View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – $300 Million Dollar Question? March 23, 2011

Ottawa ON – It looks like Canadians are off to the polls, the fourth election in seven years. There will be endless rounds of speculation as to why, what is the end game for the opposition parties? Will there be a coalition etc?

It really doesn’t matter. In the end politics is about the art of compromise. You either do or you don’t and you live with the consequences. In this case the Conservatives offered Jack Layton, remember he is the one who supposedly wants to make parliament work, some substantial concessions. Layton turned it down, one of the key reasons supposedly being that not enough was done for seniors.

Prime Minister Harper has insisted that he doesn’t want an election as it will hurt our still fragile economy. This morning Flaherty was on TV still insisting that this was the case. Yet Harper’s finance minister has slammed shut any opportunity to talk to Layton with his insistence that no amendments were possible.

There is still time before the Liberal nonconfidence motion on Friday for cooler heads to prevail in both the NDP leader’s office and PMO. Is it really worth plunging Canada into another election with uncertain results and one that will risk hurting our economy?

If the lack of money for seniors was the deal breaker as reported in the media then why not look at ways to resolve that issue. The NDP wanted $700 million for seniors; the Conservatives offered $300 million. Is that an impossible amount of money to come up with?

The cost to Canadian taxpayers for a federal election is roughly $300 million dollars. When added to what has already been offered to the NDP, $600 million comes close to the NDP’s ask of $700 million.

According to the NDP their request will raise all seniors out of poverty, something that all parties should and more importantly could support doing. Can that $300 million for an election be put to better use? I think so, but in order for a compromise to work it requires two willing parties to agree.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

JL ComputersDaily Dish News

 

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