Spending Within Our Means

A little blast from the past — specifically, October 7, 2008.

Of course, the fact of the matter is that the government was already running significant operating deficits at that time and, I could be mistaken on this, but I believe in August the shortfall was $6 billion for that month alone, with a projected cumulative deficit of… does anybody know? As of today, I mean. $50 billion… $75 billion. I know it started at $33.7 billion (I love that point seven — it was a delightful flourish that made it sound so accurately precise) but where the heck is it at now? Maybe the Conservatives’ spanky, heavily-advertised “Action Plan” website should have a real-time debt clock running on it.

Also note the little slogan behind Harper in one of the speeches featured here: “Leadership. Certainty.” Almost too funny for words considering the events of the last year following the needless election he called purposefully attempting to avoid the impending economic crash (that he denied existed up until the reality of its recessionary effects smacked him upside the head).

The R-Word

Jim Flaherty discusses the state of the Canadian economy with Steve Paiken on TVO’s The Agenda program a little while back.

“The election was called in September. No one in September, no one had ever suggested the Canadian economy might go into a recession,” said Flaherty.

Um, no. That’s simply not true. Moreover, by the very first week of October all of the economists for the major banks were loudly warning “that the domestic economy’s current gloom will deepen into something worse than a recession.” It’s almost impossible to believe that Harper and Flaherty weren’t fully aware of this possibility in September, if not well before that time.

What Sully Said


Palin seems to have become something of an obsessive fixation with Andrew Sullivan, but it’s damnably hard to fault his reasoning… or the visceral disgust:

This deluded and delusional woman still doesn’t understand what happened to her; still has no self-awareness; and has never been forced to accept her obvious limitations. She cannot keep even the most trivial story straight; she repeats untruths with a ferocity and calm that is reserved only to the clinically unhinged; she has the educational level of a high school drop-out; and regards ignorance as some kind of achievement. It is excruciating to watch her – but more excruciating to watch those who feel obliged to defend her.

It’s certainly a complete mystery to me.

Update: Priceless commentary from Slate via Canadian Cynic:

“Train wreck” is being charitable – it’s more like a train derailing on a bridge, tumbling a thousand feet into a canyon and landing on a pile of old dynamite and gas drums. And then a jumbo jet crashes into the flaming wreckage. Followed by an earthquake that causes the whole mess to slide off a cliff into the sea, where the few miraculous survivors are eaten by sharks…

Or to borrow from Monty Python (in regards to a rather unfortunate castle): “Then it burned down, fell over, and then sank into the swamp…”


Here’s an interesting find by the good folks at National Newswatch that might be worth keeping tabs on in future. Satire Canada (SatCan for short) describes itself as “a site that marries satire with statistics, providing a weekly measurement of what is being said by who, and to what effect.” The following is a breakdown of their methodology:

Each week, we examine the editorial cartoons published in 30 newspapers taken from newspaper clippings and publisher websites (great morning reading) as well as segments from CBC’s Rick Mercer Report and This Hour has 22 Minutes. Each item is reviewed by one of three readers who fill out a custom-designed content analysis questionnaire. The questionnaire contains a number of variables, including: author, news outlet, owner, the presence of social issues (such as privacy, human rights violations, media censorship, pollution, police brutality, etc.), topic, the context (national, local, international), key stories, the subjects used/targeted by the satirist, and even their relative tone to one another. Moreover, each item is weighted within the survey based on its estimated audience reach. We use NADBank (the annual survey of Canadian newspaper readership) and Nielsens television data to weight each item based on the number of Canadians the satirical item would likely reach. That’s what we mean by a story or subject’s “profile” or “exposure” – the estimated size of the audience that subject or topic would likely attract that week. Intercoder reliability tests are also conducted to ensure that our coding is consistent over time. By examining the data, we hope to point out what issues political satirists are highlighting, where and to what effect.

According to their “media trends” overview from the past election: “One-in-five Canadians exposed to political satire during the campaign saw a cartoon or skit that portrayed Liberal leader Stéphane Dion as physically weak: a characterization that was often contrasted with a ‘strong’ Stephen Harper.” Hardly a profound or even insightful take, but probably one that fairly matches the perception of many people.

Which kind of begs the question as to what came first; the caricature or the pseudo “reality” of that being a fairly typical representation of his essential character? In some respects the satirical depictions begin to almost take on lives of their own that are quite independent of the object of ridicule in many ways as they increasingly become part of the satirist’s own particular narrative or editorial point of view (think of Mark Fiore’s harshly drawn Bush character, for instance, or Dewar’s cartoon version of Dion that always appears as a spindly, somewhat hapless elf dressed in green).

It’s interesting to speculate as to how and when such impressions become generally accepted — and gauge how potentially damning that can be to the reputation and viability of the actual politician or target of the mockery.

Why Young People Don’t Vote

I’ve been following Dan Speerin’s caustic observations on the election and they were one of the brighter things about the whole dreary affair. Here, he talks about the perennial difficulty that politicians and the media seem to have with the supposedly feckless “youth vote”…

Mapping the Results

Vancouver-Victoria Election Map
Vancouver-Victoria Election Map

Not to dwell on the outcome of the election or anything, but it’s fun to pore over the interactive map that CBC provides on their excellent “Canada Votes” site (whatever you may think of the Mother Corp. they really do a bang-up job on providing a comprehensive resource for election data and related materials).

Anyhoo… if nothing else, the map demonstrates in quite dramatic fashion how marginalized the Liberals have become, isolated for the most part to core urban areas of the country and the Atlantic provinces. Not news, but interesting to see represented in map form.

Beyond the Facts

With many people wringing their hands about the low voter turnout in our “Groundhog Day” election, this seems kind of timely.

Gee, why aren’t more people engaged with the political process…? It’s a complete mystery, isn’t it? Be sure to check out the earlier thread about what’s wrong with American politics for additional clues leading to a possible answer.