But they aren't singing a hummable tune. Rather, it's business as usual. You know, the kind of business CONs and before them Reformers use to lambasted and heckle their rivals about when they were on the opposition side.
It is the season for giving, after all. But in these turbulent, topsy-turvy times, pretending to be Santa for your well-heeled (and 'Heel' is a good turn of phrase) pals is taking it a lot too far.
Harper's reneging on another promise -- well, it's apparently his passion in politics -- isn't about the deed. Admittedly, it's his perogative to fill the vacant senate seats. And certainly its within his powers to fill them with underwhelming, undeserving and totally wholly partisan hacks and hackettes. Yes, previous Liberal governments did exactly that, but typically with more artistry and a little show for balance. By my count, during the last years of Chretien and in Martin's appointees, there were 1/3 named from other parties; there were also 1/3 whom had very credible resumes when it comes to serving in the Chamber of Sober Second Thought. Now I doubt these new people are allowed to think, never mind stay sober.
There is much to be concerned about this deluge since Harper barely hung onto his political skin by proroguing parliament just weeks before. Is it a defiant act in the face of possible defeat come January, or just a shrewd use of the 'coalition' as a cover for his latest promise-breaking twist?
Either way, his choice of Mike Duffy -- a man who played the role of a working "journalist" while apparently singing and zinging from the CON hymn book -- reeks. It also underscores the cynicism attached to this Harper manoeuvre. So this is how you play chess - with a 300-pound pawn?
One important question that remains to be answered, and since all citizens are on the hook for this it certainly requires asking - What pledge have these 18 made, to win the annual $130,400 plus perks for-life lottery?
Apparently, they've agreed to support Harper's plan to democratize and make more efficient (code words for 'Think Like Us') the upper chamber. Does that mean they all intend to retire after eight years? Or if in eight years time, if its a Liberal running Ottawa, are they allowed to remain in their cozy, fully indexed chair? Are they all onboard to run in an election if their provincial body so demands, or is it just Wallin?
Harper is also rumoured to have demanded that his new appointees "oppose a coalition government" -- which certainly leaves much open to speculation. Does that mean by taking up arms, or just bleeting the daily talking points to the cameras, misusing governmental mailings, etc? What if this coalition is comprised of Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and NDPers? Is it just the Bloc's agreement to support a coalition the trigger point, or is Harper setting another of his "ugly precedents" that can only apply to his opponents -- because he was certainly fine with a coalition with the Bloc in 2004. What if after another minority government is elected, but there is party support to make a Conservative-Independent-Western Separatist coalition? Is that Okay? Or what if Mario Dumont's Quebec party, the Action Democratique, is resurrected on the federal stage and they were formidible enough to give the CONs a coalition to overtake a possible Liberal government?
Well, we know just as Harper owes no responsibility for his actions, he is also neither tied to his own conditions.
Move over Denmark. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is something rotten in the state of Harper.