The New “Mr. Dithers”?

I’m not suggesting that’s a fair characterization of Michael Ignatieff, but it’s one that Craig Oliver attempted to apply to him on today’s Question Period.

Oliver seemed a little frustrated that he couldn’t manage to get Ignatieff to go out on a limb with regards to unconditional support for the coalition or completely implacable opposition to Harper’s forthcoming budget when parliament resumes at the end of January.

Obama: Things Will Get Worse…

President-Elect Obama has spent considerable time since Election Day trying to lower the unrealistically high expectations of his supporters. Here’s a summary of his interview with Tom Brokaw this morning on Meet the Press:

“The economic recession will get significantly worse before it starts to improve, President-elect Barack Obama said, seeking in an interview broadcast Sunday to tamp down expectations as he prepares to assume the presidency in 44 days.

“If you look at the unemployment numbers … the fragility of the financial system and the fact that it’s an international system,” the recession “is a big problem, and it’s going to get worse,” Obama told NBC News’ Tom Brokaw on Saturday. The interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Acknowledging that his agenda had changed sharply just in the month since he was elected, Obama said passing a short-term economic stimulus package was now his top priority.

“We’ve got to provide a blood infusion right now, make sure that the patient is stabilized,” he said, adding that the budget deficit, by some estimates more than $1 trillion, would have to be put on the back burner “for now.”

“We’ve got to get the economy moving,” he said.

Of course, here in Canada, there’s nothing to worry about. Everything is hunky-dory. Unless it’s not. But it could be really bad… maybe. It all sort of depends on…”stuff” that the Conservatives are trying to figure out right now. But I guess we have to cut them some slack because you know, the Dear Leader and his first-rate team of highly qualified, absolutely brilliant minds have been awfully busy and distracted of late, what with protecting democracy from a mad “power grab” and coup d’état by a rogue gang of communist subversives and treasonous enemies of the State.

100 Words

This curious addendum to an article in the Ottawa Citizen about petty infighting over the now infamously “botched” video response Dion made to PM Stephen Harper’s five minute address to the nation has an inadvertently poetic quality to it. A 100 words (and it is precisely that — I checked) describing Dion and the Coalition:

Beset with flaws.
Like a teenager proudly recording his first YouTube vlog.
A creepy coalition godfathered by backroom schemers.
Response looked like a hostage video.
Slap in the face to voters in the recent election.
In a world of hurt.
Where is Michael Ignatieff?
Coalition is toast.
Hard to believe Dion’s reputation could sink any lower.
A coalition if necessary, but not necessarily a coalition.
An expression of enormous optimism. (Substitute the word “delusion” for optimism.)
Talk about a collision, I mean collusion, oops, coalition.
No time for a Coalition of Losers.
Dear Santa: Help!

Regarding that last point, it’s now understood to be a “foregone conclusion” that Dion will be forced to quit before Christmas.

Fiddleris Moronicus


Aside from all of the shameful and, quite frankly, embarrassing shenanigans that have been taking place on Parliament Hill since the last session (briefly) opened until it was prorogued for the better part of two months, the true extent of our politicians’ reckless irresponsibility (plenty of blame to go around that can be assigned according to your partisan affiliations) is revealed in David Olive’s fairly detailed assessment of the current economic situation that appeared in this morning’s Toronto Star.

The contrast with our fellow industrialized nations could not be more stark. Collectively, the U.S., Europe and Asia have committed $2.6 trillion (U.S.) to jump-start economic growth, in addition to more than $2.7 trillion so far to bail out a crippled global banking system. The pump priming and financial-system bailouts are huge, in part to inspire consumer and business confidence – equal to 7 per cent of GDP in Germany, 16 per cent in China, 21 per cent in Britain.

The figure is 6 per cent for the U.S., where president-elect Barack Obama says: “We are facing an economic crisis of historic proportions … The truth is we do not have a minute to waste” in restoring economic health. Obama pledges federal spending aimed at saving and creating more than seven million jobs.

Ottawa boasts it has put stimuli in place equal to 2 per cent of GDP. It is referring to $2.5 billion (Canadian) in tax cuts implemented last year before the world economy went haywire, and that were accompanied by $4.3 billion in spending cuts, for a net stimulus that is in fact negative.

Rather than jolt new life into an economy slipping into what Ottawa acknowledges will be a recessionary period over the six months, ending next March 31 – itself an overly optimistic forecast in the opinion of most economists – Ottawa’s economic statement, or fiscal update, of Nov. 27 actually called for $2 billion in reduced spending. Advertised as a document to reassure Canadians, the statement recalled Abraham Lincoln’s dismissal of a debating rival’s argument: “As thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death.”

Robert Fairholm, director of economic forecasting at the Centre for Spatial Economics, one of the four companies the federal finance ministry relies on for its economic forecasts, calls Ottawa’s rosy projections a “fantasy.” He says in the absence of substantial new federal stimulus, the Canadian economy will shrink 0.1 per cent next year, in contrast to Ottawa’s stated expectation of 0.3 per cent growth. By contrast, boosting the economy by even $15 billion worth of federal investment would likely yield 1.6 per cent growth next year.

What should be especially galling to Canadians is that, to date, the Conservatives have not even begun the “consultation” process they now say must be carried out before introducing any kind of “stimulus” to kick-start the flagging economy. Perhaps had they hadn’t spent much of the summer electioneering across the country as a run-up to their utterly pointless, needless and arguably “illegal” election, much of this so-called “consulting” with various stakeholders could have been done during that time.

Moreover, as Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty now claim a fantastic amount of clairvoyance about the impending economic storm by rather laughably purporting that their GST cut and some other counterproductive measures were part of significantly bolstering the economy ahead of the Europeans, Americans, etc. — that is when they’re not disavowing a recession or alternatively claiming that it’s the greatest crisis in a generation, that there will be/or maybe won’t be deficits, or whatever fanciful, contradictory tale they’re spinning this day, week, month, etc. — then there’s absolute NO EXCUSE for not having taken the situation seriously rather than frittering away the last several months on a useless election and silly political games since that time.

“Drunk French Commies”

That’s how one commenter on YouTube described the coalition supporters protesting at Nathan Philips Square yesterday.

Keep it classy, Conservatives!

Speaking of classy: From the comments we learn that “SDA’s horde of mouthbreathers are posting photos and threatening to identify, track down and physically attack pro-coalition protesters.” How charming. And then they wonder why we sometimes regard them as fascists.