Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harper "not a leader" yesterday on the PQ citizenship issue, that's for sure

Once they saw that Stephane Dion was leading on the issue, after their instinct to hide was on full display yesterday, they finally pushed Van Loan out the door to cover their behinds and correct their hands off position. Warren Kinsella posted the text of the Canadian Press story from yesterday (it seems to be removed from the CP roster) reporting that the Conservatives were notably absent in commenting on the PQ's draconian citizenship measures and in fact seemed quite eager to avoid comment. That was the CP story as of 5:43 yesterday. Dion, however, was out in front on the issue and speaking quite vigorously about it:
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion called it a scheme to turn the immigration debate into the kind of English-French spat that has traditionally fuelled the sovereignty movement.

He urged PQ Leader Pauline Marois to immediately withdraw the controversial Bill 195.

``Thankfully we have a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which prevents certain politicians from going off the rails like she has,'' Dion said.

``This will never be welcome in Quebec. The Quebec that I know will never accept this kind of thing.''
The Conservatives, likely scrambling as they might appear to be left hanging out in xenophobe land, got on the record for the CP update at 7:46 pm:
Federal Conservatives at first appeared reluctant to get involved in the debate and initially refused requests for comment.

Labour Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn refused to discuss the bill - saying it was not Ottawa's issue. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office also declined to say anything.

But late in the day a senior cabinet minister denounced the PQ legislation.

Tory House leader Peter Van Loan said he was pleased to see that the bill had limited support in the Quebec legislature - both the minority Liberal government and the Official Opposition Action democratique du Quebec made it clear Tuesday that they wouldn't support it.

"It's heartening to see this bill's not going to go anywhere," Van Loan said in an interview.

"Every Canadian has democratic rights. And those rights - to vote, to run for office - are fundamental. . . I don't think those rights can be taken away."

The Conservatives have been reluctant to wade into the debate on so-called reasonable accommodation in Quebec.
Leading from the rear...yes sir, better late than never. Do it when it's safe, after Jean Charest has come out and said the bill won't be put forth in the Quebec National Assembly. Make sure your political position is protected from all angles, at all costs. Make your calculations. Then speak.

Harpie, therefore, gets a big "NOT A LEADER" designation for his slow, secondary admonition of the bill through Van Loan yesterday. Dion's gut told him what the right thing was to do and he spoke from his heart. Harpie? Puttin' a big finger in the wind to see which way the winds would blow in Quebec yesterday...