Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Memo To Garth

Even in exile, Garth Turner continues to be the most accessible and open-minded politician I know, and I would vote for him again in an instant (and received confirmation tonight that he is, in fact, willing to stand as our Liberal candidate in Halton again - yay!). However, being that the two of us represent, in some ways, the left wing and right wing of the Liberal Party, I suspect that we will continue to disagree on several issues.

I took him to task on a few of these tonight on his blog. Here is my response to his post on Michael Ignatieff:

I fear that I will have to disagree with you on a few points (but you know I still love you!).

1) The Coalition was not a dumb idea - it was an excellent idea with a very short shelf life (and what exactly would you have proposed as an alternative? More abstentions? Yet another election?). It may well have outlived its usefulness as leverage now that we have a leader who might actually pose a threat in an election, but at that time, in those circumstances, I would maintain that it was a brilliant manoeuvre that achieved the desired objective. And if nothing else, it got people passionate about Canadian politics, as well as dispelling the image of Liberals as wimps. Crazy bastards maybe, but wimps no more.

2) Mr. Ignatieff was on entirely the wrong side of the 'one member, one vote' debate, no matter how impractical Rae's proposal may or may not have been. Lloyd Axworthy is absolutely correct - there was a real opportunity here to engage people in the political process in a way that the last election failed to accomplish, and it ended up just being the same old same old. Ignatieff needs to get on the right side of this right now and push for OMOV at the convention, or I can guarantee the party will see a shocking decline in membership in coming months.

3) Sorry, I know it's your thing, but it's going to take far more than tax reform to make a real difference in people's lives and get them through this crisis. Having an income tax break or a tax-deductible RESP or an uptick in the TSX isn't going to make a damned bit of difference to someone who DOESN'T HAVE A JOB! What WILL make a difference is
a) job creation by any and all means, and
b) strengthening the social safety net for those who, inevitably, will find themselves unemployed or under-employed.

Infrastructure. EI reform. Investment in sustainable industry. Tax breaks and subsidies for industries where that actually creates jobs (like, say, the film industry), and SFA for those who will just use the money to get themselves out of the red and ship the jobs to wherever they can pay people the least in the name of "profitability". THESE are the things that will help real people in real, meaningful ways. Then we can look further down the road and look at how we can make our economy more resilient and less vulnerable to the whims of the global market.

That's all for now.

Lots of Love,

Your own personal bothersome left-wing social conscience

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