I have been away from the internets this evening...but looky what the cat has dragged in...
Under the guise of the world economic crisis, the incompetent Conservatives who have spent the cupboard bare and slashed the GST to the tune of $13 billion a year in revenues are apparently thick enough to attack the public financing system for political parties: "Tories to slash all party funds, MP perks in economic update." Where to start with this bomb the Conservative flame throwers have launched? I'd say with a cool head to begin with. There are so many aspects to this to consider, it's so misguided.
First off, it's a pure political stink bomb. When people are losing their jobs, when the auto industry is in the crapper, when Canadian financial institutions are having liquidity difficulties due to the world's crunch...this is what the Conservatives come up with. A proposal that is purely about partisan politics. Destroying the financing of the opposition parties that they and the Conservatives have lived with for years now and on which they plan and run their activities as vibrant participants in our democracy. Suddenly, at a moment's notice, the Conservative anti-democrats want to take that away like a rug swooshed out from under parliament's feet. Are they kidding with this? Talk about smoking out the Conservatives for their basest instincts. They don't want a functioning democracy. They want to destroy the opposition, principally their main rival, the Liberals. The current economic crisis, world and Conservative induced is not a licence to destroy the pillars of our democracy.
Secondly, in terms of strategy, if I were an opposition party leader or influential staffer or someone in a position of authority, I would be thinking about setting up an all party meeting of the opposition parties, pronto. Adopt a united front on this. Indicate that any legislation including this provision will be voted down due to its sideshow nature, number one, as it does nothing to make up for Conservative financial incompetence. And secondly, it will be voted down due to its anti-democratic bent. Watch them back down.
Thirdly, well, if they want to amend the party financing system, then bring in legislation. Respect the democratic process we have in this country. Let the opposition parties contribute their plans too. But again - this is a sideshow in the middle of these economic circumstances. Is it too much to ask that they be serious?
Fourthly, the opposition should consider serious discussions about forming an alternative to these clowns. This floated trial balloon demonstrates that quite clearly. If they can't oversee our democracy properly but want to slash and burn it with such proposals that are on no one's top ten list, then people will have to stand up. No matter the party circumstances.
Carry on in the blogosphere on this one...I'll be back later. There's lots to chew on, that's for sure.