Monday, April 26, 2010

Slouching Towards An Election

The HarperCon$ are busily putting their election machinery into high gear, setting the stage for what I expect will be a fall election.

While the Rahim Jaffer affair continues to grow legs, arms and tentacles, and distracts public attention from the real game that is afoot.

Harper is moving to replace Governor General Michaelle Jean, no doubt he will choose someone whose conservative credentials are impeccable - in the hopes that the next GG won't sign legislation into force, no doubt.

Mysteriously, I received a rare propaganda page from my otherwise missing in action MP a few days ago - and it was considerably larger than the usual pamphlets I see from his office. All of it carefully worded "feel good" nonsense intended to soothe anxious SoCon radicals that the Con$ are working in their best interests.

The legislative game is very interesting. The HarperCon$ have routinely used an array of Private Member's bills to play dog whistle politics with their base. Interestingly, as we discovered with the closer inspection of parliamentary procedure last time Harper prorogued parliament, Private Member's bills survive prorogation - which saves the HarperCon$ a certain amount of public discomfort when the same bill, for the same stupidity is reintroduced time after time - reigniting debate over issues that are generally inflammatory.

Consider the following. The Con$ have long railed against the long gun registry program, but Bill C-391 is a private member's bill. The Conservatives know that passing it as a Government bill would split wide open the rural/urban voter divide, and likely would cost them a significant number of urban seats in centers like Toronto. But, by allowing their "backbenchers" to put it forward, they can claim that they "tried" to make it happen, but the evil opposition wouldn't let them.

Then we have Rod Bruinooge's bill C-510, the "coerced into an abortion" anti-abortion bill. This is a blatant case of dog-whistle politics. It's intended to appeal to the ultra conservative base of Reformatories with their roots firmly in Alberta's Bible Belt. The law itself is fundamentally unnecessary, and legislates something which needs no legislation - and presumes that a pregnant woman can't make an intelligent decision on her own.

Bruinooge's brand of misogyny could almost be shrugged off as a wingnut politician's ravings - except for the G8 'women's health initiative' that has been bubbling around:

The Bloc pressed the Conservatives as to whether they would put aside ideology and include abortion as part of their family planning measures. No way, the government said.

“Canada’s contribution to maternal and child health may include family planning however Canada’s contribution will not include funding abortions,” Jim Abbott, the parliamentary secretary to the International Co-operation Minister, asserted.


Now the extremist misogyny of the Federal Conservatives is coming from the front benches - loud and clear. This can only mean that the Con$ are busy trying to shore up their "base" support before the summer recess - when they will no doubt run all over the country announcing all sorts of "feel good" spending.

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