Monday, September 29, 2008

Harper no-show for anti-poverty video

Steve Harper refused to take part in a series of videos being promoted by the non-partisan Make Poverty History group. After some back and forth, his office finally said the questions being asked were "too specific" but would have answered more general questions.

The other leaders actually took the time to say something, incidentally.

Elections aren't about generalities or broad principles. They are about specifics. That's why parties put out platforms and backgrounders. The best the Conservatives seem to be able to offer is that they'll offer a "steady hand" during difficult times. That is an almost complete carbon copy of Bush's re-election line in 2004: "Steady leadership in a time of change," which says a lot about his originality. The best he can come up with is the other side is too risky. We tried it Harper's way and he took us from a $12 billion annual surplus to a near deficit.

And Harper's definition of steady leadership when it comes to poverty issues: Throwing the bare minimum amount of money rather than actual programs that would make it more valuable to work than to stay at home and collect welfare; abolishing the Kelowna Accord; and cutting foreign aid rather than increasing it to 0.5% of GDP as he promised in 2006 (to the point where we're now outspent in this department by Australia -- and it reached that target during the last right-wing administration under John Howard before he was defeated by Paul Rudd).

Perhaps Harper takes the Bible literally where it says, "You will always have the poor among you," at the expense of ignoring the part where the same person also refers to feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, etc.

I'm definitely not saying money for nothing. I'm saying there should be a real hand up rather than the brush off Harper is so willing to provide.

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