Wednesday, September 03, 2008

If Emerson is Leaving Politics He Should Take Harper With Him

It will not be a surprise if David Emerson were to bow out of politics. He has a corporate, not a political, temperament. He was a progressive as a Liberal MP but, in a naive belief that holding political power was the only way to make a difference, he defected to the Harper Neo-Cons. He fit in like an Armani suit at a NASCAR racetrack.

He was a competent Minister but never an easy philosophical fit into the socially conservative culture of the Harper-Cons. To prove his defector bona fides to Harper he sold out his own forestry industry to the US softwood lumber protectionist interests. He did that to prove to Harper that he was truly worthy of trust by Harper as Prime Minister. Note that Harper himself is a man who has repeatedly and easily breach the public trust as a matter of pride and penchant.

By agreeing to a really bad softwood lumber deal he knocked the skids out of the Canadian forest industry who had been effectively battling the American protectionists in the courts and trade forums. Emerson's sell-out meant that he passed Harper’s gang-land-type test of his partisan loyalty. Emerson then threatened the forest industry with dire consequences if they opposed ratification of the “deal.” The industry was so vulnerable at the time – and still is thanks to the shoddy Emerson deal – that they merely succumbed to the Harper ratification extortion.

Emerson pushed the “softwood settlement” down the throats of industry again to satisfy Harper’s agenda and demands. Harper blithely and quickly accepted an out-dated and seriously flawed US softwood offer that had been constantly rejected for many years and for good cause. Why did Harper take such a shabby softwood deal in the first place? His goal was to cater to George Bush and curry American political favour of course.

Harper also wanted a political PR stunt to show he was no ditherer a la Paul Martin. Yes sir Harper was a man of action and decisiveness What he actually did was prove to us what a bad political mind and expedient economic manager he actually is by taking this smelly softwood deal. Harper’s penchant for political expediency and pandering to the Bush White House also illustrated just how decisively he will follow his blind spots. His political, economic and US relations judgment came into question over the softwood lumber deal and persist today. He is prone to situational ethics and has no scruples about making politically stupid and economically damaging decisions…so long as it serves his personal political ends.

We have often seen Harper’s ineptitude and improvisational policy making with his penchant for political pandering. He demands respect instead of earning it. He delights in micro-managing and message control, He relished chances at bullying - including his own people, all for purposes of personal political power.

Harper has shown us these true colours for almost 3 years now. Harper has had is chance. The goofy experiment we Canadians have conducted in trying to find a reason to trust Stephen Harper is over. He has obvious character flaws and he frequently fails in his duty of service to the public interest. He has shown a chronic and continuing lack of any real leadership sophistication and governance skill but is a black-belt in cheap political tactics and media manipulation techniques.

If he calls his phony election, Canadians need to show up at the polls and tell him, in no uncertain terms, it is time for him to go. The electoral experiment of governing the country his way and for his ends only is over.