Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Baby steps..

OK, the dust has settled, last time I looked there were no soldiers in the streets, and I dont think that Stevie is grooming CSIS or JTF2 teams to eliminate dissenters. Been awhile since I posted anything, busy at work/home etc.. and there has been more important matters to attend to.

I was initially upset at the floor crossing and appointment of Emerson like many others, but having gave it some sober second thought I'm thinking this was a pretty shrewd move, and Harper has shown himself to be very calculating and not one to make foolish moves. Yes, I still think that floor crossers should have to either run in a by-election or sit as an independant, but there is a time for that legislation, and it's not now. Now is the time to get an effective as possible cabinet up and running. Emerson is a good man and I think that he will deal quickly and effectively with the softwood issue as a priority. When the dust settles on this one the floor crossing will soon be forgotten.

The lib's are in disarray and a state of confusion right now, and kicking them while they are down bothers me not one iota. Make hay while the sun shines.

Things are looking good right now, Harper is playing things smart and he's always been underestimated in the past, lets give him some slack and a chance to see what he can do.



Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Harper’s One-Man-Band, and Pretzel Tories.

So, a little time has passed, and Harper’s daring moves to impress the electorate with his political acumen have now sunk in a bit. Reaction across the country to his cabinet appointments – and abandonment of principles espoused during the election – have varied from sheer disbelief, to shock, to amusement. Never has a Canadian politician fallen so far so fast. Usually it takes time for power to corrupt, but Mr. Harper is a man in a hurry.

Many Tories have had to swallow their tongues and bend themselves into pretzels defending the indefensible. Some MPs have said they fear going back to their ridings because they will have to explain to their supporters how the Harper crew did a sudden U-turn on the accountability issue, which, after all, was the Tory strong point in the election. Harper ran as Mr. Clean, and painted Martin as Mr. Corruption at every opportunity he had.

Even the rightwing press is stunned and disappointed.

Examples of press reaction:

The Vancouver Sun:

“"I expected some of the superficial criticism I've seen," Mr. Harper told The Vancouver Sun in an interview. "But I think once people sit back and reflect, they'll understand that this is in the best interests of not just British Columbia but frankly of good government." Mr. Harper referred to his statements on Monday, when he said he recruited Mr. Emerson to Cabinet to give Vancouver -- which didn't elect a Tory MP in five city ridings -- a voice in Cabinet. He used the same rationale to explain why he appointed Tory national campaign co-chairman Michael Fortier, a Montreal businessman, to the Senate and as Minister of Public Works. Montreal, like Vancouver, did not elect a government MP. "I think I was clear what I did and why I did it," Mr. Harper said yesterday.

The Calgary Sun – Roy Clancy:

“Stephen Harper must be breathing a sigh of relief today. Just minutes after being sworn in as prime minister, he relieved himself of one of the biggest burdens he had carried into the job. No longer must he live up to the impossible standard of political purity and ethical integrity saddled upon him by a naive electorate. ...But as widespread moans of anger illustrate, many Canadians took Harper seriously when he promised Monday to "begin a new chapter for Canada." No wonder they were disappointed when they learned within moments that this new chapter looks a lot like the old one. ...Harper's pragmatic moves may not have violated the letter of his promises to change the way government is run, but they shattered the spirit. .... Monday's manoeuvres quickly lowered the bar when it comes to public expectations of this new regime.“

The Calgary Sun - Rick Bell:

“See the Tories wriggle. Wriggle, Tories, wriggle. Ah yes, one party's turncoat is another party's principled politician. No anger now. No demands to step down and face the voters now. No nasty name-calling now. No sympathy for the poor electors of the riding of the quisling now. ... The trouble with talking about the moral high ground is you actually have to walk on it or, like the kid standing by the broken window after throwing the snowball, insist without shame you've done nothing wrong. ... So the rationalizations flow, the lame explanations are exhaled into the hot air and only those who have drunk the Conservative Kool-Aid will follow as good old ideological ants.”

So, what lessons can be taken from Harper’s first exercise of Prime Ministerial power? Here are a few for you to ponder:

• Just as it is unfair to accuse every Republican of having the same moral vacuity that President Bush has displayed, so too is it unfair to say that all Conservatives – and all voters who voted for the Tories – lack good moral and political judgment. It is very clear that there are a lot of people who voted Tory because they sincerely believed that it was time for the Liberals to mend their house, and for another party to bring in some anti-corruption measures. These people still have high standards; they are as bewildered by the events of this week as others are.

• Harper obviously believes he is above trifling things like having to take the feelings of others into consideration. This exercise of Prime Ministerial power shows that he will think things through – apparently mostly on his own – and then decide on the best way forward. If he explains his thought process, it is obvious to him that voters will then understand why he is right, and fall into line. There is a word for this: paternalism. Harper shows clear signs of seeing himself as the Big Wise Daddy of Canadian politics. His use of the word “superficial” to describe the reaction of others to his crass abandonment of some of the major planks of his election platform illustrates this very clearly.

• Harper is focused on winning a majority in the next election, to happen within 18 months. Everything he will do or say is geared to that. If lesser mortals within his own party do not understand this, that is their problem. They must suck it up and stay in line. Big Daddy knows best.

• Harper does not believe in a democratic party for the Tory government. It is his way or the highway (witness Stronach). This is perhaps the most worrisome aspect for many Tories: did they realize they were electing a dictator rather than the leader of a parliamentary party fashioned along the lines of a Westminster democracy? How many more decisions will be made by The Leader, and rammed down the throats of the caucus? And how can Canadians expect such decisions to be the best, if they are not tested by vigorous debate within the governing party before being made?

If Harper continues in the same vein for the next 12 months, expect him to join the ranks of the Clarks, Campbells and Martins as a short-lived blip on the Canadian political firmament.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Debris Trail said...

Dead Cat: It looks like it's time that you got yourself a blog.... you've got enough "wind" to be a blogger. It's pretty telling when the comment is longer than the post. If you need a soap box that bad, start a blog.

As to your general thesis, save the gloating, and stick to the facts. I trust that you've been equally, or more so, unimpressed this past decade with Liberal corruption that has not only had poor "optics" as did Harper's appointments, but which cost tax payers billions of dolars. I trust that you've been raging about not just the unethical behavior of liberals, but the outright corruption.

Most conservatives will admit that the Harper appointments looked bad. The difference with conservatives and the monocultured "progressive" class, is that conservatives have been more involved in this debate about the appointments than anyone else. There wasn't the gloating that the Belinda floor-crossing brought from all "progressives". This debate has been good for conservatives, as the "progressive" mono-cultured sheeple have looked on in wonder at Conservatives criticizing their own leader. It's proved the point better than anything else; if there's an independant and free thinking electorate in this country, it's sure not on the left.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Shane Mattison said...

I wanted to write and ask, in spite of the media
and public 'firestorm' over the Emerson appointment, to
ask that Canadians please try to see the big picture.
Obviously 'curiosity expired cat' can't so she or it can
go sit with Garth as the King and Queen of the John.

We have a new prime minister who made his cabinet
decisions based upon his belief in merit. I could
complain that 'ole loyal Alberta' should have received more,
but that is not my duty, but rather instead to welcome the
rest of Canada on a needed movement towards redressing
the sheer Tammany Hall corruption that put our society
on a dangerous footing. When things get that corrupt, and
contempt towards the people's power of the purse so
widespread, is there any alternative except to take Mr
Harper at his word when he admires these two businessmen
as capable of making important contributions to our public
polity? Are we so averse to having a truly multiparty system
that our media and opinion makers cannot allow a new government
to prove itself? Perhaps it was a quick and hastily shared
moment, sending the jitters into a quarter of the electorate.
But who can deny that such a reaction was fed by professional
opinion makers who are bent upon the very destruction of the
new government?

I am amazed, as a history teacher, at the lack of historical
perspective, in misunderstanding of the British
parliamentary system, which we were fortunate to inherit. Even
in American constitutional thinking, parties are not the 'be-all
end-all' of responsible representation, but channels against the
dangers of polarized factualism. Studying Edmond Burke, in our own system,
we are confronted with the reality that we elect a Member of
Parliament not to be a mere 'party robot', but to exercise wisdom
when the country is in emergency.

And make no mistake, Canada is swiftly coming to emergency,
both abroad and at home. Winston Churchill was always sensible to
this larger picture. He also knew that often what the country needs
and is deprived of is an 'enlightened centrism', which is what he
embodied his whole career. So did FDR in America. We should applaud
Stephen Harper in getting it right. Mr Emerson legitimately has had
a liberal heart and a conservative head. Is that a crime? Again,
Churchill crossed the floor twice. What if we find ourselves in the
midst of a world war and we've passed some mistaken law that our
members of parliament can never switch parties? They were elected to
use their minds and their wisdom on behalf of the country. Since
when is my vote for one particular party 'God?' If one votes
only for party, then you are prepared to vote for McCarthy types,
solely on the basis that he or she represents 'the Party.' And
that is a fundamental misunderstanding of Parliament! So, dear Canadians,
forgive them and forget about it. Drop the righteousness - its unbecoming.
This tar and feathering of a highly, highly accomplished man has got to
quit if we are to retain self respect as a nation. I ask the too often
Liberal-devout and Eastern-favored media imams to cool their fatwas.
Prime Minister Harper should be allowed to grow with his job.
And Canadians everywhere better start asking "not what their
country can do for them, but what they can do for their country!"

(stanford '81)

9:32 PM  

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