Sunday, June 24, 2012

A few more thoughts

To continue my post from yesterday.

F-35s  A while back I wrote a post questioning how the Harper government would react to the AG report that slammed their handling of this issue.  I stated that they had the opportunity to rethink the whole process for the good of the Canadian Air Force and for Canadians by reducing the amount of politics that had infested this file.  I also stated that they could do what Jean Chretien did and make the issue more political than it already is.  I questioned which approach the Harper government would take although I had a feeling that they would take the Chretien approach.  It appears I am right, which is not surprising because this government always lets politics trump good judgement and bad judgement for that matter.  Only two outcomes can come from this.  The Canadian Airforce will have to wait decades before they finally receive replacements for the F-18s or Canadians will be saddled with a huge bill for new fighter aircraft that will not meet all of the needs of the Canadian Air Force, which will have to make due with them for over 30 years. 

Dutch Disease   Mr. Mulclair learned a valuable lesson.  Tactics that work in the closed politics of Quebec do not work very well in the open politics of Canada.  There are too many diverse interests in the broader Canadian political scene to allow for the type of politics he displayed recently.  Fortunately for him and the NDP he has three years to learn this and maybe he will break the streak of provincial politicians who become leaders of federal political parties only to crash and burn in a spectacular fashion.  I would not hold my breath though if you are an NDP supporter.  The irony of this whole situation is his arguments did have some merit but he just did not take them far enough.  The current government's focus on the resource industries while it criminally ignores the manufacturing industries in this country will come back to haunt them and the country.  If either of the Opposition Parties can come up with a way to bring that situation into focus in a more constructive fashion they would be doing Canada a great service.  (Don't hold your breath on that score however.)

Microphones in our Airports  Mr. bin Laden must be laughing his ass off in Hell.  With one act he managed to do what countless Soviet politicians, diplomats, soldiers, spys, and agent provoceteurs failed to do during half-a-century of the Cold War, namely, cause the people of the West to accept increasing limitations on their rights and freedoms.  I am certain that some old Soviet spymaster in a Russian nursing home is kicking himself for not thinking of paying international terrorists to strike directly at the US.  The irony of this situation is the Soviet Union was a threat to our political institutions and our way of life while bin Laden and his ilks have never been and never will be.  Which is not stopping elements of the ruling classes of the West, who have a more authoritarian bent, from hyping up the terrorist threat for their own political ends.  The government finally backed off from activating these microphones (for now) after they took a great deal of political heat over them but the fact that someone actually thought putting these microphones in place was a good idea speaks volumes on how much citizens of the West have accepted giving up their rights and freedoms in the name of "security".

Saturday, June 23, 2012

An Omnibus Post?

This post is just some quick thoughts on some issues that have caught my eye over the last few weeks.

The Euro Crisis  It has been rather interesting to watch the slow motion destruction of the Euro.  The helplessness of the politicos in Europe to prevent it from happening is palpable as indicated by their elation at the Greek election results, which just staved off the inevitable.  What I find more interesting is how the conservative thinkers and politicians in the Eurozone will still not relent on the policies that they are demanding from Greece.  Do these conservatives really believe that the Euro will be saved by destroying the economy of one of the users of that currency?  Only an ideologue would believe such claptrap.  The only way the Euro is saved is if they show a little bit of flexibility.  If they do not they will just cause that which they are trying to prevent.

Egypt  The military is very clever in that country.  Throw their former boss under the bus during the revolution.  Delay elections as long as possible to allow the population to cool off and then rig the elections and the constitution to allow them to maintain the real power in the country.  The ones that thought they would be the beneficiaries of the revolution are left sputtering in rage and surprise and they and their supporters will certainly try to recreate the protests of the revolution but the majority of Egyptians will just turn away in resignation and nothing will change in that country.  I wrote a post when Mr. Mubarak was ousted last year that there would be no change in Egypt as a result of his ouster and sadly I was right.  Of course, now the military government will be completely illegitimate in the eyes of most Egyptians but they can live with that.  Such arrangements have worked well all over the world before so they see no reason why it cannot be made to work there. 

Syria  Mr. Assad is obviously not as smart as the Egyptian military.  He finds himself embroiled in a civil war whose outcome is far from certain.  The only certainty in all of that sad situation is the world will not intervene. 

Cheating during elections  There seems to be a pattern emerging with regards to the Conservatives not following election laws in this country.  They are not doing it as a party and it would appears that some individual candidates are not following them either.  We can expect the same from them in 2015 (2016?) so I wonder what the Dippers and the Liberals are going to do to counter that.

Supply Management  The Harper Government wants a seat at the table of the Pacific free trade talks and in order to do that he will probably have to put Canada's Supply Management System on the table.  That system is extremely popular in the rural areas of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.  You know, those places where the Liberals have been moribund for more than a decade.  If the Liberals entertain any hopes of becoming relevant again they had better fight to protect the Supply Management System.  If they cede this issue to the NDP they are done and if they are so stupid as to actually side with those that will dismantle the system then we will be watching them suffer the same fate as the Progressive Conservatives, circa 1993, during the next election.  I know all of the arguments against the system as I have made some of them but those arguments have existed since the system was set up and it has still lasted for more than four decades.  The reason of course is obvious, those who benefit from it fight to keep it and they punish anybody who would seek to tamper with it.  Anybody who knows the realities of politics knows that facts and logic are often trumped by base politics.  That is the reason why I have seen John Baird and Randell Denley signs on the lawns of a subsidized housing community during previous elections.  If Liberals will finally accept that simple fact and conduct themselves accordingly maybe they can take advantage of any ill feelings that might arise in rural Canada to political benefit and hope that those centrists voters in urban Canada, who would never vote NDP, grow tired enough of the Conservatives to switch to the only other party in this country that they would trust the economy to, the Liberals.