Monday, June 11, 2007
Is this the beginning of the end, or the lull before the ballyhoo for this CONservative Gov’t?
The defection of Bill Casey, an MP who is respected by both sides of the house and who is rock-solid popular in his riding (and now all of Atlantic Canada) over Harpor’s stubborn stance on the Atlantic Accord, may be the tip of the iceberg.
Certainly polls in the coming weeks will show that there is a swelling of anger on the east coast over how the CONs have twisted and turned their version of the truth into a multitude of broken promises.
You’ve got Danny Williams and now Rod MacDonald pissed off, one MP out the door. None of the other atlantic CON MPs can be sitting very comfortably, knowing that they sail on choppy seas.
Harpor had always said that Atlantic Canada suffered from a culture of defeatism; hopefully the defeat will be his. But lets concede that there could be an out of this mess, should Deceivin’ Stephen and flippy-floppy Flaherty make haste and agree to stand by the Atlantic Accord as written.
The signal of a misstep is obviously something Harpor loathes to do — see how he changed directions on the media’s coverage of the return of soldiers’ remains, and the adaptation of all those Liberal programs after he axed them. Slap on a new label, blame someone else for the mistake, then leave with a potshot at the ‘complaintant.’
It’d be nice if all those angry Atlantic CONs like Williams, Casey and MacDonald would open their eyes to Harpor’s recent history of ignoring or all together disrespectful attitude to Liberal programs and promises – like the Kelowna and Kyoto Accords, the national childcare strategy, Income trusts, etc. Each of these was intended to serve someone and a purpose, and since Harpor has rolled into town, those groups have essentially been isolated and ignored.
Harpor has nearly challenged the disgruntled to take it to court to test their arguments. He’s a leader who won’t back down. He may not have a vision, but stubbornness, plus that hockey book he’s working on, point to leadership with a capital ‘L’.
In this week’s The Hill Times (June 11th, by Bea Vongdouangchanh), Duff Conacher of Democracy Watch gets in a couple of fine points when comparing Harpor’s minority machinations with Chretien’s majority movements.
He says the CONs have “acted undemocratically by breaking promises” when it comes to their biggest campaign spiel — the Federal Accountability Act.
They have failed or purposely delayed the implementation of former Information Commissioner John Reid’s proposals to strengthen the Access to Information Act. They’ve demonstrated contempt to the public’s need to know when it comes to their plans, programs and proceedings.
And their whole demeanor speaks of someone who would prefer to obliterate opposition, as oppose to work with or accept that it’s a reality in a democracy.
"It's not so much on those initiatives, but just the way they're trying to push them through and reacting to the opposition parties having different views," Mr. Conacher said. "Contrast that to what [former prime minister Jean] Chrétien did, for example. Chrétien broke a lot of promises as well. 'Governing with Integrity' was the chapter in the Red Book [in the 1993 election campaign] and then eventually he kept them, most of them in the end, with the lobbying law changes, but just to give an example of an initiative he put forward that he didn't say he was going to, was the political finance reforms. He introduced that bill, and he had a majority, but he still made changes the opposition parties wanted. That's what I'm talking about when I'm talking about the reaction of the Conservatives to the opposition parties. They don't have a majority."
Conacher gives the CONs a failing grade when it comes to their honesty level, not merely the broken promises but that Harpor’s modus operandi is to deliberately set up roadblocks and false accusations to deter the role of the opposition and the media.
Does it mean that the majority of Canadians will see this reality, too? Is Atlantic Canada the start of a wave, rolling across this broad, hard-to-manage country, petering out at the Alberta border?
The great claims of Harpor being ‘a brilliant tactician’ seem dubious at this point. But never underestimate a snake in the grass, unless you’re on your knees with a mongoose at your elbow.