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“OK, everyone take a Valium”

Political Fun in Canada

Written in 2011 after the Jack Layton Orange Wave took over parliament, and there was hope for change (or fear of it), in the air. Before the 2nd Generation of Trudeau-mania, and the start of the Tory Teens, what a different time it was.

This is the caption to a classic Aislin cartoon from 1976 just after the Parti-Quebecois swept into power provincially (scaring the hell out of all of Canada), and it seems a very good sentiment for Monday’s election results as well.

Yes, we have seen some breathtaking political changes (or tom-foolery) that will make the next sitting of Parliament very interesting, but at the end of it how much has really changed? My guess is that initially things will not be changing that much, but we shall also see a lot of political neophytes learn the parliamentary process, and we will see whether the Liberal party can “come off the mat” and resurrect themselves for the next election (due in 2015 evidently (August?)).

Drawing, cartoon | O.K. Everybody take a valium! | P090-A_50-1004
OK, everybody take a valium!

My personal Highlights from election night:

  • The NDP Tsunami in Quebec just goes to show that the Quebec political forum is the most interesting in all of Canada. Where else could absentee or student candidates win by a landslide?
  • Seeing the Bloc get wiped off the map is good as well for the federal discourse. Some are saying separatism in Quebec is dead, I say there are a lot of political pundits who have said that over the years, but they haven’t been right  yet.
  • Huge voter turn outs were good to see. I had to actually stand in line to vote in my riding, which I really enjoyed seeing.  Yes, we ended up re-electing our MP (a Tory), but still good to see folks exercising their democratic right.

At the end of it all, the Tories really didn’t promise much economically in terms of big changes, just some possible family tax break promises if they can balance the budget in a few years, which would be nice if they follow through.

In Ottawa the city there is a concern that the balancing of the budget might be on the back of the Civil Service, but if that was the case, why did the Ottawa area elect so many Conservatives? Interesting.

At the end of it all, the caricature of the late Monsieur Levesque sums it all up very well, “OK everybody take a Valium!“, relax, it’s going to be an interesting few months (or years for that matter).

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Vote Today Canada

No, I am not quite back from Blogcation yet, but I have created a friendly reminder, that if you are of voting age, and you are allowed to vote, it is a moral imperative that you do so.

Voting is the only time when the Government asks your opinion and is forced to listen to your answer (no matter how small you think your answer might be).

Over my voting career, I have had the privilege of voting against Pierre E. Trudeau, Vote No on a referendum and other equally important votes, and surprisingly they all mattered (even the ones for school board trustees, and Hydro board members). Voting is your right, and you must exercise it (and if you don’t, I don’t think you have the right to complain about the government (but that is my opinion only)).

I don’t care who you vote for, but go out and vote! If you don’t know who  you will vote for, go and vote, an inspiration will hit you in the booth, and if not, then flip a coin?

Vote Canada!

Then you can sit back and watch the fun on Monday night.

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I promise less services and lower taxes!

What is surprising is that I originally wrote this during the last provincial election, and somehow it still seems to be on target? Wow, politics needs to move forward in the province of Ontario.

Big C8j Party Platform Plank #1

If I actually heard a politician say that I might listen closer (i.e. cut services and lower taxes ONLY, no new services), just because none of them actually have the Chutzpah to say something that makes perfect sense. The only way you can cut taxes are:

  • Cut down on government waste. I cry bullsh*t on any politician who has been elected, if they say that one. All of them waste money in their own offices, so pointing the finger at the government is the pot calling the kettle a darker shade of grey. Every one of them wants to have their own pet projects for their riding too, so no dice on that one.
  • Add no new services, but increase the tax base, so there is more money coming in (Gross). There is more money Gross, so the tax rate on individuals could drop if you wanted to get back to your original Gross Tax Income (I dare any politician to argue that one with me). This is kind of what happened in the 90’s, when the income from Taxes was so high, they could actually start paying down the Debt.
  • Cut services and programs, and not just “wasteful” programs, I mean actual programs. You do that, you are spending less and thus you need less income.

Simplistic? Yup, but the government’s finances and your finances are the same, spend less, and you need less income. Unfortunately like your finances, the government also has a massive debt (not to mention an overspending penchant called the deficit), which they must also pay for (much like your Mortgage or worse your Credit Card Debt).

RRSP, RDSP, RESP

Broken Liberty

Politicians are not dumb, they know nobody likes hearing that they must tighten their belt, live more frugally and live within their means (hell I say it enough times, and given by the size of my readership, that message is not popular).  Politicians will tell you about all the programs they will help you specifically with (I await the Big Cajun Man Tax Cut (for only me) to be announced soon), but they are always very vague on how it will get paid (usually by the idle rich, or corporations).

As each new program is announced by all parties, ask yourself who is going to pay for all of this? You are, it’s that simple.

And if someone wishes to paint with Tory Blue, Liberal Red, NDP Yellow, Green or Marijuana party Green, I am a Civil Liberterian at heart (i.e. get the Government the hell out of my business, please). None of the parties live up to my hopes.

I guess that makes me Undecided.

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Random Thoughts: Election Fever

Election Time, April Fools!

Election time in Canada means lots of promises, phone calls galore, signs going up and reporters looking for any candidate who might slip up and actually say something original. Nothing much too exciting this week, however Gilles Duceppe seems to be having the most fun (at the expense of the Tories), firing pointed barbs into the Tory “fundamentalist” base (something about the Flintstones, I think).

Promises are going to be flying fast and furious, and accusations about how all parties will raise taxes if they get elected (interesting how everyone is accused of being over spenders, but no one admits to it, sort of like personal finances and such). How is it when a government does finally take power (unless it is a minority) the first thing they do is live down to their opponents’ estimations and raise taxes? Inevitably they then blame it on the previous government’s mismanagement of the budgets. What is astounding is how many times we have seen this in the past 50 years.

  • Bob Rae taking over from Tories in Ontario, raise taxes due to Tories leaving a complete mess
  • Brian Mulroney taking over from Pierre Trudeau taxes go up to pay for deficit
  • Jean Chretien taking over from Brian Mulroney what a mess!
  • Dalton McGuinty taking over from Mike Harris in Ontario OMG!
  • etc., etc., etc.,

You better hope that the Liberals (or Greens, or NDP) get into Power, they will then have Carte Blanche to jack up taxes and blame it all on Stephen Harper.

More election tom foolery and discussions from me this week:

  • There was of course a mention of Lenten Financial Challenge Week #3 where we kept up with our participants.
  • I did ask the question is Following the Crowd is Safe? where I pointed out the danger inherent with that tactic.
  • I couldn’t take it any more after seeing yet another PayDay Loan place open near my house so I suggested Let’s go buy some money, showing how insidious these businesses are (sucking in repeat customers). This is after rolling over customers was outlawed
  • In technology I always fight against The Locked in Factor but you mustn’t do it with your finances as well.
  • And for this election week I pointed out that with all problems in Canada C’est La Faute Du Federal! Which is true not just for Quebec. Thanks Bowser and Blue for your guest appearance.

As a note, I actually enjoy all comments (even the ones that question my sanity), and will try to respond to most comments, so please feel free to comment away.

Hopefully none of my blogging compatriots will not be stooping to cheap April Fools posts:

Carnivals this Week

I also had some submissions accepted to various carnivals, so go have a read of these as well:

Other Bookkeeping

Remember my RSS feed is available too, for those who enjoy reading without looking at my crappy page lay out, and I have added an RSS Comment Feed as well.

Have alook at my micro-blog on Twitter, where you can see a whole plethora of good articles and pithy comments by me as well. Twitter feed where I re-tweet many great articles by some of my featured writers (and make the occasional odd or off colour commentary on life (in 140 characters or less)). I am also on Digg as Big Cajun Man, on reddit, Tumblr and other Social Media sites (look for the BigCajunMan userid) as well.

If you have social media accounts, don’t forget to vote for my posts (see the nifty dashboard on the side of each article, where you can cast your votes). As they say in Quebec, vote early and vote often!

This site is iPhone Friendly (and Android , iPod Touch and iPad Friendly), enjoy it on the go, in a readable format for the device. If you are reading with an iPhone or Android device, drop me a comment and tell me if this needs any improvements. This site is also in the Kindle US Blog list, if you are interested, not available in Canada yet (because no Blogs are available in Canada on a Kindle?!?).

Remember

“If elected, I will win.”

Author: Pat Paulsen

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C’est La Faute Du Federal!

C’est la faute du federal is the Chorus/Catchphrase of a hilarious song by Bowser and Blue, a pair of very talented musicians who write hilarious and sometimes very pointed vocals about life and politics (especially Quebec Politics). For those of you who have not lived in Quebec, there is always a “fall guy” if something goes wrong (in all politics really but in Quebec especially), and inevitably it ends up being the Federal Government in General or the PM’s office in specific (most of the times).

Everyone needs their Villains in life, and Quebec’s is the Feds (ironic that as a former Quebecer, I am now a Villain). This is why Quebecers elect the Bloc so often. They send their Vigilantes to slay the Federal Government Demons (I offer this as an empathetic explanation, not as my own opinion).

Financial Villains

I say this as background. This piece isn’t yet another rant by me about politics in Quebec or the Federal Government (but given there is now an election cooking, now would be the time), more that we all sometimes too quickly blame our own mistakes on the Villains in our lives.

  • Why is there no money for Christmas? C’est la faute du Federal.
  • Why did I overdraft my bank account? C’est la faute du Federal.
  • How come I never have any money in my savings? C’est la faute du Federal.
  • Who let’s all those Payday Loan places stay open? C’est la faute du Federal.
  • Who caused the stock market crash ? C’est la faute du Federal.
  • Who called this damn election? C’est la faute du Federal.

You can see it’s a valuable catchphrase (the rough translation is “It’s the federal government’s fault!”), and in some obtuse way, I’m sure you can argue all can be blamed on them too.

Take Ownership

My opinion of folks who always have Villains in their lives (either political or financial) is that usually, these Villains aren’t quite the Red Eyed Hobgoblins that the person thinks and that more likely a lot of issues are homegrown, not the work of some Unscrupulous Villain (or even the Federal Government).

For You Election Junkies a New Theme Song

Oh, and here are the boys now, in the Westin in Ottawa!

C’est La Faute du Federal

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