Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Diane Francis on Harper's National Lampoon form of governance

Canada's conservatives: study in stupid
Posted: December 04, 2008, 1:10 AM by Diane Francis
Canadian Politics, dysfunction, economy

What is wrong with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his henchmen?

I know Stephen and like him even though he has always been too doctrinaire and cold-blooded for politics. But now we know just how unsuitable he is. He has concocted a crisis that is taking away attention from dealing properly with the worldwide crisis that's about to hit Canada like a hurricane in the new year. He should leave office and the sooner the better. But he won't. Instead he will meet with the Governor-General to try and convince her to dissolve parliament until the New Year.

Here’s my question:

All the blah-blah aside, the essence of this nonsense is why would Harper ever dream that the other three parties would vote in favor of his triple-suicide bill designed to kill off publicly-funded campaign allocations? Were the Tories inhaling in caucus? Or was Harper just in touch with his Grinch? Or is he an Anglo-Saxon Machiavelli?

It bears examination.

These guys must have thought they would pull off one of three things: a) They merely wanted to put a stick in the eye of the Opposition parties at a time when they thought they were helpless to do anything about it. Wrong. Not only was this wrong it was also inappropriate. Cooperation and consensus-taking would have been the preferred option for a real set of leaders whose job in coming months will be to stickhandle their way through one of the worst economic crises in history. b) Alternatively, they wanted to throw a grenade into the Liberal leadership contest and help sustain the decent, but electorally rejected, Stefan Dion at the helm. All of that Machiavellian-type stuff may have been lots of fun to brainstorm over martinis at 24 Sussex Drive, but the facts are that none of the potential outcomes were properly thought through.

Animal house does Ottawa

And the result, for Canada, is that we are a G7 country governed by a bunch of fraternity brothers who dreamed up a nasty trick against a rival house which badly backfired. Worse yet, Harper merely repeated an old, relatively recent political mistake. He did what Joe Clark did in 1979, propose legislation as a minority without sufficient support from other parties and get tossed out within weeks. At least, Clark was defeated trying to get support for a piece of legislation that involved responsible taxation and fiscal policy while Harper’s provocation was merely malicious.
If b) was the plan then it may badly backfire just as it did for the hapless Joe Clark, also from Alberta. This crisis may result in bringing back a tougher Grit leader, say Chretien as an interim boss or Frank McKenna, just as Clark’s miscalculation brought back Pierre Trudeau for many years.

Recklessness reigns

Harper and his government have been unforgiveably reckless. At a time, when consensus and leadership are needed the most, they have deteriorated into schoolyard bullies. Worst of all, they have handed on a platter an opportunity for three leaders, who have all been judged as even less adequate than Harper, to form a coalition to govern Canada. God help us.

Clearly, Tories must stage a palace revolt. Petitions being circulated should be about unseating Harper and his accomplices, not about defeating the coalition. Peter McKay comes to mind, Jim Prentice or anyone but the PM and his inner circle.

Even if they get past this crisis, because of coalition failure, they have disappointed. They are churlish people with questionable judgment whose governance may just end up being more worrisome than the proposed left-wing coalition involving the other three parties.


Robert Gibbs said...

If the GG allows Deceivin' Stephen to prorogue, then this country truly is a Banana Republic, and I, for one, will have lost confidence even in her (and her office).

But then, who gives a shit about my opinion, even if it is at least half informed.

Dr Mike said...

"A study in Stupidity"

Diane you give them too much credit.

Dr Mike.

Kephalos said...

Harper has done so many reckless, even dumb, things, it's unbelievable. What are the top dumb things? From top-of-mind:
- Cadman bribe
- slash to arts funding
- beef with Danny williams
- slash to poltical party funding
- income trust tax lies
- reappointment of Ritz
- Flaherty in Finance
- In/Out fraud
- Blah, blah

In all of these, why didn't the CPC powers-that-be put a... Ah, maybe they misused good American advice. Did the CPC do things badward? I think they got their M's and P's mixed up. They put the lipstick on the PM and the leash on the MPs.