Bringing you the issues since 1986

View Online Print Edition


Harper deserves credit for strong economy, leadership

October, 2009

If there is a federal election this fall, the Conservatives are the odds on favourites to win it. I base this prediction largely on the state of the Canadian economy. Compared to almost all other western industrial nations, Canada has had a “soft” recession. We moved into the recession in better shape and we are moving out of it in better shape.

That is a remarkable achievement, and certainly the Harper government deserves some of the credit for this state of affairs. Imagine if the Canadian economy was in the dumpster compared to other nations. There is no question that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be getting the blame. Because we have done so well he is now deserving some of the credit.

Add our strong economy to Harper’s strong lead in the polls, and a fall election would see the Conservatives returned to office, quite possibly with a small majority. Harper has been all over the news this summer – in the north, dispensing funds from the stimulus program, attending international conferences.

Whatever you think of his policies, Harper carries himself well on the international stage. When U.S. President Barack Obama came to Ottawa for his first official visit outside Washington, Harper was graceful and eloquent. He did the country proud. At the same time, Harper has given generally competent government unmarred by scandals.

But the growing Conservative lead in the polls is not only due to Harper’s strengths. Much of it is owing to Michael Ignatieff’s missteps. For one thing, the Liberal leader virtually disappeared this summer. He went to England to give a lecture, then, apparently realizing he had goofed, wisely cancelled a trip to China.

In the Globe and Mail, Rex Murphy put in words what many voters were thinking: “What’s the matter with Michael Ignatieff?” Murphy provided his own answer: “He is cocky and uncertain almost simultaneously, aggressive and challenging one moment, hesitant and even confusing in his message the next. That message, what there is of it, is a muddle. He casts the word ‘vision’ around like it’s a talisman, but speaks in the mushy platitudes of a high-school valedictorian. He seems stranded between the two models of successful Liberal leadership, caught between the saloon and the salon.”

Here in Quebec we have seen a sad example of leadership. Ignatieff, who prides himself on party unity, appointed Denis Coderre as his chief lieutenant and political boss in this province. Coderre, with the leader’s backing, dumped several sitting Liberals to parachute in star candidates.

One of the incumbents to be dumped in St. Laurent was no other than former leader Stéphane Dion. This ungrateful manoeuvre rightly drew the wrath of the Gazette: “[Dion] deserves better than to have his back stabbed by the likes of Denis Coderre, a party apparatchik whose contributions to Canada are minimal compared with those of Dion.”

But where Coderre’s machinations really came unglued was in the riding of Outremont, now held by the NDP’s Tom Mulcair. The Liberals desperately want to win Outremont back, and Coderre thought he had just the candidate to do it: business executive Nathalie Le Prohon. Trouble was that Martin Cauchon, a justice minister in the Chrétien government, used to represent Outremont and wanted it back.

Naturally, Ignatieff backed his Quebec lieutenant and they tried to fob Cauchon off to another riding now held by the Bloc. But Cauchon would not play dead. He doesn’t like Coderre and the feeling is mutual. So Cauchon lined up some heavy hitters to back his bid, including Bob Rae and Jean Chrétien himself. As the pressure mounted, Ignatieff caved. Cauchon will run in Outremont against Mulcair, and Coderre was left out to dry.

But Coderre did not hang on the clothesline for long. He took four days to think it over, then resigned as Ignatieff’s lieutenant in Quebec and as the Liberal defence critic. In the process he blamed his leader for listening to a Toronto clique on political affairs in Quebec. All this left Ignatieff damaged, Coderre angry and the Liberals’ chances in Quebec seriously diminished.

If a leader cannot run the affairs of his party, how can he run the business of the country? Fortunately for him, Ignatieff now has time to connect with the voter. For months I have waited for Iggy to give me a reason to support his party. So far he has not delivered.



At October 10, 2009 at 7:30 PM , Anonymous 4 eyes said...

Harper went from a 13 Billion Dollar Liberal surplus into a Conservative made 55 Billion Dollar and counting deficit.
Harper has increased the job killer EI pay-roll tax by 15.5 Billion Dollars, plus his federally driven initiative of the HST on British Columbia and Ontario well put taxes up.
Other than his total obsession of destroying the Liberal Party and character assassination of Mr. Ignatieff.
He only offers Canadian’s a faith-based solution to his massive deficit, the lie of no tax increases, and keeps
well hidden the parcel of Nation changing laws he well choke down our throats after he gets his majority.

Harper is using the same lie filled pre-election strategy that BC’s Gordon Campbell used to get elected, than with a majority put forth his hidden package.
Fool me once shame on you.
Fool me twice shame on me.

At October 10, 2009 at 8:18 PM , Anonymous susan said...

Harper was "graceful"?? You are hysterical. He trundles. He's jealous of others receiving attention from Obama - like M. Jean and Ignatieff! Graceful - nice try at twisting reality. Eloquent - no, he's never been eloquent. We might swallow some things about Harper, but not "graceful and eloquent".

Harper had the surplus SPENT before the recession even hit. That's probably why he was in denial, because he was thinking Oh crap - never expected this.

How about these questions?
What if there is another global meltdown right behind this one?
What's going on with the EI tax?

This next election will not be just an election, it will be a referendum on the future of Canada, because if Harper has a majority, he intends to change Canada, and I for one know that he does not have the wisdom, or the intelligence to carry such a thing off with the best interests of Canadians at heart.

I do not trust him, I have never trusted him. He's an Evangelical Christian, and his main agenda is for his church, the American Republicans, George Bush, and a Republican USA.

At October 12, 2009 at 3:10 AM , Anonymous John said...

It seems rather obvious to me, and certainly looks like Bob Rae urged and encouraged Ignatief to adopt his position of opposing the Tories for any and every reason. If it HAD succeeded, and the country faced an election, I am sure the Liberals would do very poorly, and the country would have blamed Iggy for the needless election. Iggy would be forced to resign in disgrace and the Liberals would have a leadership convention, which Bob Rae would have stepped forward to win, again likely by acclamation. Iggy received very wrong advice, and as I recall Rae was fully encouraging him to force an election. "Give it to Mikey, he'll eat anything." - even the poison pill offered to him by his rivals. I wish it had worked. With Bob Rae at the helm of the Liberals, the party would have lost Ontario's support for the indefinite future, and the party would wallow as the second or third rate party it has proven itself to be, and the Liberals would no longer be the opposition. As smart as Iggy may be on paper and academically, he is not endowed with the street smarts he needed to have to take the leadership of the party, nor is he seasoned enough to know there are others in his party eager to see him go.

At October 13, 2009 at 12:05 PM , Anonymous Hogie said...

Mr.McKenty, I just read your article on how Harper and the Consertive party should be congratulated on getting Canada through the recession, bull! Let me remind you that both the Prime Minister and Finance Minister stood up in the House of Commons and denied there was a world wide economic melt down, let alone a recesson. How soon we forget. If the opposition parties had not pressured them (CPC) we would have been in a real mess. They the (CPC) deserve not one word of thanks or respect. As for Stephane Dion the writing was on the wall at the Liberal Party leadership convention. When Mr. Dion and Mr.Lord cooked up that deal whereby should Dion not be elected on the first round Mr.Lord would cross the floor and give Mr.Dion his support and his candidates. Thus, winning the convention. Dion was never suppose to win. It was suppose to be Mr.Ignatieff or Mr.Rae. The boys in Toronto have long memories. Getting back to Harper. He should continue to do what he has been doing, nothing! Better to do nothing then do something that you can't fix.


Post a Comment