Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Conservatives pushing on doors marked pull

Harper seems to be clueless when it comes to getting legislation through Parliament. His approach seems to be that because his party won a plurality, Canadians expect that the policies of his party are the ones Canadians want enacted.

Does Harper have difficulty understanding that he has a minority government? A majority of Canadians elected members from other parties. Most Canadians don't agree with the Conservative agenda. They want something else.

Since April the Conservatives have introduced 30 separate bills. Four have made it to the Governor General for Royal Assent.

So far, four bills have received Royal Assent. Two of them are money bills related to the March budget. One was an amendment to the Elections Act on party registration while the last bill was to approve funds for the agricultural sector.
The most contentious bills have gone nowhere fast. Most are stalled in committee and almost all of them have been sent back to the Commons with amendments the Conservatives find unacceptable.

Because they don't seem to understand how a minority government works.

Harper, when confronted on the hold-ups being produced by the opposition on his various "crime" bills, (11 in total), produced his typical petulant response:

Canadians elected this Parliament — not just the Conservative party. They expected all parties to be tough on crime ...
He just doesn't get it.

Canadians didn't elect the Conservative party to run a Conservative party agenda. The Parliament Canadians elected put the Conservatives on an extremely short leash. Just because the Conservatives received a plurality and were invited to form a government doesn't suggest they have free reign. The make up of Parliament is a reflection of what the country actually wanted and that means compromise.

The reason Parliament is a legislative quagmire at the moment is that Harper can't seem to get it through his head that Canadians want the legislation closely scrutinized and they want the tempering effect of opposition amendments. If Harper really wanted his "tough on crime" platform to pass committee he would have to accept that what Canadian voters handed him was an opportunity to compromise and meet Canadians in the middle. His failure to do that is a demonstration of his lack of willingness to govern this country they way Canadians would like it governed, with the tools Canadians gave him.

Couple that with a series of foreign policy disasters and it makes one wonder what this guy really thinks he was handed in the last election.

Wagging a human-rights finger at an Asian super-power is all well and good but if the timing is bad and the results are completely ineffective he comes off looking like a failure. And, when it comes to wagging fingers at super-powers, he seems quite comfortable ignoring the abuses of power exercised by a US presidential administration that is perhaps the worst in that country's history, supported, until recently, by a party which has been brimming over with corruption, scandal and acts of incredible incompetence.

While he's doing that his Environment minister goes to a conference in Africa and gets herself taken to the woodshed by anybody who could get close to a dias. To complicate matters, the woman who would be queen, at a UN conference, blathers on with a domestic political speech which was completely out of place at an international event.

It hasn't helped that in order to get information on Harper's activities at the APEC summit, Canadians had to wait until information was provided, not by Harper's communications staff, but by others - from other delegations.

A broad examination provides that Harper's government is incompetent in terms of foreign policy, has snuggled in with the worst president in US history and cannot comes to terms with its own parliamentary limitations.

They're loud, but they don't get much done.

One should never confuse motion with action.

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