The recent political shenanigans in Ottawa caught most Canadians by surprise. Prime Minister Stephen Harper attempted to cripple the opposition parties by cutting off their supply of taxpayer funding and the opposition parties responded by forming a coalition to try and oust Harper from office.
Perhaps the only thing more horrifying to Canadians than the prospect of a coalition government that included the tax happy NDP and separatist Bloc Quebecois was it being led by Stephane Dion, the hapless leader of the Liberals.
After all the dust had settled Dion was dumped as Liberal leader and, as I predicted in a previous column, Michael Ignatieff was ushered in as the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
These events signal some of the top political blunders of 2008. The following is a list in no particular order of what I consider to be the top ten political blunders of 2008:
1. The Lib/NDP/BQ/Green attempt to unseat the Harper minority government and install Dion as Prime Minister.
2. The minority Harper government’s attempt to end taxpayer funding of political parties thus giving the Liberals, the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and even the Greens one issue they had to unite on in order to ensure their continued survival.
3. Bob Rae’s protestations against the Ignatieff’s coronation. Given his one economically disastrous turn as the NDP Premier of Ontario, the Conservatives would have had a field day with Rae leading the Liberals. Rae finally did step aside but only after most of the Liberal caucus had untied behind Ignatieff.
4. The carbon tax. Canadians can smell a tax grab a mile away. The introduction of a carbon tax here in BC has left Premier Gordon Campbell suddenly struggling to stay ahead of the BC NDP. Dion chose to make a federal carbon tax one of his main election planks thus ensuring one of the worst electoral results ever for the federal Liberals.
5. Robert Mugabe. Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly three decades and has presided over the most dramatic economic collapse of any non-communist country since World War Two. With its current cholera epidemic, Zimbabwe is a nightmare of post-colonial mismanagement and corruption.
6. Sarah Palin. Good looks notwithstanding, Palin brought to the role of Vice-Presidential Republican candidate not only a thin resume but a profound lack of intellectual curiosity and knowledge about the world thus reminding voters of why they could no longer trust the Republicans to govern.
7. Joe the Plumber. His name isn’t Joe, he isn’t a plumber, and in his last tax return he made about $42,000 working as a general labourer. But that didn’t stop Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher from grabbing his 15 minutes of fame complaining about Barack Obama’s plan to increase taxes on Americans making more than $250,000 per year. With friends like Sarah and Joe it was no wonder Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s straight talk express went off the rails.
8. Mumbai Bombings. After the bombings Pakistan stepped up its efforts to round up terrorist ring leaders rather than be on the losing side of a war with India.
9. George W. Bush’s Victory Tour. The shoe throwing incident was for many a fitting political end to one of the most incompetent Presidents to ever govern the United States of America.
10. Detroit Automakers. When you are begging for tens of billions of dollars in taxpayers’ money do not fly to Washington in three separate private jets.
Mike Geoghegan is a government relations consultant who lives in Victoria, B.C. He can be reached via his website at www.mgcltd.ca