Dr. Dawg summed up the Harper government’s pre-budget strategy best
The strategy was simple: prepare us for an attack by chainsaw-wielding maniacs—then just slap us around a little and break a few fingers. Folks will still sigh in relief, or so the Harper government is hoping…
Looking at the budget, I guess you could say they chainsawed a few fingers off and deeply wounded others hoping they’ll eventually fall off on their own. You know, when the gangrene sets in.
A few revealing snippets:
- Most federal agencies are receiving dramatic cuts, including the Auditor General (the office that uncovered Adscam and Gazebogate, among other crimes) and the Chief Electoral Officer (currently investigating robofraud complaints in 200 federal ridings). The list of agencies losing millions of dollars in funding is here. Altogether 19,000 public servants are being laid off. As we’ve already seen, cuts in staff have worked out well for Canadian citizens.
- Despite evidence from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that there is no public pension crisis, Harper has raised the eligibility age for OAS to 67 from 65. He first announced this significant change, not during his election campaign and not even on Canadian soil, but at the World Economic Summit in Davos where western industrialized nations decided China state capitalism is the new model for capitalism. Postponing eligibility for OAS will also postpone eligibility for the Guaranteed Income Supplement received by only the lowest-income seniors.
- Ottawa will no longer invest in scientific discovery…and plans to force government labs to switch to commercial research aimed at improving business productivity. Translation: Scientific research that isn’t specifically geared to beefing corporate profits isn’t likely to be funded; and corporations, particularly those that have the government’s ear, will determine the direction of scientific research.
- The government will cut short environmental review hearings to 24 months. That’s one way to deal with citizens – now referred to by Harper as “environmental terrorists” – opposed to pipelines being rammed through their communities.
- Harper intends to cap federal health care spending in 2017, essentially leaving each province to fend for itself. In December 2011, Flaherty advised the provinces he intended to reduce federal health transfers from 6% to between 3% and 4%. The budget cements this plan.Harper’s primary political interest has always been to rid Canada of public health care and starving the provinces has been a long-time strategy.
“each province should raise its own revenue for health care – i.e., replace Canada Health and Social Transfer cash with tax points.”
(Stephen Harper, ‘Firewall’ letter, January 24, 2001)
“What we clearly need is experimentation with market reforms and private delivery options [in health care].”
(Stephen Harper, then President of the NCC, 2001)
“Reshaping Canada” in Harper’s image is officially underway.