Thursday, June 16, 2005

I think I understand where Harper's coming from

I wasn't looking to become sympathetic to Stephen Harper, but I have been suddenly overcome, to a point. On one hand, he has not been forthright about his platform, and I thought he has an unspoken agenda. On the other hand, according to an article in the Toronto Star (thanks to Andrew Spicer) by Chantal Hebert:
Reform was at the forefront of the defining debates of the '90s, calling for the elimination of the deficit, tax cuts, debt reduction, democratic reform and what is now known as the Clarity Act, long before they all became Liberal policies. (/quotation)
I believe that as far as the economy goes, the Chretien-Martin governments have been the most conservative in the last half-century, and going still further to the right, and takes credit for policies that the Reform/Alliance parties first proposed. Small wonder that the CPC is in no hurry to unveil its platform.

Then again, there is much talk about Mr. Harper's apparent lack of people skills. Even the people who would naturally seem to be on his side get the cold shoulder. In some ways, he seems too forthright, but do we really need to have a nice person for a prime minister? It would definitely matter in foreign policy, just as long as he doesn't antagonize all other countries and suck up to the US. However, if he could only be a competent replacement for the current government, and can restore some semblance of honour and moral authority in government, I would be able to put aside any reservations about him, be able to live with whatever goes with him, and still be satisfied. It should not be all about the candidate's image, that is a purely superficial thing.

Anyway, who in the CPC could replace him? Any knowledgable, talented people hidden away in the caucus? What about Stockwell Day? No, what we need is an opposition leader to succeed where Day failed (in "Shawinigate" a few years ago) to be able to bring down the sitting government. I do believe that there is sufficient dirt out there about Martin. Is anyone in the Conservative party up to the task? It doesn't look like it. So for now we seem to be stuck, unless we can find some more sensible alternatives. Harper's politics may seem a bit extreme, but actual power does have a way of forcing leaders to abandon their more extreme tendencies. It does pain me to say it, but I do think that Harper would do a better job than the current prime minister.

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