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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Harper names Scott Reid as Deputy Government House Leader. Why is the government underutilizing this talented MP?

On Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Scott Reid, the libertarian–leaning Member of Parliament for Lanark – Frontenac – Lennox and Addington, will serve as Deputy Government House Leader.

"Scott is a veteran of the House of Commons with a clear command of both House procedure and the important issues facing our country," said the Prime Minister. "In a time of global economic instability it is crucial that we can move our governing agenda efficiently through the House of Commons and Scott has the right skills for the job."

First elected in 2000, Reid has served as Deputy Government House Leader since 2006 and was also chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development. Before entering politics he was a researcher, author and academic.

"I am delighted that the Prime Minister has asked me to continue to serve as Deputy House Leader," said Reid. "I look forward to working with my caucus colleagues to deliver better government for all Canadians."

While Reid might honestly be “delighted” with his reappointment, one has to wonder why a man as fluent with House procedure as he is with constitutional matters and a range of policy issues has not been asked to take on a more serious role in Harper’s cabinet.

It’s likely nothing personal. Reid was an early supporter of Harper’s Canadian Alliance leadership campaign in December 2001 and his primary Ontario organizer.

Could it be that Reid’s libertarian paper trail is keeping him from advancing in the Harper government? It would be hard indeed for the party to reconcile its disastrous new fascination with the drug war, for instance, with Reid’s views below:

Many currently banned substances have physical and psychological effects that are no more harmful than those associated with legal recreational drugs such as caffeine and alcohol. Like the prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 1920s, their prohibition skews the allocation of law enforcement resources, artificially raises prices to extremely high levels, encourages crime by addicts, and prevents the emergence of private institutions and products to deal with the very real social problems posed by addiction.

When Reid is named to a senior position in Harper’s cabinet, it will be time for libertarians to take the Conservative Party seriously again.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on November 22, 2008 in Canadian Conservative Politics | Permalink


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Scott Reid was so impressive when I heard him speak a few years ago. He really believes in the importance of freedom.

I hope you're wrong about him being blacklisted for his libertarian paper trail, Matthew. But you're probably not.

Posted by: Terrence Watson | 2008-11-22 8:25:22 PM

I seem to remember reading some place that he made some musings about senior federal bureaucrats should not have to fluently bilingual in French/English. In our Official Bilingualism world, this would not likely fly.

If he is not fluently bilingual, this would be a reason to be overlooked for senior positions. Take a look at most all the heavy appointments and see how many are fluent in French - James Moore for example. Diane Ablonzy is another another very capable, under-utilized, long serving MP and I don't think she is bilingual either.

Harper has moved the yardsticks of Official Bilingualism a considerable distance and anyone not buying into this philosophy (read becoming CCC in French) would not have much hope of promotion - regardless of what part of the country they represent.

Posted by: Calgary Clippper | 2008-11-23 6:00:39 AM

I hope Scott Reid's position, or lack thereof, is because of his "tin ear" he having at two consecutive Conservative conventions advanced divisive constitutional provisions contrary to the basis for the merger of the legacy parties. How can that be impressive?

Posted by: Observer | 2008-11-23 7:18:17 AM


How many libertarians would say are in Canada?

How much support do you think there is for Libertarianism?

How many people in Canada actually know what libertarianism is?

I am curious to know what the chances are of Libertarianism becoming any sort of force in Canadian politics.

I am big fan of the Late Harry Browne who was one of the best known libertarians. I still keep his early 70's book "How I Found Freedom In An Unfree World" on my bookshelf. I am also a huge fan of Ayn Rand who was a Libertarian on steroids.

Posted by: John V | 2008-11-23 10:59:21 AM

John, I think a very substantial percentage of the Canadian public would describe themselves are fiscal conservatives and social liberals -- who I would call moderate libertarians.

While I believe that at a fundamental level, social conservatives are better equipped to build the foundation for real liberty than are social liberals, social conservatives need to dump the statists in their movement before they find their place in the freedom movement.

So, moderate libertarians are strong in numbers, I would argue. Or at least stronger than the vote for the Libertarian Party would suggest.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-11-23 11:53:33 AM


So what will have to happen to get the social conservatives to vote for a libertarian candidate?

Posted by: John V | 2008-11-23 12:44:11 PM

Why would social conservatives vote libertarian? It is completely opposite. Libertarian in my view is get the government out of my life, period. That includes any decisions on abortion, etc...

Posted by: WRK | 2008-11-23 9:34:08 PM

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