Tag Archives: Harper

Stephen Harper: Thriving on Pocket Book Politics

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The other day, someone I know was being told about the Tax Free Savings Accounts (an invention of the Conservatives) and they finally said “Why would someone ever vote Liberal with that kind of program in place?”

I didn’t really find myself asking the same question because I abhor Conservative politics (and they don’t really have policies, per se), but I did start thinking about how the Conservatives play the game and tried to put myself into the shoes of ‘the average voter’.

The epiphany came to me.  They don’t win on policy.  They win on what I now call pocket-book politics.

What exactly are ‘pocket-book politics’?

For starters, they capture the hearts of Canadians not by pushing an agenda based on hope or change or grand visions of the future.  No, these politics are based on a much simpler notion:  greed.

Pocket-book politics occurs when you vote for the Cons because you think you’re getting 2 cents savings on the GST, a tax brought on by the Mulroney Conservatives because they actually understood economics and weren’t as concerned about the political expediency of bringing in a consumption tax.

A 2 cent tax cut that has already cost our government at least $60 billion in lost revenues and counting.

Greedy voters decide that a 2 cent tax cut means something to them, so they vote for Conservatives.  However, they fail to see a difference when they buy their Timmies or their newspaper.  That’s because the greed has been transferred to the corporations that run this country.

Pocket-book politics is when you vote for the Cons because you can put money into the Tax-Free Savings Account, something that very Canadians can actually do because they either have a mortgage, can barely pay rent, might want to contribute to an RRSP or an RESP, or simply want to pay off some credit card debt.

Greedy people would want to find ways to minimize every single penny that they pay to the coffers of the government, all the while enjoying one of the best (but declining) health care systems in the world.  Greedy people look at the parts, but fail to appreciate the whole.

Pocket-book politics is when you vote for the Cons because you think $100 per month for your child will make a difference when it comes to proper day care and early education.  Greedy people simply keep breeding, not accepting the fact that every new mouth and consumer that we bring to the planet is destroying it at the same time.  Greedy people don’t even let their wives vote because ‘they belong in the kitchen’.

Pocket-book politics is systemic failure.  Ayn Rand wrote about self-interest (greed) as being the only valuable principle that everyone should have, and since the beginning of the 20th century, people on the Right have mimicked her ideology and converted it to Conservatism.

‘Me first, I don’t care about you’.

However, Ayn Rand and other Conservative intellectuals fail to account for three basic notions:  net present value, externalities and what I call the ‘Newtonian Physics of Politics’.  One could argue that they’re all related, but here are my thoughts on the specifics:

  1. Net present value simply tells us that the cost of our actions vastly exceed the value obtained.  Our consumer-driven madness is going to destroy us.  Soon.  This is the long-tail of real-cost or true value pricing.
  2. ‘Externalities’ are a concept used by economists and Conservatives to brush off the true current cost of doing business.  If we used ‘true cost pricing’ to account for the real cost of what we do, gas would be $5 per liter, using the train would be free and most consumer goods wouldn’t exist.  This is the short-tail of real-cost pricing.
  3. The Newtonian Physics of Politics is this:  for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  When we kill social funding, we put people on the street.  We depreciate the value of life itself and we indirectly invite them to bring their victimization to us, whether we like it or not.  Crime rises, thefts increase and the cost of keeping this world at bay becomes one of a security environment instead of a caring society.

In 2008, Barack Obama pulled the hearts and minds of American voters away from pocket-book politics and offered something much more ethereal:  change & hope.  Since then, we’ve again learned the adage ‘meet the new boss, same as the old boss’ rarely goes off course.

So despite what I’ve said, I have my doubts that all Canadians think in terms of real-cost pricing, ‘the bigger picture’ or what will happen to this planet when each of us dies.  If we all did, none of us would vote Conservative.

And despite the negative things that I’ve said about appealing to greed as a corner-stone of most Canadian voting decisions, it’s an unfortunate reality.

With that in mind, Canadian politicians in the progressive camps (although one should wonder if the Liberals are liberal any more after supporting the Cons for so long?) would be wise to develop a few simple tactics and pocket-book policies that affect all Canadians in a positive way.

Stephen Harper got massive press out of the GST cuts and I believe this was how he got elected two times running.  This simple measure gained his party enormous currency.

It should be easy for us (readers with Progressive Bloggers, others that like my blog) to come up with one or two ‘bullet proof’ concepts that can be put into action by either the Liberals or NDP to pull greedy voters away from the Conservatives.


  • No tax on interest income.  This is a little different from the TSFAs because it has a more basic sound bite and will appeal to all Boomer voters that are entering their retirement years and will have a disproportionate amount of their savings in interest-bearing certificates.
  • Deductible credit card interest to a maximum of $1000 per year per taxpayer (conditions would apply.  Example:  only available for people that make less than $25,000 per year).  While this is not a personal favourite (I prefer tools that discourage consumption), millions would vote for it.
  • Deductibility of public transit.  My favourite.
  • You will be paid to vote.  And you will be penalized when you don’t vote.  The intent is simple, based on a break-even promise and encourages all of those fatalists who sit on the sidelines to get their act together and vote out the Cons.

Another word of advice:  keep counter-measures in your back pocket, but be ready for a very basic response that can go unchallenged.  Cons will always push you for ways to pay for these kinds of promises (something the Liberals and NDP failed miserably at in the last elections when the Cons were making similar promises).

Harper’s CEAP: Canadian Environmental Annihilation Plan

Stephen Harper’s Canadian Economic Action Plan, or CEAP, would be much better described as the Canadian Environmental Annihilation Project.

Example 1:  Pushing turtle populations to extinction just to build 4 km of new road.

Why do these people hate the environment so much that any economic benefit MUST come with environmental annihilation?

Of the tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money that has been approved by the Harper Regime, why is it that so few are subject to environmental assessment?

Why do these people hate their children so much that they will sacrifice everything in order to make a fast buck today?


Submit Your Complaints to the ICC

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Now that Slippery Steve Harper has run out the clock in Parliament, we need to consider another and different point of action with the Afghanistan detainee torture issue.

So long as the Conservatives are running our country, our ability as a nation to govern ourselves and take the right and moral high road will be forfeit.

However, submitting complaints and organizing a petition to the International Criminal Court may be the answer.

Please take action.  Our dignity and pride depend on it.

The International Criminal Court ‘contact us’ page can be found here.

More details are pasted below.

For information

About the ICC, please contact
Laurence Blairon +31 (0)70 515 8714

About the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, please contact
Nicola Fletcher +31 (0)70 515 8071

To subscribe to the Press and Media Mailing list

Please complete this form and send it to : PublicAffairs.Unit@icc-cpi.int

To visit ICC

Postal Address

International Criminal Court
Po Box 19519
2500 CM, The Hague
The Netherlands

Canadian Election: Harper Good at Patronage Too

Full story here .

Even if we’re able to defeat the Cons, we’ll still have to muddle through a pile of political patronage appointments.  What to do in a situation like this?

In the future, should public appointments of this nature be made more public, even going so far as to give the public the right to vote on appointments like this?  Or is it a ‘bonus’ that all politicians should enjoy when they’re elected, shoving their ideology down the pipe?

One thing I know for sure is that you can’t blame the Liberals for any previous management issues, because the Liberals are long gone from having their finger on the political pulse in Ottawa.

It’s been blue since day one.

(Virtually All of) Canada Opposed to SPP

Canadians are not confident with the current approach that the Harper or Liberal government has with our international agreements, treatment of natural resources or national water policy.

These are virtually unanimous numbers.

The remaining 10% are probably those folks who also believe Bush is a good president.

Full Story Here.

These numbers are an indictment of the policies of both the Liberals and Harper government:

  • 89 per cent want an energy policy guaranteeing Canadian supply and protecting the environment, “even if this means placing restrictions on exports and foreign ownership of Canadian supplies.”
  • 88 per cent of Canadians want a comprehensive national water policy that bans bulk exports of fresh water and recognizes water as a basic human right. There are concerns water is not protected by trade agreements.
  • 87 per cent agree Canada should set its own independent environmental, health and safety standards, “even if it might reduce cross-border trade opportunities with the United States.” Council researcher Stuart Trew said the product-safety legislation introduced last week by the Harper government includes SPP goals for harmonization by allowing greater corporate oversight of products.
  • 86 per cent agree the SPP should be debated in the House of Commons and submitted to a parliamentary vote.

I have never seen more conclusive numbers than these in my life.

Meanwhile, anyone who challenges the SPP, even in fiction seems to face an early retirement:
CBC Drops Intelligence