Friday, June 24, 2005

He was 'Out-Generalled'

So said Andrew Coyne last night on CBC, talking to Peter Mansbridge and his pundit panel about Stephen Harper.

The results of last night's surprise vote on C-48, the "NDP Budget" is simply the latest in a long line of events this spring that show it. Stephen Harper didn't see it coming and had the non-confidence rug pulled out from under him. And now he faces the prospect of another week in Parliament to debate the Same Sex Marriage bill, which will easily pass.

And now the vitrol is once again flowing from the benches of the CPC:

"When push comes to shove the Liberals will make any deal with anybody," Harper said after the vote. "And it doesn't matter whether it's with the socialists or with the separatists or any bunch of crooks they can find."


"It's a very sour end to an acrimonious and bitter session and does not bode well for the future workings of Parliament. If this is the kind of diabolical, sneaky, treacherous, behind-the-scenes activities that are going to go on..."


"We have to start thinking that Hannibal Lecter is running the government and they'll do anything they have to do to win."
Diabolical? Treacherous? Crooks? Hannibal Lector? Oh my, it's getting thick now.

All of this for a budget that is well liked and well received around the country, that doesn't run us into deficit, that provided much needed cash for cities (and creating lots of jobs too). All this for a budget that the CPC themselves was willing to make a deal to support, at the cost of delaying Same Sex Marriage? Somehow, all the moral indignation about principles sounds hollow when you remember what Stephen Harper was saying only 1 week ago.

Harper and the CPC can't decided whether that taste in their mouths is bitter bile or sour grapes. A bit of both I suspect. All parties had the same parliamentary regulations in front of them. The importance of the vote on C-48 has been headline news for weeks. The CPC themselves have been drilling us for 4 months that the Liberals are not to be trusted. In that atmosphere, if I were the Leader of the Opposition, I would have every party hack and lawyer I knew going over the regulations and rules of the house, just to make sure something like this couldn't happen for such and important vote.

I think this shows that while Stephen Harper may do very well on policy, he is not a good leader or manager. He's fallen for the "Mr. Dithers" routine at least twice. He is a man that is starting to believe his own press releases. He let his guard down and then got upset when Paul Martin took advantage of it in a Parliament on edge in no small part due to Harper's own creative use of the rules for his own ends (remember the "Confidence Vote" that wasn't? Remember shutting down the House for 3 or 4 days?).

The CPC got wupped at a game they say they are ready to play and ready to win in. They clearly underestimated Paul Martin again. Stephen Harper now has the whole summer to try to explain how he was out-foxed again and, despite being poised to do so, allowed the Liberal government not only to survive, but to pass 2 major pieces of legislation that the CPC opposed.

Yes, a long hot summer it will be.


At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was a big mistake for the CPC to work so hard to pander to the socons. I understand that some oppose SSM and that the CPC wanted to take a stand on the issue - ok. But they've given efforts to sabotage SSM too much priority. It doesn't look good for conservatives to be more concerened with holding up an inevitable social progression, than with opposing "reckless" spending. I still can't believe they would trade opposition to an NDP inspired budget for a delay in SSM legislation. Doesn't look good...not good at all...Just cause it worked for the republicans doesn't mean it will work for them.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Paul Vincent said...

But it's not inevitable social progression. The Federal Level had no obligation to do anything about gay marriage, that could have been left to the provinces. With New Brunswick legalizing it everyone is on board except Alberta. It could have been left to the province since marriage IS provincial law.

On the article itself, there is no study on the budget itself. It was widely accepted by the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc who accordingly seem to represent 52% of Canadians. A country so divided on a budget is painful to watch. We have no idea if this budget is balanced yet or not. The Liberals were given a blank check in relation to the NDP changes.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger Mike said...


Actually under the powers vested to the provinces and the feds via sections 91 and 92, the Feds can define marriage and the provinces have the power to administer marriage. To the feds can say who can marry (no just gay marriage but the bounds of consanguinity - you can't marry your sister etc), the provinces can say how they can marry. So it might be legal to marry in one province while intoxicated, it is not in another. One may require a blood text, another may not. One may require the woman change her last name, another may not.

See the difference?

At 1:26 AM, Blogger Politicagrll said...

Unless something changed dramatically since the New Brunswick decision, you still can't have a same sex marriage in PEI, Alberta and Nunavut. So it's not just Alberta, even if the only issue is where you can marry (as Mike points out there are other reasons for the law).

Nunavut will recognize same sex marriages done elsewhere. That is unfair for citizens in the territory since it means they need to have enough money to leave Nunavut (aside from court costs that are part of every marriage). When you consider that transportation from the North is relatively more expensive than in the rest of the country this is a real barrier to same sex marriage in Nunavut (although they are doing better than PEI or Alberta on the issue IMHO). Straight couples in Nunavut don't have to incur these extra costs and they are unfair.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Grief Dazzlin: don't agree with me too much or you'll ruin your reputation ;)

I realize that many CPC supporters oppose equal marriage - and that's fine. But I would say that there aren't enough of them to warrant the abandonment of important conservative principles. I mean seriously - Harper would rather help to pass an NDP(!!!) budget than let two girls/guys get married? It's enough to freak voters out...and it does.


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