Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stephen Harper Doesn't Get It, Never Will

If Stephen Harper really wanted to be as "Mr. Hope" or a Canadian Obama imitation, perhaps he should have actually looked at Obama's most famous speeches. He might then have realized that Obama's best speeches resonated because they were unifying, not divisive, and were considered post-partisan, rather than partisan speeches.

If Stephen Harper really wants to reach out to supporters of other parties, perhaps he could just actually act like a Prime Minister for once and stand above the fray, rather than give yet another completely partisan speech, especially when his partisan arguments are so incredibly flimsy (as David Akin so easily points out - h/t to Jeff).

Mr. Harper, Canadians didn't give you a blank cheque in the last election, they gave you a minority. In case you don't yet understand our system that means Canadians wanted you to work with other parties to get things done.

Canadians want Parliamentarians to work together, but instead confrontation is what Harper has on his mind. He's the only one talking about causing an election over his unwillingness to have even a shred of accountability for $3 billion in new spending.

Mr. Harper likes to talk about other parties "not heeding the lessons of the last election," well look in the mirror Mr. Harper or break out a calculator because a clear majority of Canadians voted against you and the last thing they want is to give you unfettered spending power with no strings attached. And you talk about Canada coming out of this recession stronger than before but your budget did nothing to achieve that goal.

The irony is that if Stephen Harper actually acted like a Prime Minister and reached out his hand to the members of the opposition and ran his government in a more collaborative fashion, he'd actually be more popular with Canadians (I fail to see how his flimsy partisan attacks win over Liberal voters to his side), but he just can't help himself. The fact that he personally wrote today's speech really says it all.

It's just so clear now beyond a shadow of a doubt that Stephen Harper doesn't get it.

He didn't get that a recession was coming, so instead encouraged everyone to buy stocks just before they monumentally crashed.

He didn't realize he had a minority, so instead his first order of business after the election was to try to destroy the opposition while doing nothing about the economy and then delaying a budget by two months he now says must be passed immediately.

And now he doesn't realize that Canadians want more than anything to see politicians put partisan squabbles aside to address the economic crisis, so instead his "defining speech" about the recession is more about scoring partisan points than actually helping Canadians.

Stephen Harper is a Conservative partisan first and a Prime Minister second and in this economic climate that combination is toxic (especially when compared with the President across the border) and it's only a matter of time before it ends his career one way or another.

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Anonymous said...

I wish I had said that, Danielle. Perfect in every way. Out here, in BC it's difficult to find people who agree, but Harper really does a terrible disservice to this country and our parliament. The only thing I might disagree with are his priorities, ie. Conservative first, PM second. I would say PM is 'way farther down the list.

Darryl said...

The budget stimulus was so urgent that a coalition was formed with separatists and socialists that forced Harper to deliver this budget. Now suddenly Liberals have changed their tune. McGuinty has still not presented a budget despite Ontario's situation and the unelected senate is stalling the budget federally. The whole time Igantieff and other Liberals have not contributed one tangible idea to help us during these economic times. Ignatieff spokesperson Warren Kinsella continues to post and cheer bad news hoping it means Iggy gets elected by default. I am not sure that it is the Conservatives who are on a different planet. Kinsella, Iggy and McGuinty seem to be the ones with their head in the sand.

Danielle Takacs said...

Darryl that Conservative spin has been thoroughly debunked (especially about "Senate stalling) - see here,here, and here - it looks like the money will flow when the budget year begins and I believe it's legally impossible for it to flow sooner - no one should have problems with debate when it's not holding up money from actually being spent (because it can't be till April 1st).

And Harper has to take responsibility for the fact that he shut down Parliament for two months when other countries were actually addressing the economic crisis - he could have included fiscal stimulus in his fiscal update (which would have allowed the money to be spent before April 1, while the 2009 Budget money cannot be), instead he did not and we are among the last countries in the G20 to introduce significant fiscal stimulus.

As for McGuinty, the Ontario budget is being introduced earlier than usual and had to take into account what the federal government was providing (note not all infrastructure projects have been announced) for its budgeting. Either way, I'm very confident that the budget we will see will be focused on long-term investments to see Ontario come out of the recession much stronger than before, which is a stark contrast to Harper's budget which had no investments for future and really had no vision beyond the next two years.

As for head's in the sand - it wasn't the Liberals that were predicting surpluses for the next 5 years as recently as late November, when economists across the board were already warning of a deep recession. See HERE.

Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty just have a real problem with honesty don't they?

marie said...

Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty just have a real problem with honesty don't they?

It seems they are not the only ones to have problems with the truth. Their followers are so gullible they believe it all and follow the same trend. A lie is a lie is a lie and the truth is the truth is the truth.They just are so blind sited partisans they wouldn't see even if it slapped them on the side of their thick skulls.