Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Harper Has a Minority - Not a God Given Right to Govern

Canadians decided last that they didn’t trust any of the political parties nor their leaders to govern the country. Choosing the third minority government in a row sent a strong message that they wanted the political parties to cooperate and govern differently.

Coalitions are the natural consequences of minority governments and that is exactly what is happening. Canadians in their collective wisdom wanted the best ideas to be considered from all parties. Harper's hubris is inimical to those ends.

Mr. Harper was aware of this attitude shift in the hearts and minds of Canadians. He campaigned in warming sweaters in sepia toned television commercials. He promised to govern in a more collaborative way compared to the pit bull and bullying approach he used in the last Parliament.

Harper got a larger majority based on the pending recession/depression and the obviously mistaken belief that Conservatives were better at prudent management of the economy. The much anticipated Fiscal Update was Harper, the economist and shrewd strategist, first chance to show he was focused on the needs of the country more than petty and pugnacious political posturing.

He prefers to pick on people rather than govern with wisdom and caring. The people he picked on this time were public servants who had just signed a 3 year contract below inflation rates. But Harper decided they should be denied the right to strike and that was a centerpiece of his pathetic Fiscal Update. There would be no threat of a public service strike for at least three year so it was pure political bullying of vulnerable people.

Next Harper moved to take away legal rights of women to seek pay equity which is so contrary to Canadian core values and our shared sense of fairness. He offered retired seniors a crumb saying they could defer 25% of the requirement they sell retirement stocks now that had dropped 60% of value in a month. Nickel and diming seniors will not deal with the fear from the devastation to the retirement savings of seniors.

Harper has failed to win a majority when he held all the trump cards and played them. He has failed to realize the anxiety of Canadians who face a financial crisis of Biblical proportions. He has been tone deaf or indifferent to the expectations and values of Canadians to make the minority government work.

He has shown he has no respect for the law or democracy. He is terminally tactical and strategically incapable of collaboration, even within his own Cabinet and Caucus. He has no respect for Parliament as will be proven as he tries to prorogue the House to try and avoid the inevitable non-confidence vote.

Harper is clever and conniving but he has shown that he is neither wise nor willing to learn and adapt. In a modern democracy especially with a minority government, those are fatal character flaws that make Mr. Harper unfit for the highest office in the land.

Mr. Harper, it is over. The fat lady is singing and she is well into her second verse. It is not too late to show some dignity and integrity for a change for the good of the country, Canadians and even your own party and your place in history.