Monday, October 01, 2007

Bob Rae on Federal Spending Powers

Bob Rae has a piece about Federal spending powers in today’s Globe and Mail. I think this approach has some potential, but the Liberals badly need to add flesh to what is still a bare bones idea. Indeed the programs and initiatives that Rae mentions are either still in planning stages or are recycled “beer and popcorn”.

Canadians who want their federal government to support early childhood education, decent housing, cities that work, a healthy environment, new initiatives in health care, more mobility for students, better research and stronger universities should be appalled at this emasculation.

The Liberal’s early childhood education program is never going to be the vote getter they hope it be so long as it remains something far less than a universal program. After all, the more the Liberals talked up the desperate need for more child care the more inadequate and lackluster their proposal appeared and the more attractive the Conservatives universal baby bonus appeared. Many voters figured that a $1200 bird in your hand is better than 15% chance of nailing two in the bush.

I also think Rae and other Liberals are going about this backwards. The Liberals should first propose what is bound to be a popular universal program (e.g., public dental care) that would be administered by the provinces and note how Harper’s proposal to emasculate the Federal government would prevent such a program and others like it from being implemented. In politics it always best to go from the specific to general than from general to specific. That is why it is nearly impossible to talk about violent crime with any intelligence. The starting point is always going to be some violent crime. Lastly, some Canadians, particularly in Quebec, are not likely to favor everything on the list and may be willing to sacrifice a particular federal program if it means that Federal government will stay out of others.


Anonymous said...

The Liberals are doomed in Quebec. So who cares what Quebecers think? Signed Jamie Carroll.

Koby said...

ha ha ha. Outside of Montreal the Liberals indeed doomed. The Conservatives, on the other hand, are doomed on the island.