Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Harper is playing chess while the opposition plays checkers

That's the conclusion I draw when I see that the Prime Minister has quickly dropped his plans for a new commission to oversee all public appointments, mere hours after the government operations committee rejected his nominee to head the commission.

Rookie NDP MP (and former Buzz Hargrove grenade-catcher) Peggy Nash offered the rationale that former EnCana Corp head Gwyn Morgan’s previous comments on multiculturalism and the roots of gang violence rendered him unsuitable for the role. From the Canadian Press story:

"(The) opposition this morning voted down the government's key efforts to clean up the appointments process," said Harper spokeswoman Carolyn Stewart Olsen.

"It is now clear that we will not be able to make progress on this issue in a minority Parliament.

"The NDP and the Bloc will have to explain why they co-operated with a party that doesn't want to clean up the government appointments process to snub one of Canada's most respected business leaders."

Olsen said the government will campaign again on accountability in the next election and try to set up the appointments committee in its next mandate.

She added that Harper will invite Morgan soon to serve the country in another role.

"Recent riots in France and Australia are timely and troubling examples," [Morgan] said [in a February speech]. "It seems as if `multiculturalism' in these countries has created `subcultures' bearing little relation to the mainstream culture and values of the country."

Last year, Morgan linked Canada's gang-violence problem to immigration from places such as Jamaica and Indochina — "where culture is dominated by violence and lawlessness."

The government was obviously ready and waiting for the opposition's short-sighted tactic. And the NDP have just handed the Harper government the first plank in its next election platform.

Will Nash learn from her mistake? Too early to tell. Did her former boss Buzz Hargrove ever learn from his?

Addendum: I was remiss in not mentioning the other recent case of chess-playing by the Harper regime: calling for a snap debate and vote on extending the Afghanistan deployment past February 2007.

Yes, there is a sound logistical argument for having a vote now: it is impractical to wait until the fall or winter for the forces to learn whether that mission will be continuing or not. But there are also good political reasons for doing it now.

First, having the vote now means the issue will have been decided at least at year (we hope) in advance of the election. Second, it catches the Liberals leaderless and in the midst of a leadership contest in which several candidates have already been unable to resist backing away from the Martin government’s decision to commit to a more aggressive and dangerous mission in Afghanistan. (For the Liberals who are despairing over what to do tonight, here’s a wacky idea: how about a free vote?)

It is less than a year since a Liberal government made the decision to commit to the current mission in Afghanistan. Now we have several of their MPs and leadership candidates publicly questioning a deployment they voted for mere months ago.

If the vote fails and the mission has to end in 2007, it will be clear that it was because of lack of support from the Liberals and NDP – not the Conservatives.

Pre-election periods – and this one began on January 24th – are all about defining who you are. When a party has taken two or more different stands on an overseas deployment within a 12-month period, the public is wont to say “I don’t know where these people stand or who they are.” But they’ll know who the Conservatives are: the party that supported the troops, supported the mission, and held a vote in Parliament – like they promised.


Adrian Pocobelli said...

Has anybody seen the video of this committee meeting...?

Surecure said...

I love this one...

"Recent riots in France and Australia are timely and troubling examples," [Morgan] said [in a February speech]. "It seems as if `multiculturalism' in these countries has created `subcultures' bearing little relation to the mainstream culture and values of the country."

Oh, you mean when people move to a country, they should abandon their culture and convert... er... conform to the "mainstream culture and values of the country"? Then how do you define "multiculturalism"? Isn't "multiculturalism" specifically that? The drawing together of divergent cultures and not the conversion... er... assimilation of cultures under a mainstream culture?

Hate to break it to Morgan but multiculturalism doesn't create sub-cultures... multiculturalism IS subcultures.

Strange for an NDP'er (supposedly friendly to all cultures) talking about stripping immigrants of their individuality to be a submissive mirror of the state image for the betterment of the state.

Oh, that's right! That's socialism! Now it makes sense for a Dipper.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Very clever title! I suppose Harper can sit back now and declare "Checkmate"!

Anonymous said...

Awhile back i came across some evidence that Government grants and CAW money along with support from the NDP was helping a local Refugee welcoming Office,but what Canadians weren't being told is that new comers were being indoctrined with antisemitic propaganda that i witnessed.
I also discovered a Human-smuggling ring that started as far away as the middle east and went through Mexico,then into the USA and up the eastern States and into canada as bogus refugees with pre-arranged stories and local lawyers taking on the claims under the welfare network for refugees.

The RCMP didn't seem to care because antisemitism was covered under the Free-speech issue , and when I tried to alert Peggy Nash and the NDP that a Charity Status Social assistant group was really a Political wing of Hamas and sponsored several anti-USA rallies in Toronto, Nash never replied.

I did find a person in the USA that took a interest and contacted the FBI about the Mexico/USA/Canada pipeline for human smuggling rings.
I shipped several documents that detailed the pipeline and even Phone numbers were listed , the NDP is currently in bed with CAIR and this week CAIR was confirmed to have links to financing Hamas and terrorism in general.
CAIR's member's have been either indicted or deported for terror links and human smuggling, and Sheema Khan of CAIR-canada lied at the Arar inquiry and used bogus 'Islamophobia" surveys to smear the RCMP and CSIS.
Ms.Khan approved the booklet CAIR hands out that coaches Muslim in Canada to avoid aiding in exposing terrorist, even Dr.Elmasry told Muslims to not help the RCMP.
Khan was behind the demand for Sharia-law in canada and she's a Saudi style Whahabi Islamist.

The NDP and CBC won't admit the 9/11 hijackers were self-professed Muslims, and now CAIR-USA says it's not their place to judge Moussoui's claim of being a Muslim.
The NDP and Liberals are going to get us killed,and I'm glad Harper called Laytons bluff and the NDP will finally have to vote on where they stand with our Military.
This is the party that let a convicted felon run for them ( S.Robinson) and now they claim to bethe moral yardstick for Canadians.

Jeff said...

Surecure - That was exactly Morgan's point. Multiculturalism divides us and creates a multitude of cultural 'ghettos' with no interaction between them. This is what is killing Europe. Some assimilation is necessary in a society so that everyone is on the same page. That is why the Americans' "melting pot" is the only system that as proven to work in the long run - because everyone who comes to that country keeps thier old cultures alive in thier own way but also makes a strong effort to become American (ie to assimilate). It is because of our system that Canadians have such a hard time defining themselves by anything other than Hockey and donuts - we have nothing else in common...

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

The Liberal position on the Afghanistan vote is a sound one. Harper has taken a leaf from the Bush Book, inspired by Frank Luntz and ghost-written by Karl Rove, and tried to set a trap for the opposition parties. Harper is trying to divide the MPs into two camps of his own choosing: those "for" the troops (meaning those who will give Harper a blank cheque by voting for the extension for 2 years without any discussion or any qualifications), and those who against Harper and therefore against the troops.

This dog won't hunt. Canadians understand politicians who try to pull fast ones like that, and expect their MPs to watch out for them and for their nation and its troops.

Bush has bungled the Iraq war and is bungling Afghanistan, because there was and is too little planning to "win the peace".

We need a proper debate on what Afghan needs from Canada, so that we can decide what peacekeeping steps to take in addition to what peacemaking steps we should take.

What are our objectives? The leader of our country should spell that out. What must we do, in the short term and long term?

Harper asks for a blank cheque, and frames the discussion as being for or against the troops. The troops are better served by a country which knows what it is asking them to risk their lives for, and to die for if necessary. Let us not put them in jeopardy because we could not spare more than six hours to discuss why they should risk all.

Let us take the time to have a full and proper discussion. And let us postpone the vote until that takes place.

Harper is playing politics and the matter is too serious for that to happen.

Andrew said...

While I disagree about your first point (commission), I certainly agree that the Afghan debate and vote is good strategy.