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Stewie Harper and the election no one else wants

I’m feeling really grumpy about this election and the massive waste
of money, attention, and human brainpower that will be diverted into
it. And the other thing I’m thinking is that if the opposition can’t
make Harper wear this election in a big way, then they all deserve to
lose. But we don’t deserve another Harper government. How can the
opposition take the fight to Harper? Let me count the ways.

1. Do an animated short of Stephen Harper as a baby — maybe Stewie
of The Family Guy — in an ermine robe, banging a sceptre because the
majority of Canadians who didn’t vote for him are stopping him from
being king. On second thought, Stewie is much more likeable than
Stephen Harper.

2. Don’t talk about how evil Harper is, just ask the question in an
open ended way: Stephen Harper has been getting his way in a minority
parliament. But that’s not good enough for him. How much power does
Stephen Harper want? And what does he want it for?

3. Maple Leaf meat packing scandal. Hellooo! Why isn’t Harper
being clobbered on this? Baird, Flaherty, now Guy Giorno — these are
the guys who brought us Walkterton and now they are bringing us tainted
meat scandals. (A movie trailer: from the guys who brought you
Walkerton…) Yet amazingly, they actually want to loosen meat inspection
and make companies inspect themselves! The opposition has been
remarkably ineffective on this scandal. (What about a counter showing
the number of people who have died so far?)

4. The deportation of war resisters is an opportunity to polarize
out the public in a way where Harper loses. It’s not that high profile
an issue yet, but it is possible to make it one. For example, if one of
the opposition leaders offers someone threatened with deportation
sanctuary in their house, protected by supporters who are putting their
bodies on the line…

5. Memo to the Liberals: the Green Shift/Carbon Tax is the Worst.
Political. Campaign Move. Ever. Tommy Douglas didn’t run on a health
tax. He ran on a vision of public health care and the values of justice
and fairness. If you want to create visionary change, you don’t centre
your campaign on a tax, you give people a vision of a world they want
to live in. What does this look like? It’s a world where we need to
build massive new public infrastructure (trains, wind farms, solar
farms) and provide massive subsidies for people to retrofit their homes
to be energy-efficient (which means they will cost less money to heat).
We want to create green technology and green industry. All of that
infrastructure, retrofitting, and new technology means jobs for people,
as well as helping the environment. How do we pay for that? A carbon
tax could be a part of it, but it’s not your headline. Your headline is
the vision. Anyway, Dion’s carbon tax won’t pay for anything because
it’s supposed to be revenue neutral. And its impact on consumption can
only be marginal in comparison with market forces. Much greater impacts
can be created if governments expand the supply of alternatives and
mandate change through regulation. Dion’s plan doesn’t talk about that.
Worst. Climate Solution. Ever. (Well, next to Stephen Harper’s.) I
expect Harper will slaughter the Liberals on this wonky, tone deaf
campaign.

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