abut the budget. The government makes their predicitions based on private sector economic forecasts and the best information they have at the time. Remember the buget, because of opposition demands, was presented in Jan. when it is normally done in March. Things have changed considerably. However, it doesn't really matter because everybody wants the government to spend, spend, spend. So the deficit will end up what it ends up at.

    The fact is nobody and I mean nobody can predict with the current economic times what is going to happen with their budgets. Look what is happening in the States today as we speak. Trillions of dollars in deficit and there is no stopping it. By the way there were defenders of the government on the news today and I didn't hear much criticism given the difficulty with the world economy. By the way it was Flaherty who said the deficit was going to be much bigger than planned.

    Once again you are being disingenuous when you talk about the recession. Harper said in year end intereviews that 2008 was going to be a more difficult year. However, he nor anybody else could have predicted the sub prime and ultimate financial collapse that took place and affected the world within a very short period of time. You should try to put some balance in your comments instead of trying to put what do you call them Libbot points across.

    I don't know what you mean about hiding anything. I would suggest that Harper recognizes the recession is here and is hurting the country big time. That's why the forecast for a $34 billion deficit this year going to $84 billion in five years. That's to help Canadians and the country to cope with the fallout. There is nothing hidden.

    If you ar talking about how slow the stimulus money is flowing. As a taxpayer I don't want the government to stand at the top of the TD Centre in Toronto and throw money into the wind. Spending needs to be thoughtful with normal safeguards from waste and mismanagment.

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