Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Of politicians, elections, and other sad topics

Perhaps I should try viewing the world from a politician's perspective.

Ugh. That's scary. I don't know if I can coerce my brain to travel down that twisted, dangerous path, but they say don't judge another until you've walked a mile in his or her shoes.

No, this doesn't mean I'm running for public office (I could hardly get anyone to vote on my blogger opinion poll), but all this talk about a possible spring election gets me wondering what the heck those guys and gals on Parliament hill are really thinking. Allow me to explain.

The new budget tabled by the Conservatives provides the long-awaited $3000 tax credit for volunteer firefighters [btw, thanks very much to those of you that supported it]. I had several conflicting reactions to the news.

First was a question: what persuaded them to finally put it in the budget? The Canadian Volunteer Fire Service Association initiated the idea nearly 10 years ago. The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs pushed hard for it in the past 12 months. Did the politicians finally listen to reason, or was there another motivator?

Which led to skepticism: perhaps they really don't care about volunteer firefighters, but have some nefarious motive for including the tax credit. Perhaps they suspected that the opposition parties planned to bring down the government no matter what kind of budget they tabled, so they inserted the tax credit - along with numerous other perks - to sweet talk us into being nice to them on election day.

Which led to more skepticism: perhaps the Conservatives purposely created a budget that wouldn't pass because they knew they were going down anyway. Perhaps the plan was to make the opposition look like the bad guys for forcing them to revise the budget and eliminate all those tax breaks and funding promises that we Canadians so dearly love.

Of course there is always the possibility that none of this is true, and that the democratic process actually worked. Perhaps the politicians actually listened to the CAFC. Perhaps they fully intended to give volunteer firefighters a tax break all along.

Or maybe the real truth is a contorted combination of all the above.

On second thought, I don't want to walk a mile in a politician's shoes. It's much more fun to write random thoughts about what they might be thinking. Speaking of writing, you can read my random thoughts from the last election here.

If we do go to the polls, it will be the end of M-635. Whatever the politicians are thinking, I suspect that it doesn't include much about Mr. Rafferty's motion. There's always next time.

On a somber note, tomorrow is the funeral for the two firefighters that died in Listowel last week.

On another somber note, the Japan tsunami disaster is far from over. There isn't much to say about it except that I believe the Japanese will eventually rebound like they have from the many disasters they've suffered. But, like Haiti and Southeast Asia, the recovery will continue long, long after the rest of the world loses interest.

During my sojourn in Japan, I recall a recurring discussion about whether or not nuclear power was a smart method for generating electricity in that earthquake prone country. Opinions ranged widely, but could be corralled into three main categories:
  1. Yeah, it's a great method.
  2. No, it's a lousy method.
  3. Whether it's good or bad, we don't have many other options. This is perhaps the clincher that drives the nuclear power program.

That was over 20 years ago, and the issues haven't changed. Now that Japan's nuclear program is enduring it's biggest challenge ever, I'm sure there will be more discussion on the topic. I don't claim to know any more about Japanese thinking than that of our enigmatic politicians, but I suspect that once the dust settles, they will figure out a way to make atomic energy safer.

Firefighter LODD's and disaster in Japan make politics, elections, and tax credits look like tiny specs of dust in a universe of sadness. Such is our strange world.

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