THE BLOG

Harper's Smoke and Mirror Government

04/12/2013 05:01 EDT | Updated 06/11/2013 05:12 EDT

The Harper government is a smoke and mirror government that confuses transparency with murkiness and should realize that such an approach usually results in the smoke smudging the mirror.

To begin with, the Conservatives managed to surf the system to a House of Commons majority with a minority of the popular vote, the result of a regrettable anomaly in our system. But, Harper and his minions (the new MP status in his government) manage consistently to blow smoke rings about a majority mandate. Smoke rings are hollow and transient, of course.

The smoke and mirror technique is simple. Wave some shiny mirrors in front of the masses and then blow smoke up their nose. Bally-hoo the removal of tariffs from some goods, hockey equipment and baby clothes (Canadian for "motherhood and apple pie"), and then bury increased tariffs on a wide range of goods from countries now removed from tariff exemptions because they are no longer deemed, "developing."

Claim that people who question the wisdom of waging war in Afghanistan simply want to "begrudge the resulting veterans proper treatment for PTSD and even decent burial subsidies. Cut their benefits when injured in situations that deny them the opportunity to even purchase workplace injury insurance as other Canadians can. Then, arbitrarily cut danger pay for soldiers left behind to shore up a corrupt Afghan government's army while boldly stating that this is not a cut, but the result of an annual review of such things.

Chastise ordinary Canadians for having high personal debt loads, but do nothing about the usurious rates on credit cards, or the charges to Canadian retailers for use of those cards. Slide injury under insult by allowing banks to force retailers to pass the cost of those transactions on to all consumers whether they use a credit card or not. Allow the banks to charge service fees that completely negate, if not exceed, interest rates on savings accounts - charge people to let banks use their money to invest, in other words.

At the same time, force wages down by allowing companies to hire foreign workers for 15 per cent less than Canadians on the excuse that no qualified Canadians can be found. Such qualifications can include fluency in Mandarin, apparently. Construct foreign workers laws and regulations with loopholes large enough to drive a bank (or more) through. With this system, those unqualified Canadian workers are required to train the qualified foreign workers for the work the trainers are unqualified to do.

In the meantime, remain unconcerned that the poster children for bank security, Canadian banks, are shipping their confidential information offshore. When you outsource a job, you lose some control over security checks on the people doing the work. When the outsourcing is offshore...?

"IT" stands for information technology, folks, and the aforementioned banks are sending it off to Asian never-never land for safekeeping - you know to those places where the Taliban love to infiltrate institutions in countries that prod each other with nuclear weapons over religious disputes.

I guess if Harper can spin 40 per cent into majority approval, he can support that twisted logic.

Meet with aboriginals begrudgingly, promise anything, do nothing. There are, after all, important pandas to be welcomed by the Prime Minister. They did, after all, travel farther than the Nishiyuu Walkers who walked 1,600 km from Whapmagoostui to Ottawa. Oh yeah, I forgot, the pandas flew.

While you are at, it set up an Office of Religious Freedom (OORF) to protect the minority religious rights of people in foreign countries and, begrudgingly, extend the umbrella to nominally include the rights of non-believers. Does the list of countries include one that has removed funding for non-Christian counsellors in its prison system? Maybe not since some of that funding has been restored and the OORF is a department of the Office of Foreign Affairs.

Of course, the Harper government's ride has not been all that smooth, but that one must expect a bumpy ride when one constantly throws minions under the bus. Disagreement within the Harper caucus is called revolt and actually representing one's constituents puts a tempered glass ceiling on one's Conservative career. The only guarantee is that the glass will be standard Harper issue, opaque.

Yes, folks, step right up. The display of smoke and mirrors is still open for business. Ya pays your taxes and ya buys the cheap orange juice you can afford. Don't stare in the mirror. It's your reflection in there. Just rub the smoke from your eyes next election day.