Friday, June 22, 2007

Terrible optics for Harper

Mini Bush does know that a law passed by the Parliament is not subject to any kind of veto, doesn't he? That we do not have a separation of legislative and executive powers as they do in the U.S., right? Or is Mini Bush once again comporting himself according to his nickname?

Consider the headlines we're seeing now, on the Kyoto legislation receiving royal assent: "Harper dismisses Kyoto compliance law," "Harper dismisses Kyoto compliance law as constitutionally impossible." Not good. The PM seems to be signifying that his government will not be giving effect to the will of the majority of Parliament.

This is what happens when we have a minority government situation. Private member bills will pass with such support. And once they've become law, and this one has received royal-assent now, then it's not to be ignored. If funding is required to support a plan, then a money bill may be the next step, in the fall session. If Harper respects that he's in a minority government situation, he should be open to working with the other parties on this. If not, let the chips fall where they may.

As for the simplistic talking point that the Liberals were in power for 13 years and did nothing...give it a rest. Does anyone seriously think that if the Liberals were in power right now, that we'd be subjected to the can't-do attitude on the environment that the Conservatives have evinced? Don't think so. The Conservatives immediately reversed course from where the previous government was heading. That talking point also presumes a level of environmental priority and public consciousness that did not exist throughout the 1990's. It is now when the time has become ripe to execute significant environmental action now that the government's financial house has been put in order - thanks to the Liberal governments of the 1990's. We now have a federal government that's in the position of actually CUTTING the GST, in a tremendously flexible position. How about, say, restoring that 1% to fund Kyoto? People were already used to it and if it were positioned as a challenge, to support a national commitment to the environment in an election campaign...well, lots of ideas to be hashed out, I'm sure. But the threat of economically crippling and "massive tax increases" can surely be countered.

This is a risky strategy for Harper and the Conservative wonder boys...they're counting on this to play with the electorate...