The latest attention-grabbing tactic is to scare Canadians over a possible election. But it doesn’t scare Canadians—it frustrates us. Canadians want to see their politicians getting some work done, instead of issuing empty threats designed to distract people from real issues.
When you live in a big city, you see a lot of smoke caused by car pollution and industrial factories. But in Ottawa, when you see smoke, it’s usually just a politician trying to grab some unnecessary attention from the public.
The latest attention-grabbing tactic is to scare Canadians over a possible election. The Liberals have been doing this for months, threatening to defeat the government over this or that, only to back down at the last minute. Their game has become predictable.
But it doesn’t scare Canadians—it frustrates us. We just had an election less than a year ago, one that barely changed anything in Parliament. Canadians want to see their politicians getting some work done, instead of issuing empty threats designed to distract people from real issues.
In June, the Harper government released its Stimulus Spending Progress Report, the second of three reports requested by the Liberals in return for supporting the Conservative budget. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff responded by claiming to want more information on Employment Insurance reform, stimulus spending and the isotope shortage—or else. But in the end, Ignatieff took the same path as his predecessor Stephane Dion and simply backed down, agreeing once again to support the Conservatives.
More information? With a demand like this it’s hard not to wonder if Ignatieff is even listening to Canadians. If he was, he would already know that Harper’s EI plans are insufficient, that stimulus spending is barely trickling down (if at all) to municipalities for much-needed road repairs and job-creating construction work, and he’d know that Canadians across the country are being forced to reschedule life-altering tests simply because there aren’t enough medical isotopes.
It is clear to me: the Conservative government has failed to act appropriately during the economic downturn and the Liberals are letting it happen. On all counts—national finances, stimulus spending and help for hard-hit families—the Conservatives are failing and the Liberals are doing nothing but propping them up. In fact, the Liberals have voted for the Conservative agenda 79 times in a row.
Only the New Democrats are presenting an effective opposition to the Harper government. We won’t provoke an election just to get headlines or scare people, but unlike the Liberals, we won’t rubberstamp Harper’s policies either. If Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals were serious about fixing EI, they would have done it with Jack Layton in January instead of blindly backing the Harper budget all this time.
Over the spring months, New Democrats introduced a comprehensive plan to help struggling Canadians cope with this recession. It included EI reform to ensure more people get fairer benefits, retirement security to help seniors and consumer protection that puts the brakes on outrageous bank fees. A majority of all MPs supported our plan, proving they believe New Democrats are on the right track.
What did Ignatieff and the Liberals accomplish during that time? Empty threats, scare tactics, and a request for two flimsy progress reports from the Conservatives that they themselves admit are disappointing.
As Parliament resumes in September, New Democrats are continuing to work as hard as ever to get relief for middle-class and working families who are being squeezed in this recession. We’re not scaring or frustrating Canadians with threats of an election. We’ve made it clear all along—we’re busy doing what’s right for families like yours.
Author: Rupinder Kauris Press Secretary for Canada’s New Democrats