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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In praise of Stephen 
(en francais)

"To understand how far Stephen Harper has come, you have to recall how far back he started. When he became the leader of the Canadian Alliance in 2002, it was fair to ask whether the job was worth holding. Under its previous leader, Stockwell Day, the party had been driven punishingly low in the polls, suffered MPs' defections, become something close to a national laughingstock. Harper resuscitated his caucus, rebuilt his party with the help of the Progressive Conservative Peter MacKay, won a leadership contest, and reduced the Liberal majority to a minority and then to opposition. All in four years. He is turning into the kind of man whom one underestimates at one's peril"

Paul Wells
MacLeans Magazine

Preston Manning is a retired elder statesman with his own institute, Stockwell Day is a Cabinet Minister in his cabinet, Belinda Stronach is preparing for a stint on the oppostion benches along with Paul Martin, who will most likely retire at the end of this Parliament. Stephen Harper is not exactly a man who operates in the short term.

I'll state at the outset that I like Harper's cabinet, every last one of them. The optics may not be pretty, but if Stephen Harper worried only about the short term he never would have donned that lovely western outfit this summer.

My guess on Emerson is that we are far closer to a deal on resolving the softwood lumber situtation than anyone realizes. That, coupled with the importance of the Pacific Gateway to our economy's future, makes him a vital member of cabinet. Look for Emerson to have a resolution on softwood within six months to a year. In the meantime he trains a Parliamentary Secretary in the portfolio. Shortly after he announces his retirement from politics. Optics bad, results good.

Floor crossings are a reality in minority parliaments. With each crossing we go through a period of hand-wringing, insults, indignation and various protests. If this practice is such a danger to the fundamental foundations of our democracy, then pass a law restricting or forbidding it's use. The ironic thing is, the combination of Stephen Harper's decisions yesterday with his policy of allowing free votes on all things expect confidence motions, will probably see some form of law passed on this. That's our democracy.

On Michael Fortier, Harper is again doing what he said he would do. During the election he stated that if necessary he would appoint Senators to represent the interests of Quebec or any other region without representation. He certainly added a wrinkle by choosing Fortier, but as with Emerson I believe he has his compelling reasons for this decision. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on those. The appointment is temporary and in no way affects his long term goal of appointing elected Senators.

Lost in all the howling yesterday was beginning of the Federal Accountability Act. Implemented yesterday was every piece of the act not requiring legislation.

Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers (pdf)

Conflict of Interest and Post-Employment Code for Public Offic Holders (pdf)

Although time will tell, I think we saw the first signs yesterday that our parliament will return to government by Cabinet and not rule by the PMO. Nothing concrete to offer regarding this as yet, other than my interpetation of how and when certain things were said and done yesterday.

Stephen Harper may not be a leader in the mold of George Patton or Mike Harris, but make no mistake, he is a leader. My respect for him continues to grow. He left no doubt that he made the decisions and will ultimately accept responsibility for them.

Trackback to Small Dead Animals

WE Speak at 8:30 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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