Monday, February 06, 2006

This just in: same old same old

Stephen Harper was sworn in today as Canada's new PM. You remember Stephen, don't you? The guy who ran on a platform of accountability. The guy who--like all aspirants challenging a party that has been in power a while--made the most of the issues of government corruption and cronyism (as Cretien did so well in demolishing Mulroony's Conservatives in the 1988 campaign).

So what is the first thing he does as Canada's new head honcho? He appoints Michael Fortier Minister of Public Works, a portfolio that controls billions of dollars of Canadian taxpayers' dollars. Who is Michael Fortier, you ask? Why none other than Harper's co-chair in Quebec during his campaign to become Conservative party leader. What riding does he represent? Well, that's where Mr. Harper has some explaining to do. You see, Fortier didn't run in the last election. Our illustrious leader had to appoint him to the Senate so he could take on the porfolio. Isn't that the same Stephen Harper who said he'd never make a Senate appointment for purely political reasons?

But wait, there's more. Harper also appointed David Emerson as Minister of International Trade. At first glance, it looks like a great choice because Emerson is one of the few people in Harper's new cabinet who has any previous cabinet experience. But there's one small problem with this picture. Emerson's experience came as Minister of Industry in Paul Martin's cabinet, and last time I checked, Paul Martin was a Liberal PM. How is this possible, you ask? Simple. Emerson pulled a Stronach (in other words, he crossed the floor, defected, changed sides, turned traitor--you get the picture). Seems to me I remember a whole bunch of Conservatives making a whole lot of political hay (not to mention tasteless insults) when Belinda Stronach crossed the floor to join Martin's cabinet.

So, we have a public works minister wielding boatloads of our cash but who doesn't have to answer for it in the house because he's not elected, and we have an international trade minister who, after winning his seat as a Liberal in the last election and saying he would be a thorn in Harper's side, is now at Harper's side, but not exactly as a thorn. So much for making government more accountable and frowning on opportunism (or was that what they meant by "Standing up for Opportunity").

Throw in the fact that only six of the 27-member the cabinet are women (22 whole percent), and you have a fine first day as PM. Nice start Mr. Harper. Where do we go from here?


CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Stephen Who?

On his very first day as PM, Stephen Harper showed clear signs of following in the footsteps of the bungling Joe Clark, who not only lost his luggage but succeeded in losing his bearings in Parliament as well. Like Joe, Harper seems to have forgotten that his is a minority government, not a majority one, and seems to have assumed – at great risk to his fledgling government – that the Liberals, NDP and Bloc will not oppose him and force another election for 12 to 18 months.

We shall see if that assumption is valid.

If an election is held soon, the Tories will start off with egg on their faces, due to Holier-than-thou Harper’s baffling judgment on Day One.

Why on earth did Harper harpoon his own left foot?

He did it once, with his turncoat-conversion and the Liberal into the cabinet before anyone can see it sleight of hand.

He did it twice, with his appointment of – among others – Stockwell Day to his cabinet, instead of more women, and more women it important posts. Does the other half of the population – women – not count in Stephen Who’s world?

He did it thrice, with his U-turn on an elected senate. Principles dumped for expediency?

He did it fourthly, with his appointment of a former lobbyist – and then breathtakingly wants to legislate against others being allowed to do the same.

He did it fifthly, with his introduction into Canada of the Karl Rovian doublespeak. Thanks to Stephen Who, Canadians can now also spend delightful hours parsing the speeches of politicians, to decipher just how they are being bamboozled.

What a beginning!

I wonder if he will last as long as Joe Who....

Peter Garner said...

Nice comment Cktc. A blog post in itself. If you don't have one already, you should get one. ;-)

Aisha said...

and now for something completely different:
THIS year, are you joining NUNS for Lent, Peter?
No Unnecessary Needless Shopping--
from 1 MArch to 15 have all the tech stuff oyu were salivating for last year now, dontcha (viz. geek blog)...

OK, we'd let oyu be a Monk: Men Of Noble K- K- K- help me?

Peter Garner said...

Well, since I am one of the great unwashed unbelievers, I'm not one to go in for Lent, but I might lend moral support since I am not a fan of rampant consumerism. One question: what exactly does "unnecessary" cover.

As for the MONK acronym, I'm still thinking... but we all know Helm is much better suited to this job.

Aisha said...

Helm didnt take the bait...

How about Meaner Oddballs Not Known (mean as in not spending)

Thank oyu for supporting us in spirit and Happy Birthday soon :)