Who needs civics? You do!

The business report on the radio began with the latest dooming and glooming. The commentator used all the appropriate clichés about this poor outlook, that unexpected downturn, and, of course, the uncertainty prevailing. Then, he surprised me with his ignorance by describing this week’s outcome in the French election.

“European markets are surging,” he said, “because of leftist Marine Le Pen’s showing in the first round of the French elections.”

Leftist?” I repeated out loud. “Does he have any idea what he’s talking about?”

Promises, promises

Making political promises stick.
Making political promises stick.

It didn’t take long to determine whether Canadians would be going to the polls this spring or not. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty hadn’t even begun to introduce the 2011 federal budget in the House of Commons, Tuesday afternoon, when we knew that two of the three Opposition leaders – Gilles Duceppe and Michael Ignatieff – would not support it. Only Jack Layton kept the country in suspense until the end of the budget speech. And within minutes of Flaherty’s concluding remarks, the other shoe dropped.

“Mr. Harper had an opportunity to address the needs of hard-working, middle class Canadians and families,” Layton said to CBC microphones, “and he missed that opportunity… New Democrats will not support the budget as presented.”