Monday, November 29, 2010

Harper's Brilliant - Sometimes. Too Bad It Doesn't Serve Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is brilliant. Of course, it doesn't happen too often, despite appearances, and his recent brilliance didn't serve Canada. But it did give his minority government the effective power of a majority, and it increased desire for Senate reform. But still he can polish his fingernails on his chest and take kudos.

Harper, like every Liberal and Conservative Prime Minister before him, stacked the Senate and finally achieved Conservative majority in that chamber. He had his appointees promise to resign after 8 years, but you, I, and he knows that the promise is non-binding and if they choose to ignore it and hang in like good partisan Senators, he'll be long gone so who cares. It's only the short term perception of showing his Senate reform chops that's important.

Meanwhile with a stacked Senate, he can get his way even if the Opposition decides to vote against his minority government and pass a bill like the recent Climate Change Bill. But Harper ain't worried. He just tells his Senators to jump to defeat it, and they do.

Even better, with having them jump sans debate, he pisses off all the non-Conservatives and makes them more amenable to Senate reform. I'm not sure if he wants to abolish it or make it Triple E as the Reform party wanted, but either way making the Senate more undemocratic works for him: it gives him an effective majority government and opens up naysayers to Senate reform.

Watch for him to repeat this performance for future progressive bills. Bonus: the weak-willed Liberals, huffing and puffing, can be guaranteed to give him carte blanche to continue as they have not and will not dare to call him out for an election.

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