The Dead Hand of Joe Oliver


No, you haven’t missed it; there is nothing wrong with the Canadian Finance Minister. While he occasionally looks like death warmed over, give the guy a break: he is almost 75. If he were a Canadian Senator he’d be facing mandatory retirement next month. Instead he’s out there shilling for the Conservative party, sorry, ‘working’ for the Canadian people, putting in long days to make sure that long after he is dead and gone (or just gone if many of us get our wish in October) he will still have his hands on public policy and finances for many years to come.

Why would he do that? Because Conservatives don’t believe in democracy. Never have, never will. Remember this is the party that shuttered Parliament in a sleazy effort to retain power after they completely missed the financial collapse of 2008. “A good investment opportunity” is what the PM called it. They also have rammed through massive omnibus bills, legislating by stealth to do away with environmental protection (among a host of other things). And of course they routinely diss officers of Parliament (many of whom they appointed) whenever they provide an inconvenient truth about what the government is really doing. I could go on. So I think I will,

They tried to gut the election law but only managed to severely damage it. This was after they plead guilty to violating it in the ‘in-and-out’ scheme. They paid a $52K fine but the two main perpetrators kept their seats in the Senate. They were still too useful (or maybe knew too much) to throw under the bus. Speaking of which there was the Tory staffer who has taken all the blame for the Robocalls affair — like anyone can imagine he acted alone. And of course there were the election violations of the PM’s former parliamentary secretary that resulted in him having to tearfully resign his seat. Through it all the PM takes no blame for anything.

But I digress.

Exactly what is Joe Oliver up to? Well, there’s this balanced budget legislation which is designed to tie the hands of future finance ministers when they might need to use the powers of government to steady the economy. This is a shibboleth of conservatives everywhere (though especially in the USA) but they never seem to have trouble violating their own law. It’s mostly to discomfit progressives. I do find the punishments a bit funny though — a 5% pay cut for the minister and senior officials and a requirement for the Finance Minister to explain himself to Parliament. Only a conservative could think that was a horrific thing — report to Parliament, how quaint and repulsive. Why? Because the Conservatives don’t trust democracy, never have and never will.

But wait there’s more. The doubling of the Tax Free Savings Account — because so many Canadians can find $11,000 to put aside every single year. I know my wife and I can’t and we’re actually doing okay — not 1% territory but okay. But rich people will use it and shelter billions from future taxes — essentially crippling the ability of governments to bring in programs that polls show Canadians actually want. Why? Say it with me: The Conservatives don’t like democracy. Never have, never will.

And that’s ten minutes.


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