Monday, August 19, 2013

Don't See you in September

The summer is winding down and everyone's scrambling to get one more drink on a terrasse, one more BBQ, and all the ice cream and watermelon they can handle before going back to the doldrums of work and school. One thing that isn't coming back in September is Parliament, which PM Stephen Harper will prorogue until October.

Most working stiffs are already upset that Parliament is closed for the summer, but now they're getting an extra long vacation during a year that's been plagued by expense scandals and dubious dealings. Heck, that's even longer than the kids get, which should lead to many cries of 'no fair!' across the nation.

Indeed, it's hard to think of anything about this situation that's fair. In any other enterprise which has failed to live up the public's standard, the punishment would not be more paid leave; somehow, though, it makes sense to politicos. Here's the explanation that the PM gave to the Globe and Mail:

"We will come back in October, [that] is our tentative timing.

"We remain in a very difficult, fragile and competitive global marketplace and we think there is much more to be done to secure Canada's economic potential and economic future."

Well, many Canadians could have told you THAT. But isn't that more reason to get back to work? After all, when the house is a mess and the kitchen table is overflowing with unpaid bills, this isn't usually the ideal moment to stop and make a sandwich. Waiting isn't going to help matters and sometimes, when faced with a tough task, you just have to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work. It's like when your parents tell you that math isn't going to get any easier if you avoid doing your homework- you have to FACE the problem and actually squint your little brows and try your hardest, even though it all looks like ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics to you.

The sneaky little message in this statement, though, for those who understand the implications of proroguing Parliament, is that something is doing to get done to secure Canada's economic potential and economic future. That something will likely not be done with the rest of Parliament, which includes, conveniently, all of their opposition. So the new agenda setting and reframing and all that wonderful stuff that's going to happen during this month long staycation is likely going to be the result of one party. And we're all pretty sure which party that will be.

So while the opposition will be paid to take a long spa day, the Canadian public will probably be expected to bask in the fall colours and watch leaves falling under crab apple trees and hopefully forget all that silliness with the PMO and the Senate scandals- just to name a few of the more recent maddening events. Or maybe we'll be too busy marvelling at Agents of SHIELD to think about the economy, or the Senate, or the musical chairs that have been played recently with the MPs, or the billion dollars we somehow 'lost' at the Department of National Defense, all while cutting benefits to actual war veterans. Or the fact that many Canadians live under the poverty line and use food banks on a monthly basis, even while employed.

But in October, this Parliament will be back to work, fresh-faced and repackaged, probably with more Economic Action Plan ads featuring minorities looking forward to their job in construction. For a month's worth of extra vacation, I expect those workers to look at least 25% happier about that in October.

This current government's avoidance agenda applies the same logic to running the country as a person in serious consumer debt does when they decide to pay off their Visa with their Mastercard. An extra month is not going to be enough to scratch the surface of everything that's wrong. And don't think Canadians are going to be setting up hockey pools and knitting scarves for winter while thinking that everything's fine. I can stay mad until October. There are still things that I'm sure I haven't forgotten or forgiven that date back years. Some of it, I've probably forgotten.

So if you're mad with the Canadian government, folks, stay mad. Hold your grudge, choose the issue that's really ticked you off, and keep it close. Spend the extra month making new picket signs or online petitions. The Parliament says it should be ready in October. We should be too.

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