Thursday, April 06, 2006

Paul Martin Reality Check

The following quotes are selected from the Liberal Party's election web site. Judge for yourself where they should place on the shameless hypocrisy scale...
1) "[W]hen the time comes to vote on legislation to invest in regional development, well, [Mr. Duceppe] votes against that..He talks about social housing..but when the time comes to vote in the House, well, he voted against social housing here in Montreal."

Reality check: Paul Martin completely eliminated the social housing budget in 1995, making Canada the only developed country without such a program.

2)"I don't believe that Canada was built on American conservative values. It was built on compassion, on generosity, on sharing and understanding,"

Reality check: All of those values were fundamentally, and glaringly, absent from nine Martin budgets.

3) "We as Liberals have always been committed to supporting families, and that means support for all Canadian families. For many Canadian families with immediate relatives overseas, one of the challenges that they have faced is the $975 right of permanent residence fee. We're going to eliminate that fee, over the course of our mandate."

Reality check: Paul Martin brought in the immigrant head tax in his 1995 budget and immigrant communities have been asking ever since to have it removed.

4) "Canadian families have a right to a health care system that puts their needs first. They have a right to quality care in a timely manner by ensuring that critical wait times are reduced. They have a right to a health care system that is accountable to them. Above all, they have a right to care based on need, not ability to pay."

Reality check: Paul Martin cut federal health (and other) transfers by 40 per cent - outdoing the hated Brian Mulroney (25 per cent). He eliminated legislation that ensured provinces spent those dollars on health care and then refused to enforce the Canada Health Act's banning of private care.

5) "I believe in a robust federalism, one in which governments work hard, together, to prepare our citizens and our country for the exciting opportunities - and real challenges - that lie ahead."

Reality check: Paul Martin as finance minister moved further than any other post-war prime minister to decentralize the country - repealing laws that forced provinces to spend transfers on health and education and legislation that gave Ottawa influence over welfare policy.

6) "Together we can ensure that the automobile industry in Canada that has been a source of strength, innovation and pride will continue to thrive in cities like Windsor for many generations to come."

Reality Check: Paul Martin's aggressive pursuit of trade liberalization contributed to an embarrassing loss at the WTO: the Auto Pact was declared in violation of the WTO. Now his government is handing out $900 million to bribe the companies to stay.

7) "This is about making affordable child care a permanent addition to our social foundation. It's about making clear that this program is here to stay - because it's right for Canadian families, and it's what's right for our children."

Reality check: You can thank Canadian voters for this one - they didn't give Martin a majority. He promised child care in every election since 1993 - and every time the Liberals won, they reneged.

8) "The greatest investment a government can make in any region is in economic self-reliance - and that's why the Liberal government believes regional development agencies, like the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and others across this country, are so important."

Reality check: Martin gutted the industrial and regional development departments and their agencies in 1995 - cutting them by nearly 60 per cent.

9 ) "The Liberal government was committed to accepting the Convention [on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions] before the end of the year and today we met that commitment. ... Every culture must have the means to promote its ideas, its values, its perspectives on the world, and its hopes. The Convention will allow us to do that."

Reality check: It was Liberal Heritage Minister Sheila Copps, Martin's cabinet colleague, who led the fight for this convention. Paul Martin opposed her efforts in cabinet and when he became prime minister he threw her out of his government and engineered her nomination defeat.


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