Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Harper's Fires

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper is no longer in politics he will have a natural career in fire fighting. He spends a lot of time putting out fires, but the interesting thing is that he starts many of them on his own. As I have said before, he is too controlling and has not allowed himself or his government to simply govern without a lot of fanfare.

Harper failed to discipline MP Tom Lukiwski over comments Lukiwski made on old videotape that was released by Saskatchewan New Democrats. He is now resisting calls from the opposition to fire his Foreign Affairs minister, Maxime Bernier for his gaff in Afghanistan. Bernier, in a recent visit to Afghanistan, was attempting to restructure their government for them, which is clearly not our role in that war torn country.

Harper is now facing serious questions in the House of Commons respecting allegations that the Conservative Party of Canada spent well over the budget allowed in the Elections Act. Dodging bullets from Elections Canada and trying to explain why Elections Canada and the RCMP raided the conservative office headquarters is not how you want to spend your days as Prime Minister of Canada. The Harper conservatives then proceeded with an attempt to manipulate the media over the whole matter. This only added to the problem and worsened their already poor relationship with the media. The voting public are rightfully expecting better from their Prime Minister and their government.

Then Harper’s Chief of Staff, Ian Brodie, messed up and got us involved in the US presidential race. Harper met with US President Bush and Mexican President, Felipe Calderon in New Orleans to discuss NAFTA. Harper again made it clear that Canada would not interfere in the US presidential race, but ironically the three leaders were going to discuss the merits of NAFTA, which is at the centre of how Canada interfered in the presidential race in the first place.

Harper is also putting out fires on his controversial new Immigration legislation. There is a reported 900,000 backlog of immigrants that are expected to wait up to six years before their applications can be processed. The opposition generally supports the legislation, but again is concerned with how the heavy hand of the Harper conservatives is built into the legislation. This country is in need of skilled workers and if changes are not made to the immigration rules it is expected that the backlog will grow to one and a half million in the next five years and wait times will reach ten years. Canada has the largest immigration backlog in the world.

Harper converts nearly every issue into a non-confidence vote in his continuing attempts to goad the liberals into defeating his minority government. This would send the country into a general election it does not want. The liberals have wisely not taken the bait and have left Harper many times caught in his own back draft.