Wednesday, December 02, 2009

HST disarray and leadership implications: IOKIYAC

The Globe reports on some BC Liberal MPs commenting disfavourably about the announcement that the Liberal party will support the HST. It's still not clear to me, having read the report, that any of those Liberals will actually vote against the legislation, except maybe Keith Martin who seems to be playing kind of roguish these days (e.g., Hamlet act on the gun registry, to vote against it or for it, that is Keith's question). It just looks like venting, a bit of political cover that may signify nothing.

So what does it mean when we see little reports like this, what would be a lesson observers might take...maybe that unless a party marches in lockstep, it's deemed a sign of weakness in leadership. Yes, that might be an implication. This may be the simplistic road we're travelling in Canada now. No dissenting views among parliamentarians need be expressed, toe the party line up and down. The standard is set by the Harper party. All too often that's how public debate over issues are framed. You see it in the U.S. a bit, where dissent among Democrats is viewed as weakness in comparison to the Republicans who tend to be a bit more cohesive.

Now while lockstep is the standard marching formation for the Conservative bunch, on the HST issue it's an exception. Yet I don't recall seeing articles on the leadership implications for Mr. Harper. There are three instances of the Harper party members in rebellion on the issue, with three Conservative MPs at least having exhibited more in the way of rebellion than any of the quote bearing Liberals in the above Globe article. These Conservative dudes write op-eds, remember them? BC Conservative MP James Lunney. BC Conservative MP Dick Harris. Ontario Conservative MP Larry Miller.

So, to sum up, I don't suppose we'll see any articles on Harper's leadership being in disarray at the present moment despite the public opposition of his own MPs to a policy his budget stated was integral to the Canadian economy ("Provincial sales tax harmonization is the single most important step provinces with RSTs could take to improve the competitiveness of Canadian businesses.") See how it all works out for him?

(IOKIYAC...to anyone not familiar means: "It's OK if you are Conservative," a blogosphere formulation used frequently for hypocritical political parties, usually of the right wing variety. See also: IOKIYAR.)