Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

With his first act as Prime Minister, Stephen Harper demonstrated that he can play the political game as well as anyone, and his high-minded campaign of integrity, honest government and accountably were as worthless as Chretien's promise to remove the GST.
In other words, he said anything to be elected, and now that's he won, the real Harper agenda will now be revealed.

First, MP David Emerson, re-elected a scant two weeks ago as a Liberal, crossed the floor to join the Conservative cabinet as the Minister of International Trade, with responsibilities for the Vancouver Olympics. Emerson, who had vowed on election night to become the new prime minister's "worst nightmare", does not understand what the fuss is about. His Conservative opponent finished a distant third in his riding; clearly his constituents what wanted a Liberal representing them.
And after all the Tory's boo-hooing when Belinda Stronach crossed the floor, and the cries of anger and outrage when the Liberals were apparently caught trolling for other Tory MPs in the last house, one would have thought Harper would heeded the calls from his party and enacted legislation requiring members that cross the floor to win their seats back in a by-election, rather than trolling for Liberals who value bigger pay cheques over serving their constituents. And he want after a Liberal! You remember them, those corrupt and decadent crooks that Harper just spent the last eight weeks telling us we couldn't trust.

Harper also appointed Michael Fortier to the position of Minister of Public Works and government Services. Fortier was the Conservative campaign co-chair in 2004 and 2006, and co-chair of Harper's leadership campaign in 2006. He lost a bid for the Conservative leadership in the 1990s, and lost a bid to win a seat in the 2000 federal election. While the PM has the right to name anyone he wants to cabinet, traditionally it has been a sitting MP, and if the person chosen is not an MP (as in Fortier's case), the new cabinet member usually runs in a by-election at the earliest opportunity. This will not happen this time; Fortier is being appointed to the Senate, where he will sit until the next election, when he will run.
In other words, Harper's first political appointee is a Conservative party hack who will sit in the Senate and Cabinet. Patronage lives! Worse, Fortier won't have to take questions in The House because he's not a member -- so much for accountability!
And finally, Stockwell Day was given the Public Safety portfolio. While giving Day any form of responsibility is a disaster waiting to happen, surely Day would have preferred some sort of Recreation portfolio. He's clearly a man who loves water sports.

1 comment:

  1. While the Emerson defection is getting all the press, and anything Stock Day does makes the blood run cold, the real issue is the appointment of Michael Fortier is the real kick in the teeth of democracy. Unelected and unanswerable to the House of Commons.
    And the funny thing is that I'm not actually against the Senate--or even an appointed senate. I think they serve a valuable purpose **well, when they choose to do so. THe Liberal appointments to the senate will help to keep a new government in line. Should the public re-elect the Conservatives often enough, they will have a free ride from the senate, and if the Liberals return to government at that point, the Conservative dominated senate will keep them in line for teir first term at least. This is a far better system of checks and balaances than those in Amerika.