Harper spent Saturday out in the hustings working a couple of ethnic celebrations, something he has done on a regular basis. While celebrating the Chinese New Year in Markham he quipped that this Year of the Ox will also be the year of the return of the bull market.
A better metaphor would be a continuing year of bullshit from his conservative government.
Harper has shirked all responsibility of wasting a surplus through targeted partisan funding, to gain votes from groups similar to the ones he visited this weekend. Harper still doesn’t realize that there is a required sense of urgency in funding the back to work infrastructure programs. Something beyond improving recreational community centers in key ridings.
By setting the matched funding requirement for infrastructure projects, the cash strapped provinces who need the most help, can’t react fast enough to get the work started. They are mired with their own budgetary shortfalls, let alone providing the financing for the resources necessary to plan and implement major projects.
The federal government should take a leadership role here and not only release their share of the funds directly to the municipalities, if need be, who in some cases have the plans and resources or start directly providing federal funds for the planning process and required expertise. The whole point of the planned infrastructure expenditures is to quickly get unemployed Canadians and struggling Canadian businesses, working again
Additionally his federal government has a major role to play in providing direct support to the newly unemployed workers until they get their lives back on track (because that is really what you have to do when you unexpectedly loose your job) and should immediately realign the inequality of coverage where over 25% of the newly unemployed are unable to receive assistance. Use the EI surplus if necessary.
The federal government spent $13 billion in IE benefits in 2007, they will most likely spend $18 billion this fiscal year ending in March, just to cover the increased number of unemployed. Another $10 billion for expanded IE coverage through to March 2010 would of done more to help the hardest hit Canadians than the tax breaks or Home Depot rebates to those of us who have managed to keep our jobs.
Instead Harper, appears to remain in denial, that this recession is going to get a lot worse and spends his time looking for an inroad to the Ontario voters by quipping inane ramblings about a bull market.
Get real Harper and start doing your job.