Friday, April 29, 2011

Left shift spawns Henny Pennys

The rise in the polls of Jack Layton and the NDP in the run up to Canada's 2011 federal election has made Henny Pennys of those whose world order is threatened. Witness 'Layton as PM a frightening scenario,' an editorial in the Calgary Herald, reprinted in the Edmonton Journal.

However, contrary to the editorial's headline, the sky does not fall in when the NDP forms governments. Unfortunately, facts do not stop Tory spin doctors and their surrogates from using the politics of fear.

When Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador in Washington, was premier of Manitoba (1999-2009), he won two successive re-elections, each time with increased majorities, and consistently introduced balanced budgets. Saskatchewan's NDP government (1991-2007) also showed fiscal responsibility with 11 consecutive balanced budgets. In 2005 the federal Dept. of Finance released a report on federal and provincial budgets over the past 22 years that showed that NDP governments had the best fiscal track-record among all parties.

Older readers may recall that in 1962 Saskatchewan's doctors screamed like 'chicken little' and went on strike claiming that 'socialized medicine' would be so intolerable as to leave the province without doctors. By 1965 most doctors supported medicare and the model was implemented across Canada within 10 years.

Stephen Harper's Conservatives are expert practitioners of the politics of fear and practice a "course, vicious brand of politics" (to quote Maclean's editor Andrew Coyne). Indeed it's their stock and trade. Witness their focus on crime and building more prisons, despite the fact that crime, including serious crime, is declining in Canada.
On May 2 Canadians should not reward those who twist facts and try to scare us into voting for them. The sky is not falling in. Have courage. We should not believe everything we are told by the Henny-Pennys of this world. Otherwise the fox will have us all for lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:08 AM

    It is interesting that the Chicken Little, or Henny Penny stories have as a moral, either that we shouldn't believe everything we hear, or that we should not be afraid to speak out. Clearly the use of the story in this instance (political fear mongering) relates to the first moral. On the other hand, I greatly appreciate the fearlessness of the blog writer in speaking out about issues.


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