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Stephane Dion is not worth the risk

I would like to start out by saying that I consider myself to be a Liberal supporter. I do not always vote Liberal, and I have never been a member of the party, but generally I like the party and what it stands for. I also want to say that I was at first quite excited about Dion as leader of the Liberal Party. I did not think, and still do not think, that either Michael Ignatieff, or Bob Rae, would make great leaders. Having seen Dion do such a terrible job of leading his party in an election, and now having seen him completely butcher an extremely important address to the nation, I am convinced that he could not possibly be a good Prime Minister.

Regardless of his substance, Dion just cannot communicate effectively in English. Clearly, Dion did not connect with Canadians, he led the Liberals to their worst electoral result since 1867. Communication is extremely important for the leader of Canada. Heading into what is likely to be the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, it will be extremely important for the PM to work together with other leaders around the world. The only leaders that Dion could hope to communicate with effectively are those that speak French. More importantly, it will be necessary for the PM to effectively communicate with the Canadian people, to avoid the kind of panic that could truly cripple our economy. If he were to become Prime Minister, Dion would surely be the worst communicator to ever hold that position.

For the record, I also do not think that Stephen Harper is the right person to lead Canada in these troubling times. It was Harper who decided that it was a good idea to gut public financing for political parties and to remove the right to strike for public employees. It was Harper’s terrible ideas that led to this political crisis. If the Conservative government manages to survive the next couple of months, the party should look to replace Harper with someone more willing, and more able to work with the opposition.

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December 3, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , | Leave a comment

If Harper loves his country he will resign as Prime Minister

I am horrified by what is going on in Ottawa right now. Stephen Harper deserves to be punished for his attempt to use an economic crisis to cripple funding for the Liberals, NDP, and the Bloc, and for the proposal to remove the right to strike for public servants. I am not particularly upset that the economic update did not have any sort of stimulus package. The time for a full fledged stimulus package will be in late January or early February once it is more clear what the Obama administration is going to do in the USA.

Harper has rightly backed down on the idea of cutting public financing of political parties, and on removing the right to strike for the public service. They were terrible ideas, driven by ideology, not by any sort of economic savings as Harper tried to frame the two. Having backed down on those two points, I cannot see any reason for the Liberals, NDP, and the Bloc to continue with their bizarre scheme to bring down the Conservatives and form a government comprised of three parties that can agree on little except that they do not like Stephen Harper. The policy positions of the Liberals, NDP, and the Bloc are different enough that I cannot see them passing more than one budget. Even one budget may do enough damage to the credibility of the Liberals to ensure that in the next election the Conservatives will finally win their majority.

It seems fairly clear that Dion, Layton, and Duceppe are now committed to the coalition government course of action. Relations with Stephen Harper are so damaged that I cannot see how the House could function effectively. Stephen Harper seems to be the root of the problem though. It was apparently Harper’s idea to throw in the cuts to public funding for political parties. While I do not like the Conservative Party generally, I do think that Harper more of an ideologue and schemer than most of the Conservative caucus. I think that if Harper loves his country, and wants the best for his party, he should resign as Prime Minister. Whoever the interim PM is should then put forward a strong economic stimulus package to the opposition. Should the opposition still not be interested in working out a deal with the government, then the interim PM should let the opposition defeat the government and ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament.

I think that if the proposed coalition had rejected a strong economic stimulus package, put forward by someone other than Stephen Harper, then the Governor General could, and should, order that Parliament be dissolved and Canadians once again go to the polls.

Harper created this mess, and he can probably fix it, but it will mean the end of his political career. The Conservatives needed to be thinking about whether or not Harper was the right leader for them even before this mess, and it is clear now that his style of politics is not what is going to lead them to a strong majority mandate from the people of Canada.

I want to make it clear that I am not in any way a supporter of the Conservatives, or of Stephen Harper, but I simply cannot see how a three headed government, led by a man clearly rejected by the Canadian public, can be a good option for leading the country through what could be the worst economic times in nearly 80 years. We need strong leadership, we need prudent but aggressive government intervention on the economy, and we need to work closely with the rest of the world on any economic stimulus. How can we expect a three headed government, led by Dion, to be able to instill any sort of confidence in international leaders. It will be unclear for other leaders exactly who holds the power in Canad. Dion will be Prime Minister in name only. He cannot possibly take any bold actions. The Liberals won only 26% of the popular vote, and hold less than 25% of the seats in the Commons. That is hardly the kind of support necessary to instill confidence when dealing with this economic crisis.

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Politics | , , | 1 Comment