Friday, January 15, 2010

A bit much

Interesting piece in the Globe today that comes amidst the Haiti crisis and talk of the government's response to it. The desire to have the issue proceed untinged by partisanship may, however, be difficult to maintain when anonymous Conservative officials are whispering plaudits about their guy's in control aura to reporters, exploiting the moment. There's no need for publicizing this kind of thing if all you're interested in is getting the job done in the national interest:
Stephen Harper was flying back to Ottawa from Quebec City in a government Challenger on Tuesday afternoon when the earthquake reduced Port-au-Prince to rubble. Within minutes, his staff's Blackberries started buzzing, and as the plane touched down 30 minutes later, everyone had their marching orders: Get the disaster-relief teams ready to roll.

“He started giving orders about what was going to happen,” one official said. “And he was still in the aircraft taxiing.”
The framing in the Globe following the above quote suggests exactly why such tidbits have been offered:
After four years in power, here was a PM who has matured in his role and learned from that experience. Where past governments confronting overseas disasters like the scramble to evacuate Lebanon have lost days debating options and fretting over obstacles, Mr. Harper was confident in driving ahead.

It was a moment that played to the Prime Minister's strengths: decisiveness and control.
That's quite the extrapolation of maturity in crisis situations for this Prime Minister. This is not meant to take away from the substance of the Haiti response which has been good. But let's not lose our heads here. Harper is also in the midst of the fallout from a very bad exercise in judgment, the prorogation decision. Let's keep some perspective and not let the hagiography take flight.
Partisanship would be the worst mistake the government could make, Mr. Lyle said, and so far, Mr. Harper's government seems to know it.
Worth watching.