Friday, April 21, 2006

Harper's Agenda - Thin Ice

Stephen Harper and his conservative government are on thin ice. Apparently, no one has the courage to tell him. There is a reason for this. We are now learning from Harper’s actions that he is a Prime Minister determined to force his personal agenda on the voters. If you oppose him then you are his instant enemy. It is ironic, but I see similarities between Harper and the late former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.

Harper got it going early when he appointed a liberal to his cabinet and then appointed an unelected Senator, appointed by Harper, to his cabinet. The Harper conservatives have always been opposed to such appointments.

Harper then met with US President George Bush and Mexico President Vicente Fox. Harper came away from the Cancun summit with absolutely nothing on the important issues respecting Kyoto, softwood lumber and border security between Canada and the US. Harper found out he is a little fish in a big pond at his first official visit with President George W Bush.

Harper then sent Peter MacKay to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She was polite as MacKay heaped praise on her, but it achieved absolutely nothing. Rice simply patronized MacKay and then retired to more important matters on her agenda.

Harper then claimed in a media report that he was in the dark on the issue of his Environment minister’s office muzzling a federal scientist, Mark Tushingham. Now that is what I always wanted, a Prime Minister that is in the dark after less than three months on the job. Mark apparently wrote a novel entitled, Hotter than Hell and was to speak about his novel at a luncheon in Ottawa until an email from the Environment minister’s office warned him not to attend the event. The irony here is that all this occurred at the same time that Harper introduced whistle blower legislation intended to protect civil servants like, Mark Tushingham, when they feel the interests of Canadians are more important than the personal agenda of any Prime Minister. The legislation apparently doesn’t apply if your opinion opposes that of Prime Minister Harper.

On the painful issue of gas prices, Harper is on record as saying, get used to it. That is not what Canadians wanted to hear. It is not what Harper’s policy used to be when he was in opposition. Harper is winding up a five-city tour today in Toronto and on each stop he has very determinedly laid out his personal agenda with a bravado attitude suggesting it is his way or no way.

Harper leads a minority government that is on thin ice with many huge icebergs around him, but with no caution he is still on full-speed ahead just like the Titanic. He is systematically building an enemy list that will eventually bring him down in icy waters.

Stephen Harper you are on thin ice. Slow down or risk the icy waters.

Finally, Stephen Harper may be the Prime Minister, but I am a free proud Canadian he cannot muzzle. Although this may pain the PM and his operatives, I have been a conservative for nearly fifty years. Get used to it!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Ralph Goodale

Like him or not, you have to respect Ralph Goodale, the Member of Parliament for Regina Wascana. Until the recent election he was the Minister of Finance and now he is the House Leader for the liberal Official Opposition.

The liberals lost power to the conservatives primarily over the Sponsorship Scandal. At this point it would have been easy for Goodale to simply float to the next election and then announce he was retiring.

In “The Goodale Report,” which he regularly sends out to his constituents he noted that it was a distinct privilege to represent his constituents for the 5th consecutive time. He then promises to represent all the people regardless of how they voted and that he will do his best to represent Wascana honestly and effectively. So far this isn’t sounding like retirement.

Further, he is being pressured to run for the leadership of the liberal party. Personally, I believe his resume stacks up fairly well against the other candidates who have declared or are considering running for the liberal top job.

Ralph Goodale has made politics his life. He apparently loves the business of politics, but eventually your time passes. He has been immensely successful. His time has not yet passed and it seems it is not about to pass for a while yet.

Ralph Goodale has been in politics a long time and he has worked hard at the job. He has honestly served his country, his province and his constituents. All of this and he still has a passion for the job.

Unlike many politicians, Ralph Goodale has earned your respect. Whether or not you pay him the respect he deserves is your problem!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Ralph Klein

The issue of Premier Ralph Klein’s loss of party support at a leadership review has many questioning the Alberta conservative party’s decision. Klein only received 55% of delegate support.

Ralph Klein has a record of achievement unmatched in Alberta, or anywhere else for that matter, but he is currently a victim of democracy. His time is over.

There are only a few factors that can prematurely crowd you out of politics. One is your style of leadership that can net you political enemies over a short period of time. You may also be victimized by your policies that either didn’t work or the public failed to accept. Personal problems can also be a contributing factor. Finally, based mostly on these factors, the public simply concludes it is your time to depart.

Democracy can be cruel, but it is democratic and that is our system. Ralph Klein should have few reservations about how he served the people of Alberta. The people should have few reservations about giving him the nod to retire as their Premier.

Most former politicians are simply allowed to drift into obscurity by the public they tried their best to serve. It is cruel, but it is democratic.

Ralph Klein will learn, as all other politicians before him, that there is a life after politics. History will record that Ralph Klein was a controversial and highly successful Premier of Alberta. Most other former politicians are barely mentioned in the books of historical record.

Do I feel sorry for Ralph Klein? No, because he was highly successful and has earned his retirement. Finally, Ralph Klein will continue to influence Alberta and Canadian politics. Count on it!