Thursday, September 11, 2008

Could Canadians be Looking for the Harper Secret Agenda?

There are numerous things ascribed to the Harper Secret Agenda - the one that is 'supposed' to happen if he manages to get a majority. There is one aspect that could be much more popular than most of the other political parties might be willing to accept. Reducing the federal government, reduce spending and getting out of provincial areas of responsiblity, and reducing taxation are all surprisly popular ideas with a large number of Canadians.

We can see how this played out in the Commonsense Revolution in Ontario, Restraint in BC, and the rise of the Reform Party in 1993. There are a lot of people out there that feel they pay too much for government and do not get enough benefit.

Honestly, it is hard to explain to most people what benefit they get from the federal government for the income taxes they pay. The best known federal programs are EI, OAP and CPP - they are all self funding and do not need taxes. Our military is next and most people are ok with what is spend on them. After this there are few clear beneficial programs most people can name. The reality is that almost all the government programs people see are from the provincial or municipal governments.

I raise this because I have had some interesting conversations with some NDP types. Seems they would be willing to endure a four year Harper government if it meant a fundamental downsizing of the money spent by the federal government. As one of them said "We need a major house cleaning in Ottawa and then start again with what is really needed from the ground up".

As one of my conversations was going on, I asked if the person would be willing to vote for the local Conservative candidate. The answer was "Yes, if it meant we would see a real change in Ottawa."

It reminds me of talking with a number of the people in the Reform party in the 1990s. Many of the older people had been with the CCF and NDP but felt that the party was not willing to do want it takes to fix things in Ottawa. This sentiment is not gone, it is still there and waiting for someone to tap into it. It is not only in BC and the rest of the west, but also 905 Ontario, and suburban and rural Quebec.

These areas represent about 180 of 308 ridings in Canada - enough to win a majority without any seats in the rest of the country. Danny Williams matters less in this election that people in Surrey BC or Newmarket Ontario.
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