Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Wheat Board sandwich week

It's been a big week of announcements from the Harper government. Much rolled out, almost hard to keep up with. It's worth paying attention to the smorgasbord to detect what it is that they likely feel they're vulnerable on.

We had the Supreme Court justice appointment announcements on Monday. Fairly well received except for some legitimate criticism of the selection process and the opposition in Quebec over Moldaver's lack of bilingualism.

We also had news of the new House of Commons seat allocations that would be coming. That word came mid-day on Tuesday. What the exact numbers will be, we don't know. But that's a big issue for Ontario, B.C., Alberta, Quebec. (Tangential pet peeve of the week: Harper is not giving out seats. They're not his to give. Please stop saying that.)

Also dropping on Tuesday, Gerry Ritz's news that the Wheat Board would be axed. Not well received on the whole. Charges of selling out to the Americans, getting nothing in return for a major trade concession. The Conservatives are vulnerable on being portrayed as destroying a venerable, valuable Canadian institution. One that farmers did vote to keep. One that the Conservatives are facing a legal challenge over.

Today? Full steam ahead. Onwards to a massive, history making $35 billion shipbuilding contract distribution. Very carefully stage managed. It appears that it has been handled cleanly, in an independent manner, on its face. Competitive bids on a major contract, what a concept. $25 billion to Halifax's Irving Shipbuilding. $8 billion to Vancouver's Seaspan Marine. Smiles all around from the NDP premier in Nova Scotia, workers cheering, the Liberal premier in B.C. equally happy (see screen shots of videos at CBC link). Conservatives as national symbol destroyers? Nah, they're builders and in a big way.

Oh, and the long gun registry repeal is in the offing. To be confirmed tomorrow as this hurly burly week of political announcements continues. Just in case there's not enough going on.

Wheat Board...what Wheat Board?