It's easy to be lulled into complacency with this Conservative government. They mostly stay out of trouble by being bland, boring and uncontroversial. Every now and then you're brought down to earth when you realize who these people really are. This past week we've had a series of developments that should give us pause.
1. They have brought forth a series of massive tax cuts and reduced the GST by 1 percent. Some economists think that some of that tax reward could have been better used as debt retirement or increased program funding after years and years of cuts. But it seems that nearly every economist including those strongly aligned with the Conservative party have said unequivocally that cutting the GST makes absolutely no sense at all.
2. The Chief of Defense Rick Hillier spoke openly about Afghanistan saying that it would take at least a decade to sort out that mess. This doesn't jibe with the official party line so he's been admonished and told to keep quiet. A few years ago some Military men gave George Bush more reasonable estimates of requirements and time lines for war in Iraq and they were sent packing or silenced and the results have been horrific.
3. Mark Warner was recently disqualified by the Conservative Party from running in Toronto Centre against Bob Rae even though he was democratically elected by his riding association. It seems they didn't take too kindly to him having opinions of his own about income and equality.
4. The Harper government refused to intervene in the case of a Canadian on death row in Montana citing that they didn't want to have such a monster like him back in Canada to serve a life sentence. The fact of the matter is that this person could serve life in Montana if he were given clemency and there would be no need to have him back in Canada. This is all beside the point. If you are a Canadian citizen you have the expectation to be defended by your country in accordance with your countries sense of justice and it is clear that Canadians consider capital punishment to be an abhorrent and uncivilized practice. What's surprising is that so many of the prominent Conservative Party members actually publicly support capital punishment.
5. The Mulroney saga got more interesting this week. It seems that he had accepted $300,000 in cash payments in secret meetings in hotel rooms and then delayed paying taxes on them until it became quite clear that people were going to find out about it. This kind of 3rd world opportunism is embarrassing to Canada and should be exposed and punished. And I know it's not just the Conservatives who have shady dealings in their recent past.
6. The Harper government continues to obfuscate and stall when it comes to environmental action. The old Progressive Conservative Party was much more palatable even with Mulroney at the helm when it came to environmental issues. With such a name one has to wonder what it is that the Conservatives are actually trying to conserve.