Monday, July 12, 2010

Tory times are malleable times

That's a riff on the old line, "Tory times are tough times." Turns out these days, Tory times are whatever the Tory brain trust needs them to be. Found these two items in the news over the past 24 hours to be an interesting illustration of the Conservative government's present messaging being all over the map. It's really quite confusing. Are we in tough times, requiring austerity measures, as the Prime Minister is lecturing the world and occasionally us at home given the size of our deficit? Or are we in major purchasing times, budget be damned, where a fleet of elite fighter jets can be purchased from Lockheed Martin at the drop of a hat? Which is it? So let's take a look.

On the one hand, it's so sorry, seniors!
Broad increases to seniors benefits such as the GIS or Old Age Security (OAS) are not on the drawing board however, Ablonczy said.

That's because poverty among seniors has declined dramatically in the past 20 years, and because raising the GIS or OAS is very expensive.

"It's an issue that has a lot of fiscal consequences at a time when, as you know, fiscal resources are under strain."
OAS benefits are increasing at negligible rates.

But on the other hand, it's hello, military!
Department of National Defence officials are preparing for an announcement next Friday on a new fighter aircraft, a project estimated to cost $16 billion.

Sources say since the purchase and its price tag are seen as potentially controversial, the government planned the announcement when Parliament wasn't sitting and public interest would be at its lowest because of summer holidays.
A clear illustration of the priorities these Conservatives have and the conflicting messages they're sending.

Maybe Liberals should consider proposing a rise in OAS benefits and a re-assessment of such Conservative choices. You know, in case that old election rolls around in the next 6 months or so. I don't know if it's a "Zero helicopter, Chretien" moment, but this could be something to look at. Why we need 65 elite "Cadillac" fighter jets at the moment, instead of say 25, or 15, or a gradual phase-in, or none at the moment given that our current fleet of CF-18s just received almost $3 billion in spending, is a question to consider.

P.S. Consider use of "Tory" above as a one-off, just due to the old slogan. They are not Tory. They are now Conservative and there is a big difference.