Stephen Harper, I want my money back.
Last week, his government chose to waste their time and our money by recalling that the late thirties leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), the predecessor to the present day NDP, questioned sending Canadian soldiers to fight the Nazis in response to NDP representative Christine Moore asking the Conservatives if they plan to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan past 2014.
“The NDP do not support sending troops abroad for anything,” said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, noting that the old leader of the CCF, one J.S. Woodsworth, did indeed say that he “would ask whether we are to risk the lives of Canadian sons to prevent the actions of Hitler.”
Baird and his colleagues failed to mention that Woodsworth was the only member of the CCF and the only member of parliament to oppose declaring war on Germany, as declaring war was a position officially held by the CCF as a party.
They also failed to mention that that was 70 years ago and the current government should be trying to solve the problems of the day rather than feebly attacking its opposition with a narrow and misguided view of what basically amounts to ancient history, obviously designed to appeal to their hyper-nationalist base.
Conservative supporter or not, this should enrage you.
The war in Afghanistan and our participation in that conflict is an important national and international issue that deserves serious consideration as far as the pros and cons of our continuing involvement. Genuine concerns and real alternatives should not be so cavalierly dismissed with such casual references to a far distant past, which was obviously carefully researched in preparation for hard questions about Afghanistan, which really makes you wonder what the Conservatives are doing with the time we give them as our elected officials – our employees.
That, apparently, was their ace in the hole, the card up their sleeve.
It would seem simply absurd and pathetic if it wasn’t also so insulting and infuriating. Just consider the audacity, not to mention the stupidity, that must infect the party for them to believe that drudging up one tiny and actually inconsequential tidbit of Canadian history is a sufficient – possibly even meritorious – means of addressing a serious issue.
Is there any other situation imaginable in society where an employer would tolerate such idiocy from his or her employee?
It isn’t even a sincere attempt to do the job.
It’s dereliction of duty.
And this is why we should completely restructure the way our elected officials are paid. After all, it has been said that an organization can’t function properly when the employee earns higher wages than the employer, but our government representatives – our employees – likely earn much higher wages than a huge percentage of our population.
That is backwards.
Really, there should be a minimum wage for the general populace and a slightly lesser wage for our government, who are the employees of every one of us, perhaps especially those people working for minimum wage.
We could also add performance bonuses as incentives for good work, but I don’t really like that idea.
The job should be its own reward.
If politicians are genuine in their claims of wanting to serve their city, their province, their country in order to make it a better place, they would do that job for a wage that is judged to be the minimum wage that allows people to enjoy a standard of living that Canadians are supposedly meant to enjoy while still allowing the companies that employ those workers to stay in business.
If you look at the problems facing our health care system and the cutbacks at federal institutions like Parks Canada, it is clear that our country is a company that is failing to stay in business, regardless of what people tell you about our amazing natural resources driven economy.
And maybe our standard of living is a bit extravagant too.
I am sure that many of us could live on lower wages if we had our priorities straight. Our elected officials could certainly do so. And if they want to do their job as poorly as the Conservatives obviously want to do their job, they really don’t deserve any wages at all.
I repeat: Stephen Harper, I want my money back.