TVO’s Steve Paiken talks to “Harperland” author and Globe & Mail columnist Lawrence Martin about the impending election and how present events factor into the essential premise of his critical biography of Stephen Harper.

I’m inclined to agree with Martin’s conclusions about the budget as being an ostensibly innocuous, yet thoroughly disingenuous political vehicle calculated to provoke an election by stealth, even though the timing of events as things have worked out might possibly argue against such a conclusion.

That said, there’s no denying the observations made about many of the budget’s particulars having been meticulously crafted with no other purpose than to precisely target key electoral demographics with a host of largely symbolic rebates and paltry handouts tailored to the particular interests or activities of swing voters (e.g., “What can we do for folks whose kids play the violin… or for snowmobilers in Quebec?”). It’s quite a brilliant, albeit completely cynical, strategy aimed at the significant number of people that are disengaged from politics for the most part, but whose votes can be easily bought with their own money.

11 Replies to “Budgetland”

  1. So, its like every other pre election budget by every provincial and federal govt for the past what?..100 years? I’d just like to be the first to say that the guy I’m voting for is a cynical hypocrit but he’s soooo much better then the cynical hypocrit your voting for. I am now morally superior to you.

  2. Agreed. I didn’t mean to give the impression that that their pandering is a novelty. It’s more just a refinement of the practice.

    And there’s a little bit more to it than that, but unfortunately I have to run to catch a bus, so will have to pick up on that thought later on…

  3. …the guy I’m voting for is a cynical hypocrit[sic] but he’s soooo much better then[sic] the cynical hypocrit[sic] your[sic] voting for.

    Well, your cynical hypocrite is certainly better at being a cynical hypocrite…

  4. Bill: The other point I wanted to make was to note the difference between the pandering of old and what now seems to be fashionable. In the past, promises made seemed to be more things that were generally considered to be for the “greater good” that would benefit all. For example, it was always something of a joke in B.C. back in the days of W.A.C. Bennett that elections were directly connected to the construction of new highways, road improvement projects, or the completion of “mega-projects” like hydro dams.

    Now however it seems that the pandering is micro-targeted in small ways to curry the favour of certain segments of the population that are considered pivotal in “swing ridings” (or whatever else the rationale is for these incentives).

    It’s just a change in focus, I guess. But not one that’s for the better in my opinion.

  5. “I’m inclined to agree with Martin’s conclusions about the budget as being an ostensibly innocuous, yet thoroughly disingenuous political vehicle calculated to provoke an election by stealth,”

    This coming from a complete asshole who has never even read the budget.

    As a matter of fact Lawrence never even read the budget.

    Hey asshole. If you haven’t read the budget how is your comment worth nothing more than the paper I wipe my ass on?

    Harper is a weasel but Martin puts Harper to shame.

    If he thinks he is going to start a new career maybe Martin should contact the National Enquirer, or maybe the CBC.

    What an asshole.

  6. I have to admit, the “arts” credit almost made me puke.

    And I’m a card-carrying, money donating Conservative.

    The children’s activity credit in theory is to help us cope with ever growing (literally) children’s obesity and the resultant costs on our health care system.


    Now explain to me how paying money to a poetry club or a painting course is going to help address a current problem faced by our country and our families.

  7. There’s some of that eloquence from TPP that sounds like the two drunk guys outside of Kennington tube station yelling at a tree about football.

    Keep up the good work TPP. I think if you work hard enough you’ll be doing a perfect rendition of the guy at Ealing Broadway station who used to discuss calculus with the pay phones.

    Tea Party Patriot, reminding me of London Underground drunks one post at a time.

  8. TPP: I have a little secret device known as a “newspaper” that gives me a handy synopsis of the budget written by people that are paid to slog through things on behalf of their “readers”…

    Oh, and another thing, you don’t actually have to wade through the entire budget to deduce its overall intent and purpose. This concept is something that people like to call “critical thinking”. Maybe you should investigate the notion before spewing your mindless, irrelevant venom.

  9. What is your grand life struggle, other than your losing battle with literacy?

    Low self-esteem due to having remained stunted since peaking during the fleeting and ultimately, socially meaningless period of high school ?

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