Friday, December 08, 2006

Harper's Folly

Some of Stephen Harper's recent initiative are starting to resemble high risk political gamesmanship with little regard for the unity of the nation.

I'll give him political points for picking up the Quebecois Nation issue from the Liberals and turning it (possibly) to his political advantage - at least in Quebec. I'm still angry at Michael Inatieff for thrusting this whole issue on to the national stage, but just as pissed at Harper for picking it up and taking political advantage of it (if there really was any political advantage). I am not against the concept of a Quebecois nation within Canada, but using such a divisive issue as a political chip is cheap, crass and takes an enormous risks of backlash from Quebec. The Quebecois people have an identity, they don't really need a meaningless gesture from Parliament to bestow a national identiy upon them. But it did manage pit anglo and francophone Quebecers and Canadians against each other.

The same can be said for Bill S-4, Harpers constitutional amendment to limit the term of new Senators to 8 years. It is really a gesture towards western aspirations for equal representation and a triple-E Senate. Again, Senate reform is a sensitive and potentially divisive issue. With a minority government and the Senate controlled by the Liberals, the Bloc and NDP on record as opposing any Senate reform short of abolishment, there is little hope of the bill passing the Senate, or the House of Commons let alone passage in 7 of 10 provincial legislatures. This is nothing more than a bone thrown to the western wing of the Conservative Party and cheap politicing to get the Liberals and NDP to vote against Senate reform. Perhaps it will make up for the anger from western conservatives over the Quebec Nation thing. Does national reconciliation and unity mean so little to Harper that he is willing to gamble and play one regions aspirations for constitutional reform off against another region?

I wonder what hopeless constitutional bone he will throw to First Nations to make up for reneging on the Kelowna Accord? Probably none - first nations have never really ranked very high on the Conservative agenda.


Height Impaired said...

I'm actually starting to become very confused with the Conservatives, first they try to bring controversial subjects like same sex marriage, and the whole nation issue, and then they bring boring subjects that the average Canadian couldn't care less about IE: the toxic chemical plan they released today.... really if I were in their shoes I would be firing with all guns, but these guys seem to have a lot of blanks.

WesternGrit said...

The Cons shot themselves in the foot (feet?). Harpo the clown's gambit was that he would steal Iggy's thunder by talking "nation" before our leadership convention. The Cons were very afraid they would lose votes to us in the next election. All worked well for Harpo - until Iggy lost the leadership. All of a sudden, instead of someone battling him for "soft nationalist" votes (a'la Iggy), he now finds himself battling the author of the Clarity Act (although Harpo may argue with that statement), and he may just end up in a battle for federalist votes in PQ.

lance said...

This post is nonsensical.

1) The Bloq brought up nation in the HOC. Harper had to react to save _all_ of the federalist parties.

2) Constitutional change isn't required for elected Senators. A PM abiding by the Provinces will is.


CoteGauche said...

A constitutional change IS required to limit the term of Senators from the currrent (until 75 years of age) to an 8 year term as proposed in the Bill that is before the Senate (Bill S-4) right now. Bill S-4 is a bill to amend the constitution.

You are of course correct on the Quebec Nation issue - it was a Bloc resolution. However it would have been less divisive to simply kill the original Bloc resolution that stated the Quebec is a nation - federalists across the country can agree that Quebec is not a sovereign nation. But instead, Harper amended the resolution to read the Quebecois are a nation within Canada. That garners him maybe a few soft nationalist votes in Quebec, but it pits anglophones against francophones, Quebec against other provinces and Quebecois against Quebecker.

Same sex marriage is the same. He was just tossing a bone to the social conservatives with a divisive issue that had no hope of passing.

Tonton Coquillage said...

Je me demande en effet ce qui aurait été le plus diviseur au Québec : l'actuelle motion conservatrice adoptée ou bien le rejet de la motion du Bloc.

Je continue à dire ce que j'ai toujours dit : je n'ai pas besoin que le parlement fédéral définisse qui je suis.