Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Four Horsemen Appeared - Debate 2011

It can't be helped, my first thought on the debate was "Why is that not Rick Mercer?" Not that I think he would lend anything useful to the debate, but mostly because I like his face. The inaugeral question  is about how the Conservatives can justify corporate tax cuts when "ordinary people" are struggling for income. The man leading the debate states that the leaders know the rules of the debate and agree to stick to them, which is kind of hilarious considering I don't think they do, but how would we know? Much like parliament.

Harper: There are currently no corporate tax cuts in the budget, we did that years ago, but we do not plan on raising corporate taxes since it will just hurt our economy.
Duceppe: Congratulations on actually answering a citizen's question. You spent money needlessly and recklessly on the G8 summit. Can we have that report?
H: It's the Auditor General's report but, we stand by our expenditures.
D: In 2008 you didn't think there was going to be a recession, contrary to evidence. We saved Canada by ignoring your desire to cut corporate taxes. Why hasn't the forestry sector in Quebec been given as much money as the Automobile sector in Ontario?
H: In 2008 we pulled out a huge stimulus package. We are currently helping the forestry industry in Ontario; the auto industry is less interesting.
D: Was there a stimulus plan on November 14, of 2008?
H: That was a fiscal update, not the budget.
D: Lies! There was nothing about a stimulus plan.
H: It would have been good if you had supported it, but you voted it down.
D: It hung the forestry sector out to dry.
H: In Quebec, we were supporting the industry, you guys voted against it.
D: You gave NFLD/LAB money to build hydro industry, but we financed ours by ourselves, without a single penny from federal government.
H: We treat all provinces equitably, we've supported you elsewhere.
Ignatieff: Hey, let's kick this back to the real question: How can you justify $6 billion in corporate tax cuts and the G8 issue? That wasn't a 'stimulus plan', you wasted money then lied about it.
H: Again, the auditor general said that report was not reliable. We stand by our expenditure. (Ignatieff yells about how they were not approved by public officials) We are not lowering corporate taxes. If we raise their taxes they will raise prices.
L: You are approving corporate tax cuts, why are you lying? Plus, Ignatieff supported those cuts. You used to care. What changed? What day did the music die?
H: No, seriously, no tax cuts. For real, real. We're maintaining health care transfers and stuff.
D: Jim Flaherty went on record saying they had a list of programs that would be cut to reduce the deficit.
H: We don't need to cut programs. We're cool.We're going to find 5% in 'efficiency cuts'.
I: You are cutting, you have cut, you will cut. You caused the recession.
H: You picked on me, and now we have an unnecessary election. We're still doing okay. The jets really need replacing. In five years we'll spend money, then have them for twenty years. You can't promise to cancel them.
(Incomprehensible arguing at this point)
L: The billions you will spend will come from cuts to necessary programs. The policies are creating a horrible economy - we need to be more responsible.
H: We have balanced policies; remember how we are totally out of this recession?
D: "How much cost a plane?" We need proof for that. Come with facts, figures.
H: We've been clear about the plane budget. It's five years away - screw it. You can't pay for promises today by cancelling an expenditure five years away.
I: How could you favour the G8 summit when you could have done so much for programs with that money? If we raise corporate taxes to 18% we could educate everyone!
H: We can't raise the taxes, we have to grow the economy. It's a competitive tax rate. Now that we're in to corporate tax cuts, we're in it to win it. We are getting investment from this.
L: The businesses waste it though, and we have no say. Let's give money to small businesses that will do for certain what we want: Job creation.
H: We have cut rates for every business. That's why the Canadian Chamber of Commerce doesn't support any other party's tax plans.
L: Oh! They totally supported us!! Check your sources, k?

Question two from Mississauga, What is the leader's visions for Canada on the international stage? What will each of you do to resurrect our positive image on the national stage?
I: The summit sucked so bad that we were denied our security seat in the UN. Mr. Harper can't stand up for democracy or freedom.
L: The senate just blocked bill C-393. No wonder the rest of the world thinks we're douchebags. Our foreign aid budget is dead. We should be bringing our troops back from Afghanistan, but now we have 3 more years.
I: We're bringing back the combat troops; but we can't abandon the Afghani people. We've got to stay in as a training force.
L: You sound like Harper. We're focusing too much on our troops, and it's over-shadowing other concerns. I have a question for you now.
I:  So we should just ignore the sacrifices that were made?
L: We need a new approach. How can Canadians trust you when you say one thing, then do another. You supported tax cuts. Now you don't. You supported the HST. You are Mr. Harper's best friend.
I: Don't change the subject! We care deeply about Canada's foreign image.
L: So why did you freeze the Foreign aid budget?
I: I do want African aid solutions.

Harper: Obviously Afghanistan is important. We are engaged and contributing, we should be united in that belief.
D: When I see our foreign policy, I hate it - they are a strain to our Canadian history.
H: When you talk about our values, right now in Libya we have people lead by a Canadian protecting civilians from atrocities.
D: You wanted to go into Iraq.
I: You lost our seat, that was a lock and you lost it. The summit was stupid and you did it anyway. Why did you cut KAIROS funding? You shut everything down. You want too much control! You show too little respect for democracy.
H: I was just at an international meeting for foreign aid. the recession was because of the global economy, the summits helped with that, including helping the world out of debt. They are important.
L: Why are we being cited with contempt? Why are we so secretive? You are so closed off! Give us the G8 report!
H: Oh yah, I'd love to, but the Auditor General said no. (Many objections from the other leaders here) We are recovering so well, but this election might ruin it. We need to get back to work!
I: We're having an election because you hate democracy and we have no confidence in you. Minister Oda mislead the House of Commons. You lied and destroyed democracy.
H: That's simply not correct. We have independent confirmation. You guys ganged up on us. Canadians don't want this focus on squabbling, but we have it anyway.
D: When you were the opposition you said the PM should always respect the HoC, all else is immoral. So why, now that you are the Prime Minister, is it okay to mislead the House of Commons?
H: We've run the longest minority in history, we try to listen to everyone, but we're not always going to agree. Deal with it.
L: The HoC brings things up that you reject, like our climate bill. You killed it with the senate that is made up of your cronies. Why do you hate democracy?
H: We're opposed because it just sets targets with no plan. We're achieving the same ends with other , more effective policies.
L: You don't really want to stop climate change. You have buddies in the oilsands!
I: You shut down good organizations because you disagreed with them. You need to respect democracy. Our international image suffers because our domestic view on democracy is butt.
H: Our foreign aid is largely private and we aren't shutting them down. We have many that are doing good. We are making a difference,
D: *statistics* What is the explanation?
H: Are those foreign aid statistics? We haven't reduced foreign aid, we're just making it more efficient.
D: You wasted money on GM in Detroit!

Question three: Sam Diamond asks since the next government is likely to be a minority, how are you going to work with the other parties to work well and efficiently?
H: I hope it's a majority. This is stupid. We've tried to play nice.
I: Does anyone remember the contempt? Remember him shutting down the gov't twice? He just wants control! We have to rebuild our democracy now.
(There is a pause, filled with silence)
Steve: C'mon guys - stick it to each other!
H: Yah, thanks. Hey, we put in a budget, it had good stuff, and everybody liked it, but if you guys give me another minority, we'll go through more elections.
I: You haven't earned a majority. You don't trust us. You threw someone out of your meetings. You don't trust Canadians. Why are you afraid?
H: I've been everywhere, We've stayed connected to Canadians. This bickering isn't any good for Canada. We trust Canadians' judgements.
I: Nu-uh. You totally threw people out. Contempt. Shut down parliament.
H: Well you ganged up on us. Jeopardizing the economy.
I: You don't listen to parliament. Which is us, of course. You stiffed Parliament.
H: We have given you all the documents at all times. Opposition is not willing to take "yes" for an answer.
I: We aren't "bickering"; this is democracy. This is what democracy is.
Layton: Aren't these guys dumb? This is why Ottawa sucks right now. Sam's right, We should be able to work together. That can be a good thing.
H: We can work together. We have been for a while. You guys ganged up on us. We were doing fine. Also we totally had to carry Canada through the recession.
D: Well the Liberals didn't want an election so they took mercy on you. If a proposal is good, it's good. Back when Paul Martin was kicking around in 2004, if he lost confidence; Layton, you, and I had a letter for the Governor general of options other than an election. We supported you.
H: Hey, we signed a cooperation, but it wasn't a coalition. We weren't trying to replace the government; I wouldn't have done that. The Liberals won, you can't replace a winning government with a losing government. We respected that. Duceppe can't just pick the leader.
L: You were all set to be the PM. I left because I didn't want you to be.
D: I know what we did, I am the only one with no misconceptions.
L: You said there was no possibility of a coalition, Duceppe.
D: We agreed he would be the Prime Minister!
(Heated argument by all parties)
I: Coalition is out for me.
L: Oh I see, you are the only party available, eh? Well, we'll see what the Canadians want.
I: Of course, I would never presume to tell Canadians what they want. I respect everyone here, I'm just saying I don't want a coalition.
L: So why are you supporting him?
H: I'm just saying, I think if you get the seats, you get the government. Otherwise we had shadow councils deciding who runs the country.
I: Whoever gets the most votes get the chance to try for the confidence of the house.
H: Whoever gets the most seats gets the government. Not a chance to TRY for the house.
I: That's what I said!
H: Nu-uh. You think the house gets to decide with the public's recommendation.
D: You don't get a government with the most seats if don't have the confidence of the house.

H: The Tory party was not going to form a government when we lost the election in 2004 that makes no sense. We totally respect Canadians. I just really want a majority or else things are going to suck.
L: Harper could be happy with less than a majority of Canadians supporting him. There's something wrong there. We need to change our democratic system. Proportional representation. Also the senate should be abolished.
I: What really matters is if you can trust the leader. We cannot trust Harper. You haven't earned a majority because you don't respect our majority.
H: I don't believe the truth of what you are saying. We totally respect the process.
L: I gotta ask Ignatieff why he has the lowest attendance rate in parliament? If you don't show up you don't get a promotion. You missed 70% of the votes.
I: Because you don't respect the process, you haven't even earned a minority. Who is going to replace you? Liberals!

Question four From Montreal Quebec, how do you envision the global make-up of our country over the next thirty years?
D: We have to assimilate them, while respecting their differences. We are primarily French and English speaking; multi-culturalism is not a Quebec value. (He really shouldn't argue like this - we could use the same argument to assimilate Quebecois.) I'm a bloke who turned Bloc. (this is hilarious with his accent)
L: We are going to have continuing immigration because we don't have enough babies to grow our economy. Thank goodness we have a good immigration policy. Current policies don't let people bring over their families - meaning after working here, immigrants are leaving for back home.
D: Immigrants are good, but I'm tired of them being portrayed as criminals. (At this point I think he says they came from their home countries in "that kind of shit")
L: I agree, hopefully we won't have Harper. There's too much focus on the immigrant as a political/economic unit. They don't recognize credentials. We are trying to reverse that by mentoring people with someone in the field to gain the "Canadian" experience.
D: Would you agree that Quebec should be allowed to set its own immigration policies?
L: You do now, right? Yeah, that's important. That should apply.
D: What about Bill 101? That doesn't apply to transportation, telecommunications, or banks.
I: Hey, I'm an immigrant too! The key to successful immigration policy is mastery of the language. Why did the Harper government cut settlement funding? We need to focus on equality of rights.
H: We tripled settlement funding. We understand about multiculturalism, those who leave other countries want to belong to this country.
(Harper is lucky in that he can play up how awesome Canada is, get the patriot vote, and take credit.)
L: The program was inadequate, but why did you cut settlement services? Currently they arrive and there is no support.
H: We didn't. We totally tripled it.
L: Why are there so many temporary foreign workers?
H: We have people coming in with jobs, then they stay. Work helps people adjust.
I: I think if Harper had been in power when my dad was coming over we wouldn't be here.

H: Stop making cheap shots to "get points"
D: Why do you guys hate Bill 101?
H: We respect the division of powers enshrined in our constitution. Hey, talk some more about how you can't be Quebec and multi-cultural. One can retain their culture and still integrate.
D:  We don't want to create ghettos.
H: Hey! We don't make ghettos!
L: We should be keeping families together. Let's make a pact to do that together.
H: There will always be more people wanting in than we can let in.  Somebody's got to be left out.
I: We should take the politics out of immigration. It's currently "ethnic" and "Very ethnic". If we start micro targeting communities, pitting them against each other, we're going to break up a multicultural society.
H: I've made it my goal to help immigrants, and then they vote for us so Ha.

Question five, from Gibsons B.C is concerned about public safety. What are you going to do to deal with criminals and their light sentences?
I: Well, we shouldn't import failed prison policies from the U.S. Huge prisons are stupid. To be tough on crime, we have to be tough on guns. Gang violence is a huge problem. The registry is awesome. We have to learn from America's failures. Oh, and better victim's services.
D: A lot of demaggery [sic] on being tough on crime, but it is not so. "The criminal rate is declining." I agree American politics are stupid; they revolve around big guns and big prisons, but eliminating the registry is dumb. Police think so, Quebec thinks so.
I: Let's learn from Quebec's policy on offenders. I like it. There has to be consequences for actions. We need police resources, registry. Most people in our prisons haven't finished high school.
D: Mr. Harper said you won't "come back" on abortion. I worry about making abortion illegal again.
I: Oh, That's just politics of fear. You can't exploit crime victim's irrational fear. Like Harper does.
L: We've got to focus on crime prevention, like support for young people who may be tempted by "bling".
I: We need balance in this, not like Harper. Crime prevention will tip the kid towards high school rather than gang life. You can lock people up forever, but it makes people worse.
H: We're making investments in crime prevention programs. We had it in the budget, but that's stalled because you guys suck. We need to make sure the punishment fits the crime.
D: Instead of debating and getting experts, you just put everything in the same bill. You aren't even consulting people.
H: There were two bills; we've ended the practice of having offenders only serving 1/6th of their sentence before applying for parole, but you guys didn't like that.
L: "Why do we need so many more prisons when the crooks seem so happy in the senate?" but seriously, violence against woman would stop if we had more women in parliament. We're doing that. First nations and Inuit women have the worst situation. We need education, houses, clean water. We need to focus on these issues.Have I mentioned corporate taxes suck lately?
I: Please remember the Polytechnique massacre. Obviously to help women we need gun control. Harper will gut the registry, ignoring that the police use it. We don't send anyone in w/o checking the registry.
L: I don't support the registry. Stop using it to divide Canadians, we need real, effective gun control.
H: You can have gun control without the registry.  You are just harming hunters and farmers.
I: Woman don't care what type of gun it is - long, short, they're DEAD.
H: The registry doesn't work like that.

Sixth question is about health care - In the last health accord between provinces and the federal government, provinces were made responsible for wait times. What is next to improve the health care system?
L: Who do you trust? You should trust NDP. Because the NDP in a minority parliament brought forth the program. We've got to ensure ongoing funding. We can't wait, we have to hire doctors and nurses now. Fund home care and additional care, buy more beds. Harper didn't care to do anything about health care. In your budget you mentioned some rural community doctor credit, but moving them isn't a solution.
H: The 6% increase in gov't transfers to the provinces has been in every budget. We included ending the cap on medical expense income tax exemption.
L: Previous parties you've been in didn't support health care, but did support privatization. Why should we trust that you've changed?
H: I'm changed, baby, I'm a new party-man! No one should be denied health care because they can't pay
L: So, why is there so much privatization?
H: Alternative service delivery isn't privatization. We aren't going to punish provinces for new delivery methods, we just want results.
L: You aren't helping families right now.
D: Stop interfering with Quebec. That's our jurisdiction. We have to make sure they have the money but then respect the fact that they have expertise.
I: The feds have a place in health care, assuming it's within their jurisdiction. Health care shouldn't be different from province to province. Either spend on tax breaks, jets, prisons, big gifts, or health care. We've committed to a 6% increase in funding, how do we get drive and change?
H: We want to keep the economy on track, you guys cut a bunch of funding to get stuff for tax cuts.
L: Nobody wants to do anything for health care right now.
I: That's so not true, we've got a family care policy. We need more health, not necessarily more health care. Prevention is worth pound of cure.
L: That's a promise you can't keep.
I: Hey, you can't even get elected.
D: There is too much money in Ottawa if we are negotiating between bureaucrats and stuff we need. We should figure out who will give what to whom.
Steve: You all are promising a lot...can you actually deliver? (Who would say no?)
H: Of course. We are going to continue and maintain these programs.
L: It's about making choices. Harper's promising too much.
I: We'll find the money from corporations and jets.
D: Stop giving corporations money.

Layton's final: Liberals Conservatives suck. give us the chance to fight for you.
Duceppe: Quebec must become a country. But while we're tethered to you, we'll support you.
Ignatieff: Choose a government that respects democracy. Harper sucks. Family.
Harper: We're focused on the economy. We need a strong, stable, conservative majority.

Well, I'm glad that's over. It was entertaining as hell, but draining.

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