Penny smart, pound foolish
current location: Victoria Street
I know everyone's already weighed in on this, but since the budget has been approved in principle (thanks, Bloq) I felt compelled to put my two cents in. And I'll make it as simple as I can...
Bill Devey Peterborough
$1200 ≠ $6500+
Okay? Are we all clear on that? In what alternate reality does it make sense for the Tories to dole out a credit which is a) large enough, when all recipients are totalled up, to make a sizable dent in the budget; b) taxable, for heaven's sake, c) totally freakin' useless? According to Childcare Ontario, median annual cost in Ontario for regulated daycare is $6500-$9500. I realize there are other subsidies and tax benefits at work, but come on. It's a flat fee even. PLEASE TELL ME NO ONE IS BUYING THIS! *facedesk*
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Speaking of which, I was pleased (though unsurprised) to see the new government follow through on its committments to the military. Although I am concerned to see Harper import American-style crypto-Evangelism into Parliament, I feel oddly confident that no stance, no matter how pro-military, will lead to us embracing American-style belligerent foreign policy. I must admit I grow weary of the constant anti-military yammering we are currently deluged with.
Most of you know I'm pretty pro-military.
This fellow sums it up pretty well:
Canada's role in international politics died with Trudeau
May 10, 2006
Jim Purdie's recent diatribe against Stephen Harper (Lester B. Pearson's vision has died with Stephen Harper, May 3, 2006) evokes the name of Lester B. Pearson and says that Pearson's vision is dead.
I agree. Pearson's vision for a strong and effective Canada in international politics died on the table after massive injections of Liberal mismanagement starting with Trudeau.
When Pearson came up with the idea of UN peacekeeping, he realized peacekeeping at times is rough and only a strong, disciplined military force could effectively keep the peace between potential combatants.
Pearson never would have allowed the decimation of the armed forces that Trudeau and successive governments so gleefully presided over.
As for "Bush's war in Afghanistan," Mr. Purdie either forgets or chooses to forget that military action in Afghanistan was a multinational action which was taken to bring a terrorist-supporting regime to an end.
The United Nations was on board as was NATO, the EU and many others.
I also remind Mr. Purdie that it wasn't Stephen Harper who deployed our troops to Afghanistan. It was the Liberals.
The current assignment was planned for and agreed to long before the Conservatives came to power.
The last Liberal government warned us that it would be dangerous and for the Canadian people to expect casualties.
I heard no crying and weeping from Liberals and their friends then.
For whatever reason, apprently Canadian youth agree; according to the War Child Canada Youth Opinion Poll (see starting at p. 49) the majority of Canadian youth see our military as too small. Michael Ignatieff seems pretty pro-military too. The truth is, as he says, that we need to be prepared to do "heavy lifting". A crippling fear of bad PR and a public unwillingness to accept any casualties has lead to a dangerous trend in foreign policy, in the last few decades, and we can only hope it will reverse itself now. Canadians apparently want up to pull out of Afghanistan because of the 15 soldiers who have died since 2002. Their deaths were tragedies, but what is perhaps more tragic is that people are unwilling to attribute any meaning to their deaths except to serve as anti-military symbols. 15 soldiers is simply a very small number, compared to other trobling statistics Canadians seem unwilling to hue-and-cry about. In 1997 (the last year for which I could find data) there were well over 3000 deaths by suicide, 626 from HIV infection, and in 2004 there were 172 shooting homicides, 205 by stabbing, and 135 by beating. In fact, the number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan in 4 years, doing thier duty, for which they volunteered, knowingly and honourably risking death, was roughly the same as the number of Canadians intentionally burned to death in 2004 alone.
My point is, a fear of public blacklash tends to make governments tiptoe in to military operations, contributing the minimum of troops and resources. This means the wars are longer and more people die, our troops, their troops, and civilians. It's a fairly established piece of military wisdom that - at least, when it comes to infantry-based ground wars - the best method is to overwhelm with superior force from the start. Literally, go big or go home. You simply cannot half-ass a military campaign.
So here's to our troops in Afghanistan - may they begin to receive the support they need, both from the government and from the Canadian people.