Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cannon Speaks About Dealing Aberta's Oil - Does Harper Know?

Is Stephen Harper turning into a progressive? He tells the CPC delegates to get pragmatic and not ideological about the economic crisis. Sounds like a prelude to government intervention into the marketplace by the Progressive Reformer leader. How unlike the free enterprise base of the Reform/Alliance base that “brung Harper to the dance” as former Prime Minister Mulroney would say.

The Cons through Foreign affairs Minister Cannon are now saying “…there is no ideological right or ideological left” as they try an distance themselves from the sycophantic relationship they had with the Bush/Cheney White House. Bush is gone. McCain lost. Harper is dancing as fast as he can to shape shift his ideological stripes. Disingenuous is the kindest characterization of this continuing political shiftiness of "Steve" Harper.

On the other hand he has his Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon making front page news in Alberta saying ever so unsubtly to the Obama administration-in-waiting that “Canada might sell it oil elsewhere” if the new American administration under Obama decides to renegotiate NAFTA. What about the fact NAFTA is due for a renegotiation under its own terms anyway? Maybe a review is a good thing - like to get a redo of the disastrous deal the Cons did to the Canadian forest industry on softwood lumber.

Hey Jack! Yah you…Jack Layton! Are you supporting Harper on this no renegotiation of NAFTA stuff? Does Maude Barlow have you r direct line? I expect she is on your case. The Liberals are not going to bolster the Conservative minority anymore. Are you going to stand for this or are you going to force another early election because your ideological position is that NAFTA is plain bad-bad-bad.

This new Harper government rhetoric is flying in the face of the election position of Harper saying he would control the sale of oil sands bitumen based on environmental standards…a shot at restricting Chinese participation and favouring the American market. Stelmach clearly told Harper to back off Alberta’s oil marketing rights during the recent federal election.

Has Cannon gone Palin rogue and is off message as well as his rocker? What is he doing talking about this to the media on anything anyway? That is exclusively Harper’s job – or his Presidential-like official spokesperson at the very least Is Cannon the Quebecer playing the regional environment card and focusing on the so-called “dirty oil” framing that is so harmful to Alberta’s interests and benefiting Quebec?

What about the niggling little legal and constitutional points that none of this is “Canada’s oil”? It belongs to Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland-Labrador. Alberta has asked to be at the table with the Feds in all such discussion around the international implications involving its resources. Harper has been busy and has not replied yet…or listing to canon – has he?

Add in the other central themes on climate change, market meltdown, government bailouts and a world- wide recession and the tendency to take the Alberta conservative support for granted and I’m betting the backrooms between Edmonton and Ottawa are going to get very interesting and very loud and extremely intense.