Saturday, January 24, 2009

Saturday notes

A brief version...

1. Conservative leadership rumblings still in the background...Don Martin:
"...for the first time since he became Canada's alpha Conservative male in 2002, a knife or two is being quietly sharpened in the benches behind his back -- just in case he fails."
John Ivison:
"...unlike former Conservative leader Brian Mulroney, Mr. Harper has failed to establish a personal rapport with many caucus members. Their loyalty would be strained to breaking point if Conservative support dropped into the 20s range - thus jeopardizing their cushy sinecures. Many Tories found themselves questioning their political faith during the general election and found it tested further by the Fall Fiscal Update.

“The ace the Prime Minister always had was that he was the master tactician. But our guy doesn’t have the ace anymore,” said one self-professed Harper supporter. “Ministers now whisper under their breath that they think we will lose the next election.”
Wha?  You mean the chess master sows doubt in the pawns?  Always a shame to read such opinions...

2. Budget secrecy? Nice pro forma report on the "cone of silence," how quaint.  But you're too late, it's been bulldozed:
Bureaucrats and economists were stunned when the "government official" revealed the budget details.
Mel Cappe, a former clerk of the Privy Council Office who now heads the Institute for Research on Public Policy, said releasing such numbers without the support of finance officials to explain what went into the forecast undermines the credibility of the budget, which Canadians should believe is as accurate and sound as possible.
"The minister of finance and PMO should be careful to protect the reputation and precious integrity of the Department of Finance in its forecasts. The government needs it. The market needs it and the public needs it and this doesn't help," Cappe said.
Clearly, this Conservative government cares little about any of that.   

3. Only Rex Murphy could be cranky after this week.  Try Bob Herbert instead.

4.  Travers puts his finger on the uncertainty of the coming week and the potential for "backsliding."

5.  Want to keep track of Obama's progress in keeping promises?  Try the Obameter (click  on the links at the top of the page rather than scrolling through).  He's off to a fairly good start. (h/t disco)

6.  Want to laugh this morning?  Try some Harper from the election on deficits, it's hilarious in retrospect. You'll be laughing (or smiling) within 20 seconds, I promise. He does love to play economist, doesn't he?

He's not pulling it out of his hat, you know...:)