Monday, October 23, 2006

Harper Exposed

I suspect the Tories thought themselves pretty clever by calling a by-election during the Liberal leadership race. Trouble is, once again, the political motivations are so blatantly transparent that the move invariably will backfire. The pressure is now on Michael Fortier, the unelected minister of Public Works, to run in a strong Bloc riding. How can Harper justify such an anti-democratic stance?

I guess Harper thought he could embarass Rae and Kennedy, but that dog won't hunt, as everyone seems ready to give them a pass:
May also questioned the timing of the byelections, not only because of the Liberal leadership race, but because voters in London will already be going to the polls on Nov.13 for municipal elections. She called it unfair and a cynical move on the part of the Harper government one that she predicts will backfire.

''I think voters will see that and they won't think less of Bob Rae or Gerard Kennedy, they'll think less of Stephen Harper for picking this timing,'' May said.

Apparently, Kennedy hasn't "ruled out" running and it actually might not be a bad idea. Given the fact that former mayor Dianne Haskett plans on running for the Conservatives, it might provide an excellent forum to distinguish views. Haskett has been out of Canada, working for the Republicans in Washington, not to mention the fact she was once fined $5000 for banning a gay parade. The fact that May plans on running will make this a very high profile race, Kennedy might just want to wade into all the free press. There are risks for Kennedy, but there is also ample rewards.

All the news items on this story speak cynically about the timing of these by-election calls. Harper looks detached, in thinking he can honestly get away with this blatant politicism unscathed. The decision denotes an arrogance that is becoming all too common. Did Harper forget that the Liberal Party will be the beneficary of a mountain of free press, mostly positive, during the convention?? Whatever Harper hoped to accomplish with these by-election calls, it has clearly backfired. Bring on the social conservative Haskett, let Fortier hide from voters, and watch as Liberals are given a pass by everyone who sees the manipulation.

UPDATE

The backfire begins.

5 comments:

knb said...

Another day, another glimpse at the Harper we all knew was lurking behind, that "I'm a man of the people" facade.

I thought I read somewhere that Martha Hall Findlay may run.

Mark Dowling said...

I note Jamey Heath went after May (when she was Sierra Club) linking her to the Liberal environment record in the Hill Times. At the same time Axworthy was lauding the Greens a few weeks ago. Seems like the NDP are worried about the Greens nibbling at their vote outside BC where it's already happened and Liberals are happy to help the process along.

Scotian said...

Slightly off topic, but when I put Newsworld on while waiting for QP to start (once it starts I shift to CPAC but there is usually 10-15 minutes of political coverage on Newsworld prior to the start so it is useful filler) today I heard something rather interesting. Not only does Senator Fortier Minister of Pork and Patronage not answer questions in the House, not only does he not make himself available for reporters to question, but he apparently rarely answers questions in the Senate. Apparently Senator LeBreton the government Senate leader answers many of the questions directed at the Minister of Public Works.

Now Senator Fortier yet again apparently does not want to go through the bother of running for a seat instead of his comfy appointment where he could stay until 75 if he wanted to with no way of removing him. What a tribute to the commitment to accountability, transparency and democracy by Fortier and his boss and buddy Steve Harper our "beloved" Prime Minister. This is clearly Harper playing partisan politics with these by-elections, but with the Fortier refusal to run every time Harper tries to make hay of it against the Liberals the Fortier cowardice is an excellent rebuttal. It may also start focusing the attention of the public again on the travesty that is having an unaccountable Minister in charge of the Adscam Ministry, a Ministry with a long history of patronage and pork abuse by the governments of the day and the Senator being a former (and who knows possibly still given his portfolio and it's history for such abuses)bagman of Harper's. The fact that the Minister is able to avoid any serious questioning by virtue of his being a Senator is a serious insult to our democracy since he was not a Senator already but one appointed the same day he became PW Minister, indeed to facilitate that appointment according to the PM at the time it was done.

I said when this appointment was made that of all the bad decisions the CPC/Harper made on their first day the Fortier appointments were the ones that most troubled me and the ones I considered the most dangerous. Since then I have seen nothing to change that evaluation, indeed what little I have been able to see of Fortier only underscores my concerns regarding this issue.

Steve V said...

Fortier's defence is that he would run in the "next general election". You would think a Minister would be anxious to get into the House, not to mention Harper's ethical claims on accountability. You have to wonder if the meme that Harper is some strategical genius is overblown, because this maneouver is clearly backfiring and simply exposing his blatant ambitions.

burlivespipe said...

Yes, the ol' "general election" cop-out. Being a minority gov't, i expected the reasonable answer would have been "general election" until the tragedy for the Bloc MP. So Michel now is dodging democracy again? Sacre bleu!
I always thought he looked a little like that cartoon french villian in the Bugs Bunny cartoons... Blaque Jacques Shiraq!