a conservative heretic commenting on hypocrisy and stupidity in a world with too much of both
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Running Around In Circles And Going Nowhere But Down

Do you ever get the feeling that we are being led around in endless circles by politicians that, for the most part, just don’t have a clue about where they’re going or what to do about anything?

I thought so – me too.

For decades I’ve watched politicians make promises they don’t or can’t keep and offer solutions that don’t work because they don’t address the root causes of the problems we face.

Too many of our political leaders are indecisive, risk averse and ill-prepared to deal with the complexity of governing and it shows year after year as this country sinks deeper into debt, regional polarization and crumbling social programs and infrastructure.

There are a couple of exceptions, of course, but they tend to prove the rule rather than disprove it.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done a relatively decent job as have Premiers Brad Wall in Saskatchewan and Kathy Dunderdale in Newfoundland. The fact that all three are basically conservatives, if not in name, definitely by ideology is, I’m sure, merely coincidental.

In a country where it was considered almost de rigeur to make Newfe jokes mocking our friends on The Rock, it seems somewhat ironic that it is one of the few places in the country with an effective and focused leadership.

Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour or perhaps come from Newfoundland?

In Quebec, Premier Pauline Marois continues to prove that arrogance is a very poor substitute for ability or intellect. This past week, her government actually managed to vote against itself on an opposition motion. It takes a special kind of stupid to actually vote in favour of an opposition motion against your own government but Mme Marois and her gang that can’t shoot straight prove time after time that they qualify.

So disconnected from reality is the PQ government that it is elevating incompetence to an art form.

None of the key issues that the province faces are gripping the Premier’s notice.

She has moved to try and take control of EI from the federal government.  She has decided it is preferable for the citizens of Quebec to pay the Quebec government directly and the government in turn will then administer the EI fund. Aside from the fact that this merely increases the cost of government in a province already in a deficit position, the simple reality is that Quebec receives more in EI benefits than it contributes  — more than $1 billion more – which is money the Quebec government would also have to make up.

Mme Marois doesn’t concern herself with the trivialities of the real world and neither do most of her Cabinet.

Yesterday, PQ Cabinet Minister Bernard Drainville accused the federal government of trying to destroy Quebec by stealing Quebec workers and moving them to Alberta. He seems to be of the opinion that it is all a plot that is executed by Stephen Harper who personally drives the bus that sneaks into Quebec in the middle of the night to kidnap Quebecers and ship them off to Calgary.

It never occurs to self-deluded people like this that just maybe their citizens are leaving because the PQ is destroying the province and some Quebecers are looking for employment and a more stable life than the ongoing divisive and destructive stupidity in which the PQ are engaged.

Remember the student protests last year and how Mme Marois marched in solidarity against tuition increases proposed by the Liberals? Guess who is proposing annual increases tied to the rate of inflation? She has also slashed spending to post-secondary institutions which has the combined effect of job losses and increases in student fees imposed by those same institutions.

So much for standing in solidarity with the protesters but then, reality bites in a way that simple minds don’t seem to always grasp until it’s too late.

It isn’t much different in other parts of the country. The Council of the Federation seems to be comprised mostly of sel-impressed politicians who talk the talk but who walk around in circles accomplishing nothing except more debt, more confusion and more division.

In Ontario, which is facing an overwhelming economic crisis, unresolved scandals including possible fraud at Ornge Air Ambulance and an all-you-can-eat buffet of other problems, now has a new premier, Kathleen Wynne, who is vowing to build on that legacy. You have to admire her spunk if not her logic. She kicked things off by increasing the size of her Cabinet and there are now more Liberal MPs in the Cabinet than the rest of her caucus.

I suppose that’s one way of stabilizing the economy for some.

For their part, the opposition parties talk tough but carry little sticks. They aren’t very excited about the prospect of an election so even though they know that most people in Ontario are angry and want the Liberals out – they continue to talk about making government work because “nobody wants an election.”

I always get worried when politicians start talking about making government work because it always means making government work out for them not ‘we the people’.

None of the three leaders seems prepared to acknowledge that according to a recent survey none of them had earned the confidence of any significant percentage of the electorate let alone anything even coming close to a majority. They will, of course, ignore that. Weak and directionless politicians always do.

In the United States, President Obama who is also facing high unemployment and a budget deficit spinning out of control has decided that the solution to improving educational opportunities to benefit economic growth is to spend more money on kindergarten.

Somebody should take him aside and point out how well that worked in Ontario.

Stupidity flows like water these days and too many politicians learn nothing from each other or from history.

In Alberta, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the Redford Conservative government and a runaway NDP train or perhaps more accurately a private club where privilege reigns supreme for its members.

Along with allegations of cronyism and bad policy comes a scathing Auditor General’s Report which among other things shows that employees of the Alberta Health Services enjoyed $100 million in expenses. It’s an amount so staggering it makes the Canadian Senate look positively frugal.

In Nova Scotia, premiers were presented with lavish gifts courtesy of the Nova Scotia Government and the largesse of Scotian taxpayers who you have to believe were thrilled to see their money being used to further adorn the privileged.

And then there is Premier Christy Clark’s Magic Kingdom, British Columbia.

After the latest jobs report that has pretty much shown the Premier’s much hailed jobs strategy has been an overwhelming failure, the dear lady has announced a new and glorious initiative called the Prosperity Fund. Put simply, if her failed government is reelected, the province will oversee the development of the province’s Liquid Natural Gas resources and all will be well like magic.

The fact that the industry has not signed on to her grand strategy and has real concerns about its financial viability is irrelevant to the Premier. It will happen by magic and all will be well in the kingdom. To be fair, if the industry did buy into the program and it went ahead as announced by Premier Clark, it has real potential but….

…that is, of course, predicated on a number of additional ‘ifs’ including the price of gas doesn’t fall, demand for gas doesn’t fall, subsequent premiers don’t raid the fund for pet projects or some other issue that Ms Clark is notorious for ignoring when she is putting together a plan. (In much the same way she overlooked talking to the industry before making her announcement).

If it does somehow all go according to plan, however, it’s a good idea if you don’t mind waiting for thirty years to deal with the problems you are experiencing today.

But then that’s the other upside of politics. If you plan well enough, you’re retired before the chickens come home to roost on the stupid, self-serving decisions you made while you were in office.

There are so many other examples that you could write a book and many have. Billions have been squandered on failed projects, mistakes, bad policy and simply mismanagement. Only government could spend so much money and still have so little to show for it. Only government could have access to so much money and still be in such deep debt.

With few exceptions , it comes down to a simple reality. Most of our political leaders haven’t got a clue. They talk like they do; they pontificate, they swagger, they warn, they blame (always someone else, never themselves) but in the end, they just run around in circles.

It is like a circular reference in an Excel spreadsheet; an equation with no answer because the mistake is built into the original formula.

The problems facing Canada are not unemployment, budget deficits, spiraling health care costs or crumbling infrastructure. The problem is politicians and their governments who lack the intellectual capacity to deal with those issues in a professional and consistent manner.

Government is no place for fools but unfortunately, it seems to have become the single greatest career opportunity for too many of them.

Considering how badly many are performing; it might be a good idea to learn how to speak Greek.


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  • old white guy

    it takes courage to say no to those at the trough. our current crop of politicans of every stripe lack that courage . i guess when getting re-elected is your main goal concern for the results of your policies are secondary. i think all politicans at every level should have term limits. there are more than enough talented people to do the job. oh, and no pension related to the service.

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I used to think it was just a lack of courage or an overabundance of vested self-interest but increasingly I am convinced that most of them just haven’t got a clue what to do. I think it was better when they were corrupt than just plain overwhelmed. Too many of these men and women just don’t understand the issues. They have schemes rather than knowledge. The current idea they have is based on the last person or group with whom they met. It’s a frightening concept and one that is exemplified by Justin Trudeau who thinks he can run the country based on good looks and a charming personality. This isn’t American Idol, this is a nation and we not only need to know what he plans to do in office – we need him to know what he plans to do in office beside smile lovingly at us.


    Well Said!!! You have articulated my personal feelings to the letter..
    Thank YOU!!!

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Sometimes I get lucky. :-)