Hope and disappointment, all in a few weeks
It's been a few weeks since my last post, but I have been lurking in my usual haunts and indulging in debate and discussion. And I've noticed a hopeful sign.
Members of the Right and Left have been agreeing with each other. We have had excellent debates and cordial discussions. It has been both refreshing and hopeful - hopeful that perhaps constructive, consensus building discussion can actually solve problems and help us move forward and get things done.
I'm used to this kind of discussion over at The Blogging Party of Canada, where DazzlinDino, Tim, Candace, Princess Monkey and I have had great, creative debates on policy and actually come up with some good stuff that we all think is good.
But for me the real (and quite pleasant) surprise came last week at Bound By Gravity. While I normally have a good debating relationship with Andrew, it has not been so with others. So it felt strange to find a situation in which Andrew, Occam's Carbuncle, balbulican, Deaner and myself all agreed about Dingwall not deserving a severance. Occam put it best:
" Mike, Balbulican and I all agreeing on something. We're through the looking glass people." - Posted by:Occam's Carbuncle | Email | 10/5/2005 3:55PMAgain, a few days later, we agreed that the new "Rule of Thirds" the Liberals were putting forward to deal with surpluses was both inflexible and undemocratic. It was interesting that in that thread and an earlier one on the same topic, Andrew, balbulican, Deaner and I all agreed. I paid a compliment to junker. At one point Deaner and I made the identical point on flexibility and priorities:
"PMPM's new "rule of thirds" law is like a homeowner saying "from now on, whenever I get a raise, I will spend one third of the money, give one third back to my employer, and use one third to pay down debt." That may be the best course of action (other than the "give it back to my employer" part...), but what if you need a new roof; maybe it would be a good idea to spend all (or even more than all) of the increased cash flow for that? What if you thought that times were going to get tight, and you would need cash (or unused lines of credit) more than a new TV, etc?
Posted by:Deaner | Email | 10/8/2005 4:51PM"
"...Now, in that situation, would you want a law stating that you couldn't go into debt in an emergency situation? As Robert said earlier, does not paying your phone bill (or only paying half and expecting the same service from the phone company) leaving a "little extra money" mean you have a "surplus?" If you genuinely came into extra money (through a "bonus" or an inheritance) would you want a law stating that you MUST use that money in a particular way, like paying all of it to debt, or a 1/3 to the credit card 1/3 to the food budget and 1/3 you give back to your employer?
No, of course not, that doesn't make sense. You would do what most people in that situation do - access their current situation and make the appropriate choices. One time, you may decide that despite your debt load, your kids need new shoes and THAT is the priority, so you spend it on shoes. Another time you might decide that 1/2 goes to pay down the mortgage and 1/2 goes to getting a new fridge. Another time you may decide to put the whole thing on your credit card, if every thing else is ok. Still another time you may decide to stick the whole thing in an RRSP because you expect a down turn and will need that money later.
Its all about priorities. I will agree with Andrew here in that no government should have their hands tied with legislation. It restricts the government's freedom to act in relation to current conditions...
Seeing this kind of well argued debate and non-partisan, cross-party agreement was exciting and refreshing, especially considering we were agreeing about fiscal matters. Coupled with the sucess of BPOC, this really shows how politics should be done in this country.
But alas, my enthusiasm is tempered somewhat. I have also been called a pinhead with "my head up my ass" because I thought that Mike Harris' policies created more problems then they pretended to solve. I was accused of being an idiotic easterner who doesn't know what's good for the country.
Well, let's hope this trend of calm discussion and agreement continues. Let's hope it spreads to Parliament, where we can see more cooperation and consensus building instead of more hyperbole and the politics of fear.
A big hat tip to Andrew and Bound By Gravity. I suspect that the debates and sucess I see there are directly atributed to him and the way he runs his blog. I have voted for him as the best Canadian Blog at the small dead aminals awards. I will vote for it in any and all other awards as well.
Good job Andrew.
The amazement continues. I find myself joining Pig v Swine in congratualting Ralph Klein on doing the right thing.
Will wonder's never cease.