Saturday, September 15, 2012

Putting the Progressive back in the Conservatives?

It's September, the big back to school month, and Parliament resumes sitting this coming week. Interesting then to note some moves being made by the Harper government, perhaps designed to put a new coat of paint on their tired, right wing shtick. Noted in the past day or so...

"Canada gives up defending asbestos." Citing the election of the PQ and their anti-asbestos policies - shared by most Canadians - the Harper government has slunk away from their continued support of the industry. An excuse presented itself and our federal government, integrity driven as always, has finally backed away from the poison.

An item today on the environmental file: "Environment Minister eyes overhaul of law protecting at-risk wildlife." This is certainly not the hard stuff on Kent's plate. No GHG emission regs for him. It's more of the declaration of National Park status from the Harper crew. Still, the casual observer will be left with an impression.

Then there was John Baird's splashy speech yesterday: "Canada to promote gay, women's rights in foreign policy." Easy to give a foreign affairs speech, it's low cost and gets a lot of attention. Meanwhile, back in Canada, the Conservative backbenchers' agenda manages to keep coming forth in Parliament, always bubbling under the surface. It's a hard sell to say these Conservatives are pro-gay rights and pro-women but apparently that's not stopping them from trying.

A new coat of paint for Canadians? A concerted effort to re-brand? Something to watch. Leopards don't change their spots so easily, or however that expression goes.