Thursday, September 17, 2009

Civility and other notes

A few notes today instead of a lengthy post on any one topic...

1. Globe letter to the editor:
"Judith Timson (Serena, Joe, Kanye: It’s A New Social Disease – Sept. 15), writing about extreme public rudeness, didn’t mention the most appalling instance of incivility in Canada these days: political attack ads. I am stunned at the mean-spiritedness of these ads used to demean opponents. Civility has been the basis of our treasured Canadian society. If we fail to act with respect for our fellow citizens, be they political opponents or allies, what else really matters?

Susan Himann, Calgary"
2. Is Harper playing games with his EI proposal...already? That would be so very out of character. Le Devoir thinks the bill doesn't live up to advance billing. Don't see how anyone could back down now though without incurring the wrath of the nation. After all, it's never Harper's fault.

3. The Star rightfully takes Harper to task for the prominence given to the NHL charter flight issue in the Oval Office. It was ridiculous. Also criticized, the lack of progress on the Buy American issue. It's been a whole lotta' nothin' for months on end now on that issue.

4. John, John, John. Just when we were starting to like the advancement of infrastructure issues this week by Mr. Ivison, he gives us one of the usuals. Favourite excerpt:
More by luck than judgment, Mr. Ignatieff has survived to fight another day and can now fulfill his first responsibility as Leader of the Official Opposition -- that is, to provide Canadians with an alternative government.
More by luck than judgment...what does that mean exactly? It was all a crap shoot? There was no judgment? Of course there was some heavy betting going on, Ignatieff no doubt sized up the NDP's likelihood of wanting an election at the moment and made his move. When you act in a manner that advances your cause, based on facts you are able to surmise, does the outcome mean you're lucky or that you made a good judgment? Philosophical questions from strange phrases that occupy way too much of my time. But if it was luck, better to be lucky than not.

One thing I did agree with in Ivison's column today was the caution that Harper may not be able to help himself from self-destructing once more:
A caveat to all of the above is that it relies on Stephen Harper being as good as his word. The Prime Minister told the House this week that another election would be "needless and wasteful" and that his government was keen to concentrate on governing.

However, recent opinion polls suggest the Conservatives have built up a considerable lead over the Liberals, in large measure due to public disgust at Mr. Ignatieff's move to force another election. The Prime Minister will be tempted to engineer a parliamentary crisis that forces the NDP to side with the Liberals and bring down his government.

Yet, any hint of duplicity by Mr. Harper and those winning conditions would surely melt like snow in a river. The Prime Minister may be liked by Canadians but he's not well liked. The lesson of the past two weeks is that voters are in no mood for partisan machinations or policies that are more concerned with politicians than with people who have lost their jobs.
Setting aside the predictable claptrap in that excerpt, the important takeaway question is this: will Harper be able to resist his partisan instincts in this fall session...a very good question. Think he's due for a biggie a la last fall.