Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen.

I can't say I'm overly impressed with Stephen Harper's odd moves during yesterdays Cabinet appointments.

While I don't have too much trouble with appointing a non-elected party member to a cabinet position, as long as they bring a unique skill set or viewpoint that can justify their appointment, I'm not too big on the whole process of how an MP crosses the floor. While I don't have a problem with MP's changing parties, per se, I do think we need some sort of mechanism for constituents in his or her riding to voice their opinions on the matter, and if a significant number disagree with the move, a way for the riding to force a by election.

While not the case in all ridings, MPs are often elected as much due to party allegiances as voters like or dislike of the individual candidates. By changing that allegiance, while a sitting member, you have essentially betrayed your constituents trust and you owe it to them to allow their voices to be heard.

I understand Harper's wanting to get representatives in his Cabinet from two of the largest cities in the country, but while I might be able to give him a pass on the appointment of Fortier to be a voice for Montreal, the Emerson move still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I understand that he may have been a good Industry Minister under Martin, and that as a Vancouver MP he has a unique perspective regarding trade with Asia and the upcoming Olympic games, but still, there had to be a better way to do this.

Harper has to definitely do some spin control to keep his image as a force for change in parliament from being completely destroyed. The one good development from yesterday's announcements is that he reconfirmed his dedication to creating an elected Senate, and by the sounds of it, by the next federal election. If he can manage to succeed in that then maybe, just maybe, he'll come out on top of this whole mess.

Of course, on the brighter side, there is always the Liberals response to this whole affair to bring a smile to your face. Who else besides a Liberal MP could keep a straight face when condemning this move, when just 6 months ago the committed the most blatant act of vote buying ever witnessed in Canadian parliament. Bill Graham meet Belinda Stronach, Belinda Stronach, Bill Graham.


Anonymous CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Harper hubris, or Does Harper have a tin ear?

The conventional wisdom now seems to be that Stephen Harper is a political genius, of the same ilk as Napoleon, or Churchill, or – pick your favourite. But what if Harper’s cabinet-making is not a politically astute move by at all, but simply a sign that he has a political tin ear?

After all, sometimes the past is predicator of the future: in 2004 he misread the electorate with some of his comments about the Liberals – especially Martin – and his premature triumph speeches about the West taking over. And in Parliament he has sounded a bit screechy and overly self-righteous. Then there are those stories about him being a one-man-band, who does not need a mentor because, one observer says he said, he never met anyone as smart as he is ....

So, perhaps this was just Harper being Harper, and marching to his own discordant band?

If so, wait until the second Act: gonna be a lot of fun for Libs and NDP, and a lot of buyer’s remorse by many voters in Ontario ....

And meanwhile, the Bloc will crouch in the wings, nursing its wounds, and waiting for the right time to take Harper down – when he is under a cloud of intolerance or stupidity, but before he cements himself into Quebec as Mulroney Junior. Best get rid of him soon, before he becomes a real threat to the Bloc ...

So wait for the right moment, and the ganging up by the three parties who each have good reasons for taking him out of his new digs at Sussex, and who – between them – hold the balance of power.

After all, Harper arranged a mob-lynching of Martin with all three parties deciding to put in the knife on that particular Ides of May. Having shown the way, I wonder if Harper fears that this time the other three parties will cooperate to bring him down?

Better than even chance, I think; and probably before summer ends, too.....

Maybe Harper should let those renovations take place at Sussex Drive before he moves in: might save him having to move twice, eh?

February 07, 2006 3:00 p.m.  
Blogger Bic said...

I have some pretty big doubts about the opposition wanting to bring down the Conservatives any time soon. Too many people were complaining about the last election as being unneccessary, a second one in less than a year would be disasterous for whoever caused it to be called. And as this post over at Captain's Quarters points out, there aren't too many topics that Canadians in general are willing to see a new election called over.

The jury's still out on whether or not these appointments were a good idea. Only time will tell how well he can sell them to the public.

I think the best thing he can do is start right away with his initiatives to clean up/fix the federal government. The accountability Act, elected Senate, etc.. are all things it would be hard for opposition members to try and block. If he can get some of that passed, he may buy himself the time to make himself more appealing to more Canadians.

I have to say though, that this was not the best move to make this early in the game.

February 07, 2006 6:50 p.m.  

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