Back when I read MAD magazine on a semi-regular basis, one of my favourite features was "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions." I'm not sure whether this was the beginning of my penchant for using sarcasm or whether I had "the gift" before that and merely fed it through my youthful reading choices.
In any event, there is nothing like election time -- and, in particular, nothing like hearing Liberal talking points ad naseum -- to bring out my snappy answers. Here are a few that I've been muttering under my breath and/or shouting at my television (depending on where I am at the time that I hear them):
The NDP "brought down the Martin government"
Do the math. Even if the NDP had voted with the Liberals in November 2006, the Liberals still would have lost the confidence vote. This is because two members of their own caucus (David Kilgour and John Bryden) joined or sided with the Conservatives and because, sadly, Chuck Cadman was no longer alive.
That's the main reason why the Liberals refused the NDP's demands to take action on protecting public health care as the price of its support -- because, unlike six months earlier, the NDP could not save the Martin government (the other reason is that agreeing to the NDP's demands would have required them to protect public health care... something that Liberals are good at talking about but never doing). For the NDP, the only choice facing it was whether it wanted to go into the inevitable election campaign as a fighting force or as an adjunct to a discredited Liberal government.
As well, Paul Martin had already promised to call an election thirty days after the report of the Gomery Commission. At the latest, that would have meant an election around March 13, 2006 (with the writ being dropped around February 4). During most of this time, Parliament would not have been sitting. So, please, tell us again about all the fantastic things that the Liberals would have done in that time.
The early defeat of the Liberals "squandered the gains" that the NDP (and Canadians) had made during the Martin minority
Yes, if only the Liberals had had more time in office!
The Liberals were in power for twelve-and-a-half years, eleven of them with a commanding majority. If they had wanted to deliver child care or aboriginal justice (which they had promised in 1993), they had plenty of time to do so. Instead, they kept recycling the same promises and then blamed the NDP for their failure to act.
The gains in the NDP Budget were actually not repealed by the Harper government. Money that is currently flowing into housing, transit and infrastructure is a direct result of Jack Layton's deal.
Oh, and the Kelowna Accord? Implementing legislation for that was never even introduced into the House of Commons.
By attacking the Liberals during the election campaign, the NDP "tacitly allied themselves with the Conservatives"
The Liberals seem to think that the NDP exists solely to help them win elections (in that respect, the Green Party is the party that the Liberals wish the NDP would be). The NDP had plenty of criticism for the Reformatories during the 2006 campaign, but it could hardly exempt the Liberals from the criticism that it so deserved.
And, you know what? It worked. The NDP was the only partyto defeat Conservatives in the last election, and it managed to hold onto all of its own seats (again, the only party to do so). If the Liberals hadn't been genuinely interested in defeating Stephen Harper (instead of wanting to save the dying Liberal brand), they would have encouraged their supporters in key ridings to vote NDP.
Imagine how much harm Stephen Harper could do if he had a majority
Yes, if he had a majority he could pass any legislation that he wanted -- which is exactly what the Liberals allowed him to do with a minority. They voted (or did not vote) a whopping 43 times to keep Stephen Harper in office. In some cases (such as corporate tax cuts and keeping our troops in Afghanistan), they did so because they agreed with the Conservatives' policies. In other cases, they hid behind the curtains of the House of Commons because they were afraid to go to the voters.
As the Halifax Daily News pointed out in an editorial (October 29, 2007): "Ever since Parliament resumed sitting, Harper has been governing -- you guessed it -- as if he has a majority.... The state of the Opposition Liberals is the main reason for Harper's success."
Do you have a snappy answer to a stupid Liberal talking point? Please, post it in the comments section. For my part, I expect to be coming back to this theme again between now and October 14 (unless the Liberals stop using stupid talking points... and we know that's not going to happen).
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