Monday, February 06, 2006

The Colour of the Turncoat Matters

My, my, my. What's new is old. Pomp and ceremony was the medium in which the message became clear: politics is politics is politics. As my rusty memory recalls, Brian Mulroney appointed an unelected Lucien Bouchard to his cabinet, which turned out very well for us and for Canada, and today Stephen Harper topped that. A quickie Senate appointment and a rapid-fire defection from Liberal to Conservative, and he has two spanking new Ministers in Cabinet: David Emerson, a Vancouverite elected Liberal 2 weeks ago and Industry Minister in Paul Martin's government, today a Conservative and Minister for International Trade; and Michael Fortier, a Montrealer and co-chair of the successful Conservative campaign who turned things around in Quebec and got 10 Conservatives elected there, today a Senator. But only temporarily, mind, as Harper says sincerely that Fortier will resign and run for Parliament in the next federal election, which should be in about 18 months...unless Harper already has a date in mind?

And so here we have it, politics Harper style: bad Belinda Stronach for defecting to the Liberals after many months of being an elected Conservative; good boy David Emerson for doing it within 2 weeks so as to give Harper an urban seat. Bad Liberals for not appointing elected Senators from Alberta and going with their own ideas after much thought; good Conservatives for appointing an apparatchik to the Senate so as to give Harper a Montreal representative in Cabinet, during the first day in power. Well, we can't say the Conservatives dither.

And now Stephen Harper will, with a straight face and serious rationalization, turning to a hurt expression when we hoot at his idea of ethics, tell us how he intends to clean up government and bring in democratic reform.

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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?

talk talk talk said...

Good points. I responded in a post on Feb 8th -- not enough room here!