Thursday, January 22, 2009

There is a metaphor to describe this

Now what is it again? Oh yeah, "Being hoist by one's own petard". Or to be blown up by your own bomb.

During the 2006 campaign Harper promised a more accountable government. They were quite proud when they announced this (a.k.a. the petard):
Canada’s New Government followed through on a key promise today by delivering on its top priority – passing the Federal Accountability Act – as Her Excellency, the Right Honourable MichaĆ«lle Jean, Governor General of Canada, granted Royal Assent to the Act in the Senate today.

Ensure truth in budgeting with a Parliamentary Budget Authority

  • A new Parliamentary Budget Officer to support Members of Parliament and parliamentary committees with independent analysis of economic and fiscal issues and the estimates of the government.
  • Quarterly updates of government fiscal forecasts from the Department of Finance.
Imagine the self-satisfied grin on Grand Master Harperov's face as he took a break from lording it over a New government to work on his hockey history book. After all, he had pre-determined the result by underfunding the Office.
"The budget says it's a gesture, because there isn't much money," says Sharon Sutherland, a visiting professor at the school of political studies at the University of Ottawa.
Think of the chortling in the caucus meetings when Harprorogue explains how he can use the establishment of the PBO as a bludgeon on the hapless Liberals while being safe from any actual investigation. Given the calibre of his caucus, he probably had to explain it several times. But once they got it they couldn't help but laugh at the brilliance of their Dear Leader.

But in the words of Robbie Burns (Don't forget his birthday is only 3 days away):
But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!*
To A Mouse
Robert Burns
November 1785

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy! Indeed. Who could have foreseen that Kevin Page could have done such a great job with so few resources. And the petard blew up.
“Parliamentary Budget Office Kevin Page has reported that the Conservatives have positioned Canada to rack up at least $46 billion – possibly as much as $105 billion – in new debt over the next five years without any new spending planned in their stimulus budget,” said Mr. Brison.
Now when we I look at Harprorogue in this stew of his own making, I think of another line from Rabbie's poem:
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!**
(or for those of you with rusty Scots translation skills):
But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
O, what a panic is in your breast!
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