Ignatieff's shrinking ambition - Macleans.ca

Ignatieff’s shrinking ambition

WELLS: The Liberals find a hope of beating Harper. But will it work?



Ignatieff's shrinking ambition

Chris Wattie/Reuters


“Have you seen our home care package? It’s being unveiled as we speak,” a Liberal party guy told me outside a Starbucks in downtown Ottawa. He showed me his BlackBerry, which was displaying something official-looking. “Focus groups are jumping up and down over this.”

That wasn’t hard to believe. That morning in Gatineau, Michael Ignatieff had announced a $1-billion program to help people care for aging relatives at home. More and more of us have aging relatives, so the Liberal plan addresses a real concern. The Liberal plan would use Employment Insurance to give caregivers half a year off work with modest pay. That’s the way parental leave benefits already work. Another element in the program would pay a tax benefit of up to $1,350 a year to people providing home care. That’s how the Canada Child Tax Benefit works.

So: a program designed to address a perceptible need in an aging society. Proven delivery mechanisms. Modest cost. (No, really: on $280 billion in program spending, $1 billion is modest. It cost a lot more than that to hold a summit meeting in Toronto this summer.)

In short, on this file at least, the Ignatieff Liberals are proposing to act much the same as the Harper Conservatives did when they brought in per-child cheques to parents, instead of state-organized daycare. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it’s easy to imagine the Conservatives returning the compliment. What will you do, I asked my Liberal acquaintance, if the Conservatives swipe your policy?
“There’s no ‘if’ about it,” he said with a shrug. Ignatieff hopes simply to grab some first-mover advantage, to be the guy who suggested doing something about home care first.

I suspect this centrist move, which brings the Liberals into the field of view of middle-class families, is smart politics. It seems like decent policy. But it also shows how time and hardship have shrunk the horizons of Liberal ambition.

The home care project is not the entire Liberal election platform. There will be more proposals in other areas when the campaign comes. Still, by way of comparison: in April 2009, Ignatieff seemed ready to force an election over his demand that eligibility rules for Employment Insurance be relaxed. The cost of that would have been maybe $7 billion a year. Last week, he voted against a Bloc Québécois private member’s bill that proposed the same sort of changes.

Six months before that, Ignatieff was a Liberal candidate for Parliament, running with his colleagues under the banner of Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift. You’re forgiven if you forget the details. Dion wanted to put $15.4 billion in carbon-tax revenues toward tax cuts and social programs.

So in two years, the price tag on Liberal plans has shrunk from $15 billion to $7 billion to—well, $1 billion for now, a few billion later.

This imploding ambition reflects fiscal realities. When the Liberals’ policy conference in Montreal ended in March, Ignatieff gave a detailed speech outlining policies he’d pay for by “postponing” $5 billion to $7 billion in Conservative cuts to corporate taxes. Those tax cuts will go ahead in the next federal budget, just after the New Year. So Ignatieff won’t have the money he was counting on to pay for his springtime plans.

Ignatieff’s concession to straitened circumstance may improve his chances of winning the next election. It probably makes it harder to call him reckless. But the trend line is worth noticing. It reflects the Liberals’ painful realization that Harper won the elections in 2006 and 2008, and that he will keep winning if they don’t change their game. So they are changing to make it more like his game. The Liberals have twice pitted big dreams against managerial Harperism and lost. Now they will play a game of nuance.

As the game board shrinks, there is less room on it for issues some people used to care about. Take climate change. Lots of Canadian still believe human action can reduce the damage from global warming. Canada is far less likely to lead such change than it was two years ago. Here Harper’s good fortune stems from a simple decision: to hitch his climate-change wagon to Barack Obama.

When he was elected, Obama had great plans on climate change as on everything else. Weeks after his inauguration, he told Congress, “We need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy. So I ask this Congress to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution.”
Obama’s plan was closer to Harper’s various cap and trade schemes than to Dion’s straight carbon tax. But if it could not pass Congress, it amounted to a plan to do nothing. In announcing a “continental approach” to energy and the environment, Harper was betting Obama would fail to get anything done. Canadians have paid too little attention to the collapse this summer of climate change legislation in the U.S. Senate. It meant Harper has won his bet. Everywhere Harper looks, he sees ambitious government going out of style.
One presumes he likes the view.


Ignatieff’s shrinking ambition

  1. Very good piece. Can't disagree with a thing in here.

    It reflects the Liberals' painful realization that Harper won the elections in 2006 and 2008, and that he will keep winning if they don't change their game. So they are changing to make it more like his game. The Liberals have twice pitted big dreams against managerial Harperism and lost. Now they will play a game of nuance.

    You nailed it with this. First thought when I heard the home care pledge was that the Liberals finally learned something from the child care battle in 2006. I don't know if it's so much imploding ambition, or a realization that the Conservatives 2006 campaign is the blueprint for success in beating a tired incumbent.

    • The one thing Liberals learned from the child care battle in 2006 (and that we continue to learn from the gun control battles that seem endless) is that the overwhelming majority of Canadians who support such measures are an utterly useless voter demographic if they remain unwilling to support the only party that has ever brought in legislative action or budgetary measures to support their public policy ambitions.

    • that'snot what the childcare battle teaches.

      • Then what did it (or did not) teach in your opinion? I ask not to be rude but to bring more discussion to the table. Making an off-hand comment doesn't do much. :)

  2. I agree with Wells. The one question I would ask is if this is sound policy then how will Ignatieff pay for it. Wells dismisses the $1billion as pennies in the scheme of things. However, somebody has to pay for it and if EI is going to be the vehicle how much will that increase individual and employers' premium contributions.

    Remember we just had to scale back the increase in EI because of the damage it would do to the fragile economy. I suspect there is a significant deficit in the EI fund today given the premiums have been frozen for the last two years coupled with the increased benefits given during the recession.

    So instead of just saying the policy is good and I agree it does have an appeal for those caring for elderly people etc, somehow the extra $1,350 is not going to make a significant difference in their daily lives as they look after elderly or disabled relatives.

    So lets wise up. A policy is announced. Lets announce the policy and then say how it is going to be paid for. There are always two sides to the equation Wells.

    • One easy way to pay for this: don't build the unnecessary prisons that Vic Toews is demanding to combat the non-existent increase in crime.

      • I'm not sure why people keep falling for this "non-existent increase in crime" media hype. Where I live, crime is on the rise, and going to prison is not seen as a bad thing to a lot of criminals (I heard this from a prison guard). So, I am all for those extra prisons, because we need them until we actually have laws and the kind of prison environments that will discourage criminal activity.

        • Where I live, crime is on the decline and has been for two decades. You can have prison, I'll take home care.

          • Let's just send old people to prison. That will fill up the prison spots being built and instead of home care, we can have Big House Care.

          • Hey, some of the warehouses into which we're dumping too many seniors are already like prisons, at least in Ontario.

          • You know, people who want endless programs from government to handle, well, life are such pathetic, dependant, weak little creatures.

        • From the Toronto Sun – Canada's crime rate falls: http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/07/20/

          From the National Post – StatsCan: Canada's crime rate continues to drop, but attempted murders and drunk driving are up: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/07/20/statscan-

          Note that these aren't "left-wing" newspapers.

          (The attempted murder rate is up from 721 to 806 – you don't need a lot of new prisons for that. Ironically, the homicide rate held steady in 2009, despite the increase in attempts.)

        • yeah……..you know what….if it's a choice between homecare(I have elderly parents) and more prisons…..I choose elder care……..screw the prisons!

      • Ah yes…just what the Libs advocate. Release them or let them kill each other as a result of rioting because of overcrowding. Great solution. Crime is an issue and Canadians overwhelmingly support the tough on crime agenda and you know it. Better still lets release all the criminals and shut down the prison system. Think of how many billions we could save by eliminating the system.
        While we are at it lets get rid of the air force by not buying any new planes.

        • "While we are at it lets get rid of the air force by not buying any new planes."

          I've yet to hear a credible explanation as to why Canada needs to spend $16 B on 65 stealth fighters…

          • If you don't think Canada needs some new planes then you're not being very honest.

            The last time we got planes was 1984: the F-18 are getting old and making them run costs a fortune.

            The real issue isn't the the new planes, it's that we might have been able to get them cheaper.

          • But do we need these particular planes? And at these prices? Proper procurement procedures may have found an alternate, or at least gotten us a better price. I read somewhere that Australia is buying the same planes for almst 50% less than we're paying. Either we have "sucker" written on our foreheads, or someone in the federal government is going to have one sweet nest egg in Switzerland or the Caymans.

            I think THAT'S the real issue for most who oppose the deal – it's certainly the core of my opposition. The question is: can we remedy this without ending up in the same mess we were / still are in over Chretien's cancelling of the helicopter deal?

          • Are you not aware of all the provocation by the Russians with their bombers? That is only one of many good reasons.

          • Oh, do you mean those Tu-95s, first flown in 1952 and put into service by the former Soviet Union in 1956? The ones that are expected to serve the Russian Air Force until at least 2040?

            Or do you mean their state-of-the-art Tupolev Tu-160s that entered service in 1987? All 16 of them.

          • I'm inclined to trust NORAD over this government's often shrill explanations.

            "Both Russia and NORAD routinely exercise their capability to operate in the North. These exercises are important to both NORAD and Russia and are not cause for alarm."

            Lt. Desmond James, Canadian naval officer and NORAD spokesman

          • oh brother…………that this would be believed by anyone is just….frightening….more frightening than a fake "The Ruskies are cummin"……..
            ….you know something though…….I am getting REALLY tired of the attempt by this Government to scare me

    • "Remember we just had to scale back the increase in EI because of the damage it would do to the fragile economy."

      Incorrect. We had to scale it back because of the damage it would do to the fragile political fortunes of the government. There has been analysis done that indicates the hike would have little economic impact.

    • This is a good question, Hollimn. I seriously do like the idea of hearing the policy announcement, and hearing how the policy would be paid for AT THE SAME TIME. Of course, Ignatieff has already said he would do away with the corporate tax cut, so that at least partly answers your question, but that isn't quite the same as your good idea.

      But you will, of course, provide us with the detailed costing when Harper steals the idea, won't you?

      • With a corporate tax reduction to come Jan. 1st and no election on the horizon will Ignatieff increase the corporate tax rate back up. If all the corporate taxes have been implemented will he increase corporate taxes to pay for his social progams. Somehow I doubt it. How does he get around the fact his party supported the budget and the corporate tax reductions? Another flip flop to add to his resume of flip flops.
        Ignatieff will only have the revenue coming in at the time he is elected unless he is prepared to raise taxes. Stopping a tax reduction does not generate new revenue. If not then he will add it to the deficit, hike EI premiums etc. etc.

  3. Excluding the the Bloc, Iggy probably has made the next election a two party election. This will define Conservatism and Progressive Liberalism for generations.

    • Not if I can help it. I used to be a card carrying Liberal, then I realized my party had gone so far left that I was now standing out in conservative territory, so I voted Conservative in the last few elections. Now I realize that over the last 5 years or so, with these minority governments Canada has enjoyed the best democracy in my lifetime. Ottawa has been dancing to our tune, instead of the other way around. When we give a party a majority, we give them a dictatorship. The only party keeping us from another Lib or Con dictatorship has been the Block. I don't live in quebec, but if I could vote BQ, I would. I never want another majority in Ottawa gain. So from now on, I will vote for whatever party might be the spoiler.

      • …so principled.

      • You should vote for the Greens. They're the only party proposing electoral reform. If your main issue is getting rid of the current system, which is designed to create false majorities, then the Green party is your best bet. (Disclaimer: I have no plans to vote Green, but that's because I really like my current Liberal MP.)

        • The NDP has been pushing for the same or similar reforms for years and, still is. So you have a choice if electoral reform is one of your main issues.

          • The NDP actively opposed proportional representation in BC a few years ago.

            I have never seen the federal NDP propose prop rep at a national level.

          • you may have never seen it M. Ostrich, but it took literally 6 seconds of googling to find the NDP proposing proportional representation at the national level: http://archive.ndp.ca/page/4051

      • That's funny…..I used to be "card carrying Tory"……….voted for Harper and REALLY wanted him to be differant…accountable….transparent……..BUT he spends like a drunken sailor and the census decision….the de-funding of 19 women's groups JUST before he spent a billion on a photo-op in a city he trashed to do it….Clement's riding getting ALL that "graft"……a billion for un-tendered planes…..and the "tough on crime" agenda that really looks to be tougher on the taxpayers than the criminals…………this man isn't conservative in any way shape or form……So from now on I will vote ABC

  4. One can only hope that Wells is right and that the Liberals are indeed learning from Harper. Somebody had to knock the Libs out of their 70s-style ideology.

    • Trouble is Wells is not right, he is definitely Left.

    • I am going to assume you are about 12 years old and do not remember 1993-2006.

      • assume what you will. 1993-2006 saw the Liberals introduce spending cuts that would have people like you crying bloody murder if Harper had introduced them. it doesnt mean that under Martin/Dion/Iggy the Liberals did not revert back to 70s style 'large social projects' and other such waste of taxpayer $.

        • Yeah, but when Liberals slash spending it's ok. When Tories do it, it's mean-spirited, heartless and immoral.

          • "when Liberals slash spending it's ok. When Tories do it, it's mean-spirited, heartless and immoral."

            Not necessarily. As I recall, there was a great hue and cry across the land among Liberal supporters over their party's mean-spirited, heartless and immoral lurch to the right when they slashed health and social transfers to the provinces in the '90s.

            The irony is that they did the fiscal dirty work for which conservatives typically like to take credit.

          • "there was a great hue and cry across the land among Liberal supporters over their party's mean-spirited, heartless and immoral lurch to the right "

            Yeah, that must be why the Liberals, after implementing those cuts, were so severely punished by those Liberal supporters at the polls . . . oh wait, they won two more consecutive majority governments.

            Never mind.

          • And why did they win two more majorities?

            Is it maybe because people realized that the cuts were necessary and generally helped? Or maybe because the alternatives were laughable (Progressive Conservatives and Lunati – er I mean, Reform).

            The will to reduce any issue to a simple two factor equation will always yield the same result: limited in scope and lacking in susbstance.

          • Well, which do you think it is? I think it was a bit of both. And I think that historically, a lot of Canadians, particularly in Ontario, have felt comfortable with the Liberals. And so it is a fact that they were willing to have the Liberals do those cuts, because they felt comfortable with, and trusted, the Liberals.

            There was also a timing aspect to it as well — the PCs under Mulroney and Reform under Manning had been advocating spending cuts for years before Chretien/Martin got the religion. But the thing was, our fiscal situation reached a certain crisis point in the early 1990s after the Liberals took office, there were ominous warnings about our debt getting downgraded, which could have really started something ugly. That's really what motivated Martin. But the fact is, the Liberals spent all of Mulroney's reign opposing every spending cut proposed by the PCs.

          • The opposition always rails against what the government does. It's their job.

            It's up to us to hold them to a higher standard and make them understand that simply moaning about everything the government does isn't good enough. But then that leads us to a whole new problem that I don't really want to go into right meow.

            I mean look at the Reform (which pretty much became the CPC): in opposition they wanted the government to go through a complete overhaul of how things were done. Now? Not so much.

      • So what does the 1993-2006, gift-wrapped Liberal majorities have to do with today`s band of Trudeau nostalgians that sent in two university professors as leaders because somebody thought it would be wise to remind voters that these guys are just like Trudeau ?

        Chretien as PM and Martin as Finance minister at least had the smarts to know that Trudeau Socialism was dead. Dion and Iggy thought they could revive it long enough to squeak out a coalition election win—-it appears they have given up on that. The problem with the Liberals is that they will have to clean house before people will want to back into their house.

        • Well the Conservatives took the mantle that the Liberals wore in 1993: we're going to clean up government.

          Eventually the Liberals will find a way to take it back from the CPC and the same thing will happen again.

  5. What I'd like to know from Igantieff is which of the Harper policies and laws does he intend to repeal.

    For example, Ignatieff constantly slams Harper's U.S-style law-and-order and prison-building initiative, as he should, but he then declines to defeat these laws when they come up for votes in the House, ostensibly to avoid an election.

    Fair enough, I accept that tactical response. However, I'd like to know if Iggy plans to undo these laws if he forms a government, and what other stupid policies and laws he will reverse.

    I presume he'll have to answer these questions during the next election, but I don't understand why media are not asking him this question now.

    • What does providing "extra beds" have to do with US style law and order?

      In December 2009 Liberals skipped town and allowed Bill C25 Truth in Sentencing Act to pass. It has Royal Assent.

      Two billion over five years, to help house those will not have early release 2 for 1 is "American style"? Why do you think so many Provincial Justice Ministers were in support? Same with victims groups and Police groups are they classifed as"American" too?

  6. In a post-modern political world, policy hardly matters.

  7. "Lots of Canadian still believe human action can reduce the damage from global warming."

    That's right, there are at least a dozen or so remaining. They remind me of Japanese soldiers from WWII, still hiding in caves waiting for their leaders to tell them the war is over. Cheers!

    • Well, even if there is only one person out there who believes this, shouldn't that be enough for this government to take action?

      • One seemed to be enough to get them to change the Census… guess it just has to be the RIGHT one.

  8. The one piece missing in Wells calculations is the startling transformation (starling for those of us over 45 at least) that the Conservatives are now much more comfortable than the Liberals in operating with a structural deficit for extended periods of time.

    • Yeah, but they still point fingers at the "tax and spend" Liberals. Some things never change.

    • I dunno, I'm 46 and my experience with Conservative governments, provincial and federal, has been that they can't manage fiscally at all. Tax and waste conservatives.

      • More accurately perhaps, "cut tax and waste anyway Conservatives"

    • Can you link your expert opinion about this structural deficit? Same person who projections were incorrect on the Deficit, GDP, employment numbers in 2010?

      • My statement was not that we are in a structural deficit. However, during the height of the fiscal crisis, Harper was asked what he would do if the deficit persisted. His statement was that he would not slash programs or raise taxes and he would be patient to allow economic growth to eventually erase the deficit. At one point he was asked how long he could afford to wait and his answer was indefinitely.

        At around the same time, Ignatieff stated (at UBC, I believe) that it would be immoral for this generation to buy themselves out of a recession and leave the payments to their children. He stated that once the recession was over, eliminating the deficit had to be the priority and that as a last resort he would consider raising taxes. This of course, became the secret plan of Ignatieff to raise taxes and the Conservatives succeeded in raising the noise level to where any serious discussion of what to do if the economy stalls is no longer taking place.

        Without reaching a conclusion on which fiscal policy is preferred should the deficit become structural, I believe the above clearly indicates a greater degree of patience on the part of the Conservatives wrt allowing a deficit to persist. If you want to frame the Conservative position in a better light it would also be accurate that to say they consider the growth of the Canadian economy to be more important than balancing the government's books.

        Long ago, the Clark Conservatives and Trudeau Liberals had similar debates about a different deficit. At that time, the Conservatives position that it was fiscally irresponsible not to make deficit reduction the top priority. My comment above simply notes how the respective positions have shifted.

        • The Chretien-Martin neo-liberals who made massive cuts existed only in a majority. Paul Martin did not follow the same direction with his minority. He began massive spending programs plans in 2005?

          Projections Deficits:
          I remember reports from Kevin Page being cited by the opposition about the potential for a structural deficit. Do you believe a Federal government during a significant global recession has ever cut spending in a minority position?

          What did Kevin Page, PBO have as a figure?

          Canada's economy will expand 3 percent this year, according to a Bloomberg survey of 13 of the 14 forecasters that Flaherty consults for the fiscal update. That's up from a 2.6 percent forecast in the March budget and would produce about C$20 billion ($19.5 billion) more in output than earlier projected.

          I suspect the CPC will continue to have Stockwell Day (Program Review) to terminate wasteful spending, inefficient programs.

          Expanding trade, partners, deals, investment climate in Canada through policies (Yes)

          I don't have any evidence this government will enact massive cuts as the Chretien-Martin Liberals did in Education, Health and Social Services to engineer a federal "surplus".

          This government has acted differently in gutting the military, foreign aid or attacking provinces with downloading.

          I only have found partisan talking points about a "hidden agenda" to cut programs making Canada unrecognizable.

          • ? Why did you put this as a response to me? I mean it is still about the deficit but otherwise completely disconnected.

          • I do believe CanadianSense has just figured out how to cut and paste. Relevance, coherence and continuity of thought seem to be of secondary (if any) importance.

          • "..Conservatives are now much more comfortable than the Liberals in operating with a structural deficit for extended periods of time. "- Stewart Smith

            "My statement was not that we are in a structural deficit. However, during the height of the fiscal crisis, Harper was asked what he would do if the deficit persisted. His statement was that he would not slash programs or raise taxes and he would be patient to allow economic growth to eventually erase the deficit. At one point he was asked how long he could afford to wait and his answer was indefinitely. " -Stewart Smith

            Hypothetical question about a structural deficit to the governing party vs action taken (track record since 2006).

            Minority vs Majority Government act differently. One requires no partner, the other does.

            Deficit slaying will not take place in a minority parliament. Can you list an example of a minority parliament being fiscally conservative?

            The Conservative Party of Canada led by Stephen Harper Jim Flaherty is not the PC Party of Joe Clark or Reform with Preston Manning at the helm.

            What frame are you trying to foist on this government?

            Q1-Q3 government balance sheet changed dramatically after Economic Update? The CPC campaign was the smallest around $ 9-10 billion vs Liberal-NDP each over $ 30-40 B?

  9. Or… we could hold the G8/G20 in one venue instead of two, thereby saving we, the Canadian taxpayers, hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Oh wait. Too late. That money is already out the door, pissed away.

    That money could have helped out a few seniors too.

    • It was the town hosing the G8 that refused to host the G20, not the federal government.

      • Oh, so it's Huntsville's fault.

        I think for the sake of a few hundred million dollars we could have moved the whole thing to Toronto.

        • I don't know whether that would work or not. I was in Calgary during the G8 of ?2002? and moving everything from Kananaskis (naturally defended by mountains, bears & FN land) to Calgary would have resulted in a significant uptick on security costs, as so many more people would have been required. With cooperation from the FN, RCMP were able to close the road to Kananaskis at the turnoff from the TransCanada Highway, which is ?15-20 minutes from the actual site.

          So I'm not sure the savings would translate straight across, especially if Huntsville is as remote as it looks on GoogleMaps (sorry, I don't know Ontario geography very well).

          • And of course the activists hated having the thing in Kananaskis country because nobody gives a damn what a bunch of people in the woods are screaming about. Toronto is Canada's biggest stage.

          • The activists couldn't get to the woods. So they marched & demonstrated in Calgary, but w/little impact as all they did was disrupt traffic, garnering them very little sympathy from people getting to/from work. There was a large-ish contingent of additional police (RCMP and other cities) but nothing like Toronto, and probably nothing like it would have been if all the heads of state were in Calgary. If I recall correctly, the highway between Calgary & Kananaskis wasn't even bothered by motorcades as the heads were choppered out to Kananaskis.

          • Thanks for the correction.

      • Huntsville was an impossible location for the g20 but we spent millions on gazebos and such anyway. And Toronto could have hosted both for much less $$ if the Feds had listened the the city and hosted the event outside of the Financial district in the CNE grounds. But they chose not to.

  10. If your going to say the conservatives adopted a con-style plan because of the way both parties approached child care (liberals) or throwing-money-at-people-with children (conservatives) it might be advisable to look more closely at how the two systems were being delivered.

    For starters, nobody suggested that raising a child would only take six months and you could return to your job with no penalty afterwards.

    • Upon re-reading I can see what a botch that post is. What I mean to say is a program is not necessary conservative because it cuts you a cheque, and not necessarily liberal if it delivers something through a program.

  11. 'Electoral' ambition. We all know that if Liberals were elected then their true BIG government ambitions would come shining through immediately with large tax increases and pork barrel program spending on their friends.

    • Al least, in your version of things, they'd raise taxes to pay for their pork. The CPC have put out record amounts of pork while cutting taxes. That's just irresponsible.

    • I hope you concluded that with a stomp of your foot, crossed arms and a pouty 'Hmmph'

    • "…pork barrel program spending on their friends."

      Hmm…have you toured Tony Clement's riding lately?

      • Maybe if they would have screened that gazebo in, they could have saved on bug spray?

      • Are you referring to Toronto or Windsor where a SIGNIFICANT amount of money was spent?

        Or possibly NFLD where not a single seat is held by the Conservatives.

        Heck the PM got a standing ovation in Toronto for those pork barrel projects!
        “We have 500 infrastructure projects in the City of Toronto, where we do not hold a single seat.”

        • Um…scroll up…I was referring to Tony Clement's riding.

          • 1. You think the Liberals made a mistake than in agreeing with the Conservatives in passing the massive budget in 2009 and requiring Report Cards?

            2. What did George Smitherman and Carolyn Parrish state about the allegations of pork barreling and favouritism?

            We have a minority government and that requires support of a willing partner. Who has been the most supportive of the current Prime Minister through keeping confidence?

          • Whoa right there, Red Ryder…I made a comment about the Tories' largesse in Tony Clement's riding, not a critique of the state of democracy in post-industrial Canada…try to focus!!

          • So your talking points don't actually stand up to logic or scrutiny? Pity

          • To what friggin' "talking points" (an over-used term that I hate, by the way) are referring? They "don't stand up to logic or scrutiny' because…pay attention here, I'm using small words…I DIDN"T MAKE ANY!

            Get a re-fill on your 'script.

          • My script?

            You repeat a rant unproven about spending in a riding held by Transport Minister Tony Clement

            Asked for proof, ignore logic, questions and suggest I seek a refill on my script?

            Thanks for removing any doubt. http://thinkexist.com/quotation/it_is_better_to_k

          • Sorry, but you were the the one who produced a "rant" in response to my non-existent "talking points". It's somewhat difficult for me to defend "talking points" I didn't make.

            However, in defense of the ONE comment I did make about apparent Con porkbarrelling in Tony Clement's riding:

            If you're going to hallucinate straw men and accuse me of having built them, then I'm gonna' question your meds.

          • You cite the CBC article that has Kevin Gaudet and Gerrard Kennedy as your proof about planning and spending?

            1. Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said the government should have foreseen the need for a larger venue.

            2. Gerard Kennedy, the Liberal infrastructure critic, said he believes the government knew that a G20 meeting was likely long before last year's budget.

            3. John Kirton, co-director of the G20 research group at the University of Toronto, argues that the government could not have foreseen the arrival of the G20 when it first planned the G8. That's because the G20 really only became a prominent institution after the world economic meltdown of 2008 prompted the G8 leaders to include emerging economies in their discussions.

            This is the basis of using the term "pork barrel" spending? Do yo have an advance copy from Sheila Fraser due in Spring 2011?

            I can see why you need to include personal attacks in your posts.

            My earlier point stands you should have kept silent.

          • From the same source:

            "What's not being scaled back, however, is the $50 million in federal infrastructure money the government says is still needed to get the region G8-ready.

            Millions of dollars in infrastructure spending have been flowing into Huntsville, Ont., and surrounding towns for months now. The funded projects include several road and water upgrades, a $20-million expansion to a community centre and a new $9-million building whose purpose has yet to be decided, although it will likely be the site of a youth summit."

            I suppose you could argue that the evidence for porkbarreling is coincidental, circumstantial, and anecdotal until an auditor's report. Fine, but on the optics, it walks and talks like a duck.

            As for your "earlier point", I'm still trying to figure out what it was…you went off on George Smitherman, Carolyn Parrish, Reports Cards (?) and other bizarre tangents that had no evident connection whatsoever to my ONE comment.

            I should have "stayed silent"? Perhaps you could have stayed relevant.

          • Daffy, Donald, Scrooge McDuck, please stand up.

            You have ZERO facts but an opinion cited in article about a meeting of world leaders that should have been anticipated and planned more efficiently?

            Your support one being a Liberal partisan, one being a favourite to slam government spending or taxes, is that correct?

            Kevin Page a favourite citation by opposition as trusted source refuted the fake comparisons used by opposition MPs and media already.

            George/Carolyn are Liberal partisans that repudiate how the spending was rolled out according the media-opposition critics? http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/2010/04/david-a

            The AG report is due in April 2011. She will examine value for money on the bug spray and glow sticks from the cheap seats next.

          • Fine. Peace be with you. Stay relevant.

          • Clement is Minister of Industry, Chuck Strahl is Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities (and John Baird was Minister of TIC at the time of the G8-G20).

          • Thank you for the correction. I remember John Baird being asked in 2009 repeatedly for favouring criteria in specific ridings.

            I have not found any compelling evidence to date that would substantiate the allegations by partisans from the other parties including their cheerleaders.

          • what irks me more is the weird things that got funded, not where they were located (i.e. in who's riding). E.g., it bugs me that soccer fields at a religious private school received federal infrastructure funding, not that the project was in a riding with a CPC MP. Too many of these questions get cast as Stimulus v NoStimulus, FighterJets v NoFighterJets, etc. when the question that matters "is are public funds being invested in the right things in the best way possible?" did we invest in infrastructure we need or in projects that were convenient, politically expedient, etc? are we buying the military hardware that best suits our needs at the best price or…?

          • I am on the record of being against sending more money to any level of government to "fix it". Are taxes not high enough already?

            Will we find waste, based on some of the 7,000+ projects: YES 100%. I did not support spending for parades in Toronto-Calgary or Atlantic Canada. All three levels of government are at the trough on projects.

            Agreed the politicians and media are failing to have an honest adult debate. Wedge politics and lazy journalism continues.

          • Brooster,
            Canadiansense made on-topic responses to your allegations of porc-barrel spending in Clement's riding. Accoding to a variety of sources, many of them Liberal, the stimulus spending decision-making process was relatively free of partisan manipulation.

          • They may have been on topic…I'll take your word for it…but, seen as a response to a ONE-LINE COMMENT I threw out half in jest, it was rambling, discursive and, on the face of it, totally unrelated, He also attributed to me "talking points" (and, gawd, am I sick of that term) that I never even made. I mean, how am I supposed to know what in h*ll Smitherman and Parrish had to do with my frivolous remark about Clement's riding in Muskoka? I get that they're both in or running for municipal government but…so what? So is Rob Ford.

            Never have I been so entrapped in such a useless thread because of one jocular remark. In future, I'll have to keep in mind that some commenters are somewhat thin-skinned and/or humourless and just let it go.

          • If you mean a drive by smear to further your anti-CPC narrative? When challenged with producing evidence, you resorted to accusing me of using a script.

            I reviewed your "alleged" attempt at humour and and asked your three specific questions which you failed to answer. ( Accusing a party that you don't support with pork barrel spending is humour ?)

            You quickly resorted to suggesting I am some "cowpoke- Red Ryder" who should focus. (You should have read my questions and gave up than without resorting to "you must be stupid for not agreeing with me"- Liberal tactic)

            You follow up suggesting I am on medication and need a prescription refill after I point out you did not answer my questions and were using talking points.

            I respond in kind with a suggestion your smear is without merit and you should have been silent. ( Second time you were given free advice to minimize damage to your self on this blog)

            You than proceed deeper with a poorly constructed article from the CBC which is not balanced.

            I simply review, and provide explanations within the same article that refute your criticism and your "alleged" one liner. I also include Liberals who refute your allegation of "control" or bias. Both George and Carolyn are not Tory apologists. I added Page-Fraser report and upcoming report as the icing and cherry on top.

            I was corrected on Tony Clement as Minister of Industry and was thankful.

            I suggest you felt trapped because you felt it necessary to defend an indefensible position when confronted. You should have been mature enough to admit you were just "piling on" with empty rhetoric that is NOT substantiated with facts or evidence.
            It was just your partisan opinion you were offering and nothing else.

            I just made it visible for everyone to see. Good luck with your comedy routine. It can be a tough crowd.
            Aaron Wherry blog is more friendly to those types of baseless accusations.

    • You mean the Liberal's secret agenda perhaps :)

      Wouldn't it be great if we could agree that if it's unfair to make something up about one party then it is probably unfair to make the same thing up about the other parties as well.

  12. Personally, I'd be in favour of getting back the money from the CPR scandal first!

    • Or Tunagate. Or the Mulroney/Schreiber thing. I'd mention the in and out scandal, but that isn't over yet.

      • Or the most recent public works scandal on west block.

  13. Like children every politician alive thinks the road to a fat salary and pension is to dream up the next 'goodie' to entice more and more parasites to vote for them.

    • You obviously prefer dictatorship.

    • Ah yeah, because the elderly, the ill, and their caregivers are just parasites. Is that the official talking point of the day?

  14. If you're a CPC supporter, of course it is. And if Ignatieff is right and the CPC steal this idea, CPC supporters will suddenly think this is a great idea too.

  15. Child care is required when one works, so $100 towards an existing cost is helpful, and means that $100 of your after-tax cash can be spent elsewhere. If, however, you can't or aren't working in order to care for an ill family member, you have no income (since the $1350 is directed at those ineligible for EI). What significant difference will $100 make to someone with no income? That's going to buy – what, one or two bags of groceries? It probably wouldn't cover 4 hours of in-home nursing care. So I'd argue that while the program is modeled after the child care benefit, it wouldn't have the same impact. Also, the child care benefit goes away once the child is 6 (and presumably in school full-time, so daycare costs drop significantly). With an ill family member, this could potentially be paid to someone indefinitely.

    • Good points. As well the $1,350 is by way of a tax credit. Not sure if its refundable or not but if its not then it is of little use to lower income people who pay little or no tax.

  16. Do you seriously think that $10 or 20 some odd million is going to make a serious difference when paying for policies?

    I'm sure you don't. You just bring up the sponsorship issue in every article, no matter what the context. I hope you're at least getting paid for it, otherwise it would just make me sad.

    • That missing Ad Scam $ 39 million could buy 684 "fake lakes" (real cost for water reflective pool @ 57k each). Liberals like to assign imaginary numbers to programs and policies without providing REAL proof.

      Kevin Page did NOT support the grandstanding on the G8-G20 by the opposition as his REPORT exonerates this government. The media and opposition continue to use FAKE numbers to launch criticisms. http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/2010/10/mainstr

      Minister of Justice Vic Toews noted in Question Period that Liberals repaid only 1 million of the 40 million. Where is the missing $ 39 million?

      "We know that the Liberal Party stole $40 million. The Liberals have come back with $1 million. They have still stolen $39 million. That is clear evidence. We know that. Where is the money?" http://openparliament.ca/hansards/2255/187/

      An oft-quoted figure has been that the 2009 Pittsburgh G20 Summit spent $18M on security. During discussions with senior city officials in Pittsburgh, PBO learned that this figure accounted for overtime costs for local and state police as well as salary and expenses for visiting forces from other jurisdictions. However, this figure did not include the deployment of the Army, National Guard, nor preparations and deployment of any of the major intelligence agencies (CIA, FBI, USSS), or costs incurred by other federal agencies such as the State Department and their Diplomatic Security Service or the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Secret Service, Border Protection and US Coast Guard.

      • I'm not sure the PBO's report weighed the wisdom (or lack thereof) of having the summit in two site (where two sites need to be secured) instead of one. I bet it was more than $39 million pissed away because of that decision.

        And while we're talking about Conservative spending decisions, perhaps you can discuss how we're going to spend billions more than what is necessary to replace our CF-18s.

        • Really?
          This reminds me of the debate about alleged War Crime by our military by the opposition and partisans in 2009. Are you ignoring the experts that are in favour of the ONLY 5th generation plane available?
          Your articles point to one person who signed an MOU for $ 100 million for a joint program and does NOT offer any alternative. Do you?

          I AM NOT a military EXPERT. Work for the either side including Boeing who lost the bid.

          Lieutenant-General J.P.A. Deschamps (Chief of the Air Staff, Department of National Defence):

          Thank you, Mr. Chair, committee members. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the acquisition of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter as Canada's next fighter aircraft.

          The CF-18 Hornet has provided outstanding service to Canada for more than 28 years. It will remain our front-line fighter until the 2020 timeframe, when it reaches the end of its life expectancy. This will allow for phase-in of the Lightning II.

          Manned fighters are essential to our ability to maintain control and sovereignty over our airspace, whether in Canada or during operations abroad. This is a fact of modern air power. All industrialized nations acknowledge it.

          Neither unmanned aerial vehicles nor any other air platform can carry out this demanding and complex task, whether they are operating in the air-to-air or air-to-ground environments. If you do not control the airspace over which you are operating—maritime or land—you will likely fail or take unacceptable losses. You must be able to deny an adversary use of that airspace to win. This need is recognized by the government's commitment in the Canada First Defence Strategy to acquire new fighters.

          Analyses of our mandatory requirements for Canada's next fighter have made it clear that only a fifth-generation fighter could satisfy those requirements in the increasingly complex future security environment. The Lightning II is the only fifth-generation aircraft available to Canada. Not only that, but the F-35 offers the best cost value of any fighter available to us……

          1105 http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publicat

          • Are you ignoring that someone who is an expert on government procurement?

            The government is ignoring him, and are also misrepresenting him in the process.

            Also, do not misconstrue my disappointment with the f-35 situation as me being against the purchase of a military aircraft. I'm in favour of cost-effective government, and also recognize the need to adequately patrol our airspace. This aircraft will cost more than it needs to because of how the government is handling this file. While the Conservative way is to suggest any opponent of this is a peacenik hippy,

            it's beginning to just look like bad business.

          • Actually I will include ALL the experts and not dismiss them for one. That's what the media and opposition did with Colvin.

            You have one person who was UNABLE to offer another 5 generation aircraft alternative in his CTV Question Period interview or testimony to parliament standing committee on Defence.

            You have opposition talking about delaying the procurement because an 5th generation does NOT exist.

            I won't ignore the Air Force (Top Brass) Aerospace (Experts) who have stated this IS the only plane that meets their NEEDS and talks about delays, R.F.P. is threatening investment.

            Simple question why are you AVOIDING the naming the ALTERNATIVE plane? Do you work for the consortium that lost the bid?

          • You nailed me, buddy. I don't care about our troops, and as far as I'm concerned, a handful of cessnas will do. That's just offensive. I know that's how the Conservatives characterize those who dare oppose them, I see you take the same tactic.

            Bias against this government? I voted for them.

            All I'm saying is, based on what Mr. Williams has said, the government jumped on the F35 bandwagon too soon. Mr. Williams raised some legitimate concerns. You and I have the same goal — to get the best fighter for the best price. We have a disagreement on how we'll achieve that. Leave the troop-hating nonsense unwritten.

          • You decision to invoke one "Expert" his talking points, opposition-media lack of context is responsible for your stunt to play spending priorities with me.

            Get your facts in order, have a number of experts back up your position. How can a reasonable person accept the logic of one expert opinion while dismissing every other expert evidence?

            It boils down to FACTS and evidence. What is the benefit to replaying the SEA-KING political stunt by Liberals? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_CH-124_Sea_

            I provided an example by Liberals starving our military re CF18. Anyone who was NOT in the tank for the other team would recognize the spending proposal in 2005 by Martin, continued by CPC have been beneficial to our military and to Canada. (Sheila Fraser AG Report)

            I can rise above petty politics and say "procurement" practices for ANYTHING is worth debating.

            I will not concede the tactics being used by the opposition-media in ignoring the EXPERTS stating this is the only 5th gen available and a competitive process in selecting the replacement was not already completed.

            The standing committee on Defence introduced many EXPERTS. You are free to cherry pick his comments only.

            I will NOT ignore other expert opinion because their testimony does not match your talking points.

            Many groups behind Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming also suppressed and ignore other experts and label them deniers. (Same pattern)

        • Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

          Mr. Speaker, the auditor general's report continues to confirm this government as the worst money managers in Canadian history, with $1.6 billion in wasted grants pointed out two years ago. That rocked the government. That was just one department. This time the auditor general talks about $16.3 billion worth of grants right across the government being wasted.

          We can deal with increases to health, security and defence if the government is willing to deal with the waste. Will the Prime Minister, who says he is writing the budget, leak some good news and stand and say that there will be across the board cuts to the $16.3 billion in wasteful grants going on right now? Will he leak that good news? http://openparliament.ca/hansards/1952/22/

          Feel FREE to examine the Auditor General Reports Highlights CBC http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/auditorgeneral/

      • Liberal and Conservative Spending Scandals
        Scandal Total Years Cost/Year People Cost/Year/Person
        Adscam $ 100,000,000.00 8 $ 12,500,000.00 30,000,000 $ 0.42
        Stimscam $12,200,000,000.00 2 $6,100,000,000.00 33,000,000 $184.85

        • I have NO idea what you are posting with those figures. Wasteful spending and missing $ 39 million are not the same thing.

          Please link Reports from Sheila Fraser on wasted tax payers money. Feel free to link the source of your mystical numbers.

  17. Caps….nobody in the government said that it would cover childcare costs. Like it this homecare thing does nothing to address the real issue of an aging society and what do we seriously do to help those that are elderly and/or incapacitated.
    By the way the $1,350.00 as I understand it will simply be a tax credit given to low income families. Since they pay little in the way of taxes it will not have a significant impact on their lives.

    • As I undestand it is not enitrely a tax credit. There is also an EI benefit for people who have had to take leave of absence from work to care for their parents at home for end of life care – 6 months worth. More or less modeled on maternity leave when it was introduced and probably to be extended in the same way.

      It's not a fix-all for the whole aging society, as it's pretty specific to this one issue but it is an issue that is starting to hit the radar for a lot of Canadians and which the government has not paid any attention to. And at least the Liberals have costed it and said where they would find the money which is more than the actual government seems to ever do.

      However, like the $100 a month for child care or for that matter the home reno credit, it is hard to see how the tax credit portion goes far for middle income earners.

      • My daycare is $120/month (a co-op), so $100 is equal to half of it (after $40 is taxed back). Most, but not all daycare is pricey, especially if you can pitch in.

        True, the net $60/month doesn't go far, But put it into an RESP it becomes $72, and in 18 years it's worth about $250, tax free. Over the entire 6 years, it pays for a year of university in 2025.

        The 'game' is won on the margins – including by making the most of $60, one month at a time.

  18. chet, you're a one-trick pony. Show us another trick: count to five with your right hoof. Or is that too complex for you?

  19. As mentioned above, I wouldn't be so hasty to conclude it's a "conservative style" delivery of a service just because it's based on the EI system.

    • I was thinking of issuing $100/month cheques to families rather than investing in a nation-wide system of care with minimum standards and guarantees of access.

      • absolutely. But we shouldn't assume "CPC thinking" has won the day because of a weak similarity between the two situations (and three programs). although the debate at the time somewhat portrayed as ideological, really it should have been more about optimal delivery methods. The liberals proposed a child care program, the conservatives replied with $100/month whether you need it or not. It shouldn't even have been discussed as childcare – Harper should have come clean and said "yes, you're still screwed if you're a working parent and need affordable daycare, but hey! here's $100 for everybody with a kid."

        In that situation, assuming affordable daycare was the goal, the liberal plan wasn't the Liberal plan, it was the workable plan. The conservatives either had the worse plan or they were having an entirely different argument. (Of course, before it got spun, that was the genesis of the "Beer and Popcorn" argument – the money just wasn't enough to realistically help anyone with child care problems. Beer and Popcorn wasn't the frivolity – it was the puny size).

        Elderly care may be completely different. The best use of resources may be to give family members short periods off to care for their parents. If that's the case, it's not a measure of libs adopting conservative ideology, but of using the best approach to solve two problems.

        I guess I'm just practical. I'm about looking at options, and weighing pros and cons, not taking an ideology and saying "how does it apply to X?"

        In fact, if the elderly home care and child care issues were the same, and the liberals and conservatives were dealing with them in the same way, then in 2006, the conservatives should have been extending maternity leave benefits until children were 16, right?

        • It's a bit more than a weak similarity to give families $100/month to care for dependents in one case and to give them $100/month to care for dependents in the other case. As for the Liberal proposal, I think you're being charitable in describing it as "workable" and a "plan". After ten years, PM Martin's proposal was still very much a lot of money for studies about possibly doing something, if that's what the provinces wanted. The Conservative point was partly that this was weak beer, partly that this completely overlooked parents who cared for their children by staying at home. And "beer and popcorn" was what parents could have spent the money on, it had nothing to do with frivolity or size and everything to do with Scott Reid and other Liberals essentially not trusting parents to spend the money sensibly.

          • These are interesting points some of which could be said to have some merit. But I don't think it addresses the argument of the difference in plan being attributable to using the most practical approach for different situations, rather than necessarily starting off wrong and then adopting the right (wing) approach.

          • My daughter referred to it as her shoe money. It was utterly useless in terms of addressing her childcare needs.

          • Your husband Shoeless Joe?

  20. Do Bob Rae and Gerald Kennedy and Ken Dryden and Dosanjh think that this goes far enough? Is this limited aide to "volunteer" health care providers even close to enough? Is it taking away high paying union jobs?

    • I can't imagine any public sector union, at least in Ontario, decrying measures to enhance family-based home care. It's totally consistent with what they would claim are their core beliefs.

    • Because they all object to maternity/paternity leave paid through EI on the same grounds? Oh wait, that never happened.

      Are there high paying union jobs in elder care?

  21. This is a health care initiative. It can easily be paid for from the 187Billion a year spent on health care in Canada… and already is.

    BC CUPE is asking for more more money for long term care facilities and a ban on private facilities .


    Their base cost seems to be "in BC private-pay residential care facilities was $4,718 per month or $56,616 per year"

    So inside the health care budget we are already spending billions on long term health care.

    Make this a real program and provide the volunteer long term health care workers with $1000-2000 a month in direct payments plus respite support. That would be well under 50% of the if the patient were kept in a long term care facility.

    This would give people looking after disabled parents a real option of keep them at home. It would be huge savings.

    The only problem is that it would be breaking the universal health care monopoly and proving competition to the Hundreds of thousands of Medical bureaucrats and high paid CUPE workers.

    In Canada we can't talk about this or even consider efficiencies to the SYSTEM.

    Mr. Ignatieff has to find a different source of funding for Health care to even talk about it.

    How Sad.

    • "This is a health care initiative. It can easily be paid for from the 187Billion a year spent on health care in Canada… and already is."

      Actually, since the proposed policy doesn't extend an actual heath service or program, it's not a health care initiative, per se. It's an income security provision, similar to that for parental leave and, as such, legitimately falls into the federal domain.

      Having said that, I agree with the general drift of your comments. Respite care and home care, properly administered, is less expensive and more appropriate than institutional care for many elderly people who need support but not critical care.

  22. "Everywhere Harper looks, he sees ambitious government going out of style. One presumes he likes the view."

    If Harper does like the view, it is hard to tell from his actions. During a recession, Harper increased the size/scope/cost of government without trying at all to save some money. I was shocked that MPs did not reduce their salaries by 10% or the like to show government feels our pain but no, we have Cons happily feeding at trough like Libs have been for decades.

    Harper talked the talk 10/20 years ago when he was powerless but has shown himself to be a Liberal at heart as PM. Cons had wonderful opportunity to enact conservative economic policies and get Canada on track economically but instead they decided to go with woolly Keynesian policies that did nothing to improve economy while saddling us with even more debt.

    And Thatcher explains Iggy's shrinking ambitions.

    “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” ~ Margaret Thatcher

  23. Speaking of constraints on ability to spend, I wonder how the Kelowna Accord re: Aboriginal Canadians fits in with all this. I had thought that full implementation of the Kelowna Accord is still Liberal Party policy (but correct me if I'm wrong there). If so, isn't that a multi-multi-billion dollar expenditure? It would be interesting to see how that would affect costing of any Liberal Party election platform.

    • I still want my icebreaker!

    • I think once the Kelowna commitments were not honoured by a successor government, it would be almost impossible for a future government to revisit it on the same terms. I think it would take a further negotiation to put something in place. Those are practical objections, I really don't know where the federal Liberal leadership stands on this.

      • Last I heard, full implementation of the Kelowna was official Liberal Policy. But you're right that it's probably something that hasn't really been front & centre on their radar screen — although a certain ex-PM with the initials PM raises the issue quite often.

  24. He isn't.

    He's hoping that with the tax cuts the economy will improve and thus generate more revenue.

    I have serious doubts about that since the problem today doesn't seem (to me) to be that businesses aren't making enough money (or at least the big names) but rather that they're hoarding it. Corporate tax cuts will simply enable them to make a bit more money but they won't be any more certain that consumer spending will go up since the consumers are the ones drowning in debt.

  25. The cost of long-term care is high and the cost of assisting a working spouse or an adult child to stay at home, for a specified period of time, with an elderly person in need of care would be lower. There are not enough long-term care beds and some people who might be able to be at home, with enough consistent help, are stuck in hospital beds. Think how expensive that is!

    When my mother was dying, I took a leave of absence from my job, without pay, so that she could die at home as was her wish. Not only did I lose four months pay, which I could ill afford to lose, because there was no legislative protection, I almost lost my job too. No doubt thousands and thousands of people have similar stories.

    Family caregivers deserve better support. The Liberal proposal might be 'modest' but it's very important.

    • I think you're right. You can argue around the edges of the Liberal proposal, and argue that a different program or delivery mechanism might be preferable, but there's no question it's aimed at a genuine need. If the only answer the Conservatives have is "this sucks" or some similar partisan pot shot, I think they're going to pay a significant price politically.

    • This is exactly the situation Ignatieff's proposal would address, and I suspect there are a great many people who were in your unfortunate position.

  26. Actually as a Conservative I agree with the liberals on this one.I see absolutely no difference between paid maternity leave and a paid compassionate leave.My family has been through a 5 year odessey of alzeimers and while everyone pitched in as family, emotional hell was magnified by financial issues and loss of income at times.Providing there are proper checks and balances I think the Liberals have a winner here providing.

    • The conservative bank bench called.

      a)they want another donation.

      b) they smirked and told you to take vacation leave.

  27. Hit the submit button too soon.S/B have a winner here providing the costs are as stated and not 2 mill turning into 2 bill like the firearms registry.

  28. Wait! Where's the money for new prisons?

  29. Vindictive Parliamentary Press Gallery circa 2006: "The Liberals don't have a platform"
    Revisionist Parliamentary Press gallery circa 2010: "The Liberals pitted big dreams against managerial Harperism"

    • The way I recall it, the problem wasn't that the liberals didn't have a platform, it was that they didn't have priorities, they were trying to implement every policy and program that every one of Martin and his supporters had been wanting to do for 10 years, all right now, at the same time (there was renewing the military — Martin's gov't started that btw, Kelowna, national childcare, renewed int'l development focused on Africa, the New Deal for Cities, the list went on, and there was no sense that all of these huge initiatives couldn't be implemented simultaneously).

  30. Great piece, Wells.
    I read it and immediately thought of the GST cut and the phrase "starve the beast" — tax cutting by conservatives that leaves a nasty deficit but is a deliberate attempt to scale back the ambitions and capacity of any activist government that follows. Iggy's smaller ambitions are a direct result of the GST cut.
    The way you point out the climate-change bet on Obama's waning popularity is also dead on and I hadn't considered it before.
    Harper does have a knack for seeing how things will play out two years in the future…

  31. Ignatieff has had another Seinfeld moment.

    While George steps out of the shower and is toweling off, Rachel walks in on him, stares briefly, and giggles as she leaves. George looks down, then yells after her, “I was in the pool!”
    [youtube 1cUNNKzj_Nc&feature=player_embedded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cUNNKzj_Nc&feature=player_embedded youtube]

    • Wow, that's juvenile. Freud much ?

      • "Ignatieff's shrinking ambition" ….. Title?

        Iffy tells Liberal caucus: ‘frustrated' with stagnation in polls

        Lorry Goldstein: Why are Rob Ford's critics so angry? because they are losing…

        Why are you leftist lacking a sense of humour? The fundraising on photo of PM wearing white cowboy hat leather vest not down?

        Cheer up Mulletaur leftist pollsters predict Liberals will make gains on Layton misstep on LGR. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzyyi4smgWw

        [youtube Zzyyi4smgWw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zzyyi4smgWw youtube]

        • I am neither a 'leftist' nor lacking a sense of humour. But that was juvenile. Thanks for confirming it by your overreaction.

      • How did that snuff film from 10:10 work out? Perhaps some of us don't get the British sense of humour right?

  32. So just to be clear then.

    To fund the homecare plan, liberals here would prefer to take funds from international economic conferences that facilitate jobs,

    or from our basic national defence that protects our children,

    than from the Adscam funds stolen by Liberals.

    Glad we cleared that up.

    • Outside of Tony Clement's riding, how did the G-20 facilitate jobs?

  33. And I'm glad we've also cleared up the fact that the simple notion of actually returning funds stolen from Canadian taxpayers at the hands of Liberals,

    draws not only disaggreement from liberals here, but outright scorn.

    • chet…do you know what fixed ideation is? Get help.

  34. Me to Wherry the other day: peter · 3 days ago
    I'm sure i don't need to go back to your pieces on the children at home $100/month benefit to guess your feelings on that proposal. Somehow Iggy's recycling of a Conservative idea is a major policy/idea breakthrough? It is not. I must admit though that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…nice to see the libs comin' around to some common sense thinking…and sweet to see you miss the irony. Report Reply
    10 replies · active 3 days ago

    You: In short, on this file at least, the Ignatieff Liberals are proposing to act much the same as the Harper Conservatives did when they brought in per-child cheques to parents, instead of state-organized daycare. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

    ps I drink Pil :)

    • Why don't you settle your score with Wherry over on his blog? What's Wells' piece have to do with it?

      Nice of you to tell us what substance is impairing your judgment.

      • Just to give a dig to guys like you, who fail to understand the political process and are utterly blinded by unrealizable ideas (based on wishing rather than being) and think that the obvious is a conspiracy. Are you dating Emily?

        Also the similarity in phrasing is somewhat spooky, ergo the quip that Mr. Wells owes me a beer. Also the Riders are playing T.O. today, check the logo on the field…you can take the boy out of the prairie, but you can't take the prairie out of the boy.

        • WTF?

  35. In and out. Ahh yes.

    I can understand how liberals here can equate Conservatives spending their own money,

    with Liberals spending money stolen from taxpayers in the tens of millions.

    Indeed that inability to see the bright line between what is theirs, and what is not theirs, was the Liberals undoing.

    How nice to see it still running deep in the current liberal mindset.

  36. Probably because they are not steadily campaigning like the Reformatories Harper 2005 -2010 continuous campaign from day one as the PM and probably because the media ignores the Liberals and make up their own opinionating comments. They the Media are nothing but a joke and I hope to see them go broke but wait…. they won't because they also have their hands in the Harpers till or should I say our pockets.

    Forget the Ad Scam excuse. That was over 15 years ago. What about lying Brians conservatives accepting money in envelopes which he confessed too. Now that's also the past so get on with the times and quit blaming the government who is no longer in the PMO. You people sure like to dwell on the past while ignoring the now. Most of you are probably to young to remember that but I am sure you people get your talking points daily from the PM's office.

    Try and remember that the liberals were penalized and lost the election and why you ask, simply because Canadians made them pay at the polls and so will they do the same for Harper. They know what a sham this government is and they will be at the next polls to boot his sorry a** out of there too.

  37. common senseless at it again. She hits everybodies blog with the same old lies. PS , their is no election called and therefore no campaigning going on by the liberals with the exception your cult leader who would sell his soul and his family to buy a majority. He has been campaigning since he was electd non stop using tax payers monies to do so and pulling the wool over your closed eyes and closed minds. Try and live in the now instead of in the past.

  38. The assessment of the costs of this bill as being modest is misleading. The costs of this bill are substantial, just not directly to the public treasury. If the number of people drawing from EI increase, then EI premiums will have to increase. Similarly, when you have employed people not working that means less economic output (and lower tax revenues), while posing a burden on employers.

    I'm not necessarily for or against this bill, I just wish we could have an honest and holistic discussion of costs in this country – one that includes concepts like opportunity costs, etc. Of course it may be the case that this bill entails insufficient funds with which to influence behaviour. In that case, it is simply a transfer of money from one group to another (much like Harper's cash for childcare program).

    Finally, some people have argued that this should be just like parental leave. I beg to differ. Child-rearing is a public good that provides benefits to society over the long-haul. The case for elder care as a public good is far far weaker. Who benefits other than the old person and presumably their caregiver? We provide elder-care out of a sense of moral duty, whereas we provide maternity leave because it pays a clear dividend (in terms of both protecting the place of women in the workforce, and in its positive impact on child development).

    Elder care is certainly laudable, but so are many things. Should we let people go on leave if they want to volunteer and help people? Why privilege filial obligations over broadly humanitarian ones?

  39. Cut subsidies to oil companies and farmers …that can easily pay for this and many more programs.