Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Smart Government

The new Stephen Harper conservative government once apparently stated that it is easy to get smart when you are in the opposition side of the House of Commons. This comment was apparently made while the conservative government was condemning the liberal opposition. Conversely, one could argue that it is easy to get stupid when you are in government and the new Harper conservative government is beginning to prove that argument. It has always been more difficult to govern than to oppose. Stephen Harper and the new conservative government are learning that hard lesson every day.

It could be when the conservative government denied the need to address environmental concerns and after pressure from the public and the opposition they have developed an environment plan that has only satisfied a few at best. The conservatives are trapped in the extremes of hard-core environmentalists, the profit line of industry and the inconvenience and cost to everyday Canadians.

It could be when the conservative government messed up at various times regarding the war in Afghanistan. The latest mess up being how they handled the issue of setting policy for how Taliban detainees turned over by Canadian troops to Afghan authorities is monitored to assure they are being treated in a humane manner. The many calls for the resignation of Defence Minister O’Connor has now shifted to condemnation of Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay for apparently not even knowing what the policy was.

It could have been when the new conservative government argued for tax cuts, paying down the national debt and reducing government spending while in opposition and then turning around in government and doing the very opposite.

Yes, it is easy to be smart in opposition, but does that mean you have to be stupid in government? The answer is no and the new Stephen Harper conservative government can perform intelligently as long as they stay on their agenda and at their pace. Hasty decisions to craft policy to defend against criticism from the opposition parties in the House of Commons will only cost the conservatives government and land them back in the opposition benches.

It is not so much what the conservative government has done, but rather how they have done it that has kept a majority government out of reach. It would seem an election call is out of the question for about a year or so while the new Stephen Harper conservative government gets old and smart.