Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Economic Crisis / Coup d'etat / or Learning Opportunity??

I'm proposing something different to deal with the major issues at hand. We should all turn to our children and find out if we're smarter than a 5th grader. Not the show, but the headlines highlight a huge learning opportunity. It might be good for us to revisit what we've learned and forgotten, and to address deficiencies in our education system.

The economic crisis is the major story as the effects of predatory lending and sub-prime mortgages are being felt throughout the economy. So what's the lesson? As computer science grad I understand the necessity for sciences. It's critical to our individual and collective success. However, I think financial literacy is an even bigger prerequisite and hole in our public education. How many people leave highschool without knowing how to balance their own chequebooks (who uses chequebooks anyhow?) or make up a budget. There's a misconception that if the bank will give us the money then it's okay. Then people end up house-poor and living paycheque to paycheque.

Second, Canadians are now in a political maelstrom regarding the state of the federal government. People are outraged at this apparent coup that the liberals/NDP & Bloc. The Tories are milking the connection with the bloc. Yes they're separatists but they still represent a part of Canadian voters. The idea that the Canadian voters elected Stephen Harper to lead the country is just plain Wrong. The Gov General selects the PM based on the makeup of the house post-election. We don't directly elect our president similar to the US. The coalition represents a larger amount of voters, is that less democratic or more?

There are problems, and I think it's a training problem.

Related Links:
http://www.parl.gc.ca/Information/library/inside/institutions-e.htm
http://smartpei.typepad.com/robert_patersons_weblog/2008/12/canada-coalition-government-speak-for-canada.html
http://www.jarche.com/2008/12/an-educated-and-informed-citizenry/

3 comments:

Curmudgeon-at-Large said...

It's true most citizens upset by the coalition don't seem to understand the basics of parliamentary democracy and responsible government. Steven Harper anticipated that.

Harper has not made a single mistake in this whole episode. It's going exactly as he planned. Harper is orchestrating this whole thing like the second coming of Machiavelli. The suckers leading the other parties are taking the hook and jamming it down their own throats. Harper, the consummate control freak, has foreseen the opposition reaction and the public reaction to every move he’s made. He’s set it up so he can paint all the other parties as power-hungry losers, when that label fits his party equally well. He can’t lose. Either the coalition takes over and takes the blame for the coming economic crisis, or there’s an election that no average citizen wants that he can blame on all the other parties in the hope that he will finally get the majority he wants. He will then be able to govern through the bad times and (he hopes) back into the good with his hands firmly grasping the levers of power, allowing him to implement all the policies that will reward his corporate backers, and in the process further impoverish the already poverty-stricken and destroy the environment.

You don't believe me? Think about it. First he draws them in with the bait of cutting the $1.95 per vote subsidy, knowing they can't accept it but must come up with a better excuse for a non-confidence motion. And they do - the very weak argument of failing to respond to the economic crisis with a "stimulus" when clearly that can't be rushed while the US is dithering under a lame duck and our economies are intertwined. (The ban of civil service strikes was just extra bait for the NDP.) Then he withdraws those original bait items, knowing the opposition can't back down without looking like the fools they seem to be. Then he delays the vote to give the opposition time to hang itself and him time to rally his supporters with distortions, half-truths and complete lies that we can clearly see now are working like a charm.

The man's a political genius. Too bad he's an evil genius.

Harold Jarche said...

The curmudgeon has it correct, unfortunately. Harper is a brilliant tactician and the Tory machine understands marketing. The opposition have failed to get a clear message to the public, much as Dion's green shift message was too complex for much of the electorate who believed the Tory FUD.

My simple message that the opposition should focus on - "Parliament Rules!"

Shaun Bala said...

Harper does appear to be coming out smelling like roses here. The grits et al stand to get decimated in another election. Or another election could cause extreme voter apathy. But the right seems like it's defence of "Harper's right to rule" could prevail. His machiavellian tactics are lost on the casual observer.

What saddens me the most is how this is becoming less ideological and just capitalistic. I hear the attack ads against the coalition, the right-wing spin is calling it undemocratic and yet even in this internet-age the left can't get it's message out.

Information is still controlled by money. Maybe i'm just naive to think in our Flat world that things would be different.