Thursday, May 18, 2006

Harper's Amazing Statement

Yesterday, in response to Gilles Duceppe, our Prime Minister made the following statement:
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC): Mr. Speaker, polls indicate that the Kyoto protocol is popular. I notice today that the Bloc Québécois is indicating—just today—after four years, a change in position. It is opposed to our action in Afghanistan because polls indicate that our presence there is not popular.

Independent nations need leaders, not pollsters.

Staggering that Harper makes such a statement, while in the midst of a pure political powerplay on Afghanistan. Andrew Coyne praises Harper, but admits:
It wasn't pretty, and it didn't show a whole lot of respect for Parliament, but I have to admit Harper got the job done with his sudden decision to put the question of extending the Afghanistan mission to the House. It was brinksmanship of the highest -- and lowest -- order, and thank God.

Gerard Kennedy sums it up nicely:
"That debate has been stolen away by a fairly crass, political consideration by the prime minister...

"In putting his politics and his presidential sort of system of trying to manipulate Parliament ahead of the interests of Canadians, he has potentially undermined the mandate for those troops. It's highly regrettable, and I don't accept that the prime minister has a mandate to act in this fashion..."

"Mr. Harper running full-time for re-election"

Every single discussion involving this government and their policies, revolves around political considerations. Even Harper's own supporters acknowledge the political motivations for last night's vote. Surely, Harper must have appreciated the irony of his statement in the context of the proceedings.

I do agree with our P.M, we need leaders, not pollsters. So instead of manipulating our troops and their safety so you can blunt potential criticism, maybe the debate should be approached with careful considerations in mind. Issues aren't chess pieces that act as faciliators for a majority. Are you governing or trying to win? Unfortunately, we are in the midst of the longest election campaign in Canadian history- Parliament Hill is just a prolonged campaign stop.


Anonymous said...

The most offensive thing about Harper's so-called vote on Afghanistan was the absolute cynicism of the ploy. His refusal to allow proper debate of so important an issue, and his lust to score brownie points over the issue, was a disservice to the country, and resulted in a pyrrhic victory for the New Tories. He could have won a proper endorsement if he had shown more respect for Parliament.

My reasoning is along these lines. IF an adequate period of time had been allotted for full and proper debate, and IF the Liberals had then allowed a free vote, there would have been pressure on the Bloc to do the same (and Duceppe might have allowed a free vote), THEN the interests of Canada would have been served because the issue would have been properly debtated.

Instead we had another Harper circus, masquerading as democratic process.

The results of such a vote? I believe that more Liberals and some Blockers would have supported Harper's extension, if certain conditions had been agreed to as part of the proper debate.

Harper would then have had a genuine vote supporting Canada's efforts in Afghanistan.

My concern – and the concern of the Bloc and many LPC MPs – was that the process was deliberately flawed by Harper in order to achieve a short term victory, and that the interests of the Canadian nation were not served by Harper's tactics.

Steve V said...


Well said!