Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's Time: Harper has Got to Go. Tories Need A New Leader

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper began his polished address to Canada, he smiled, and I felt like I'd just been swallowed by a snake.

Back in 2004, when his minority government was under fire from Harper and his coalition, Prime Minister Paul Martin also took to the airwaves to speak to Canadians. He took responsibility and had an air of contrition for the fight in the House and for the sponsorship scandal and in doing so probably saved his ass.

Harper showed no contrition, took no responsibility for detonating this crisis.

In his speech, he changed events slightly to make himself look better. He said "next month" in order to create the impression that it was always his intention to present the budget in January when in fact this crisis caused him and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to move up the date from February. Otherwise they, unlike even President George Bush, were in no rush to help the economy.

He then says they were consulting with the Opposition parties in Parliament and changed some of their own proposals. In fact, it was precisely because they did not do that and resisted changing for too long, and worse yet included attacks against the Opposition in their economic statement, that they caused the crisis in the first place. He's only talking co-operation now because he's lost the confidence of the House and is desperately trying to backpedal.

Problem is, it's to late. Still, if he'd been contrite, if he'd offered an olive branch, said something to ease the tensions, he would've given those within the coalition who are sitting on the fence, a reason to rethink and say yes, they would show confidence in him to continue to govern. But he didn't. Harper is certainly consistent in blowing up opportunities to persuade people to his side.

He then compounds his foolishness by lying outright on things such as that he'll have an immediate budget unlike them, when it is in fact the opposite; that the coalition includes the BQ when it does not; that the coalition does not have the democratic right, when in fact it does and he tried it himself back in 2004.

Dion in his rebuttal pointed out that consensus is a Canadian value and laid out specific targets for their economic stimulus for Canada. He spoke more directly to Canadians than Harper. And he added a personal note. In short, he was more conciliatory, and that often goes a long way to calming emotions.

In the end though, no matter what the Governor General decides, it's pretty clear that Harper has lost the confidence of the House, that he is not going to regain it in 2 months if he gets his way and gets the Governor General to prorogue Parliament under the cloud of no confidence, something that hasn't happened before (prorogation always happens when the Prime Minister has the demonstrated confidence of the House).

He said he called the election because Parliament was toxic. He has now upped the toxic factor to such an extent that nothing will scrub it clean but his resignation as Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party.

After listening to him tonight, it's clear this man has no scruples, no principles, is willing to divide Canadian against Canadian, to act in his own interest but not Canada's, to play on people's fear and ignorance, all in aid of hanging on to power. He has got to go.

No comments: