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Friday, January 21, 2011
Harper's Five Year Plan
Seems like yesterday.
Nearly five years ago Stephen Harper sent Paul Martin packing, winning the smallest of minority governments. A lot of things have changed, including my attitude toward the Tory leader. I've been blogging for over six years. Those acquainted with only the more recent parts of my oeuvre might think I've been a rigid Harperphobe since the beginning. Hardly. Here is how I began my election eve post, way back on January 22, 2006:
It looks good people. I know I should keep my mouth shut until tomorrow evening but from where and when I stand it looks very good. A consensus figure of about 130 to 140 seats for our boys and girls in blue is forming and all we can do now is go out and vote. I did so in an advanced poll last Saturday, as did many of my friends.
The post's title was "On the Eve of Destruction." I was practically giddy at seeing the Liberal Party turfed. I then continued in that post to give a lengthy discourse on the recent history of Canadian conservatism, western alienation and the nature of managing a regionally diverse nation. Standard stuff.
The phrase "Harper Tories" is more than hack branding, it's a precise definition. The boy from Leaside created the modern Conservative Party and turned it into the party of government. Barring the unforeseen - the Prime Minister being revealed as a cross dresser, Stockwell Day getting his wetsuit out of mothballs, a sudden outbreak of socialism in rural Alberta - the Conservatives are likely to remain the party of government for the indefinite future.
The great question is whether it will be a majority or a minority. Five years is a very long time in politics, in a minority parliament terms it's an eternity. Only the Diefenbaker-Pearson minority period (1962-1968) has lasted longer. It is no mean feat to keep a government going in such circumstances, even more so for a personality as decisive as that of the Prime Minister. This is not a man who likes to haggle, yet much of his job now involve haggling with people he'd wouldn't piss on if they caught on fire.
How one views Stephen Harper depends on where when sits. Let's say you are a pragmatic moderate conservative, with a fondness for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. Well, you'll probably think the PM is a sharp and capable political operator. A sensible - if boring - chap doing a pretty good job, all things consider. We will call these Conrad Black conservatives.
Let's say you are a principled libertarian type, with a fondness for Hayek and Mises. You might instead view the Prime Minister as a man who likes being Prime Minister, and not much else. A savvy politico with no real goal except retaining power and winning whatever political prizes that are available. That the aforementioned politico once spoke eloquently about Canada being a "northern European welfare state," and vowed to change it, will only add the word hypocrite to your assessment. We will call these Terence Corcoran conservatives.
For the Conrad Black conservatives the good can be tallied up easy: A United Right, a foreign policy governed by Canadian interests and values (rather than those of left-wing academics), an evisceration of the country's main statist party (the Liberals), a relatively deft touch on the Quebec file, a renewed emphasis on the military and somewhat prudent economic management.
For the Terence Corcoran conservatives the bad is a quick bit of math too: A fiscal policy far more reckless than that of Jean Chretien or Paul Martin, little movement on reforming the Canadian Wheat Board or long-gun registry, minimal attempts to curb judicial activism, and a wielding of pork and patronage as free and easy as that of the Liberals they replaced.
To the scales should be added the silent issues, those political dogs that haven't barked over the last five years: No significant crippling of the oil sands, a gradual turning off of the spigot to militant feminist and ethnic grievance mongers, no major terrorist attacks on Canadian soil and a stable banking system.
Conservatives - as opposed to partisan Tories - have been given a meagre diet these last five years. It hasn't been gradualism or incrementalism, it's been bread and water. A trickle of positive movements and well intentioned gestures (especially against the CWB and the gun registry), but as Walter Mondale once asked, where's the beef? It's unlikely the next five years - assuming Harper is still Tory leader - will be anymore substantial than the last five.
Posted by Richard Anderson on January 21, 2011 | Permalink
The Conservatives are on their way to dismantling the Canadian Political System, good or bad!
If we leave the broad expanse of Conservative (o WRP) parties in power as they are now we will loose our health care, CPP OAS to name a few.
The Conservatives have dropped corporate taxes from the 35% level of the US to and all time low in the world of 15% The difference in operating monies will come from more Federal Debt and a Cancellation of all the social programs that makes Canada what it is.
Harper on CBC has stated he will change Canada so it can't be recognized (by Liberals).
The NWT is pressing for Devolution (no longer a territory) and is pressing to get on board Alberta's pipeline to the US for our fresh water.
Link to the nuts and bolts of the plot:
Link to accurate speculation of what we may expect from it:
Posted by: cyberclark | 2011-01-23 2:10:37 PM
Well, it would be refreshing to see and end to the "theft without compensation" programs such as communist health care, CPP etc. But alas, Harper will destroy the country with socialism in his own way, eventually.
STOP THE BEGGARS from demanding more hand outs!!
Posted by: DTOM | 2011-01-23 3:26:46 PM
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