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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Boy, are they pissed! 

I guess I really have been hanging around the Liberals too long. I am surprised at the depth of anger among Conservatives at what Harper has done, and how this anger just isn't going away.
Today's Globe story provides some choice new quotes from Conservatives:
"This looks like expediency, even hypocrisy ...This is shocking. It's just unbelievable. Who was Stephen talking to? We campaigned against this kind of stuff" - veteran Conservative MP from Western Canada
"I'm not sure how I'm going to explain these appointments to my constituents. It's bewildering." -- rookie MP
"brazen display of anti-democratic behaviour" - a radio talk show caller describing Emerson.
"I understand the pragmatism of it, but to be honest, I feel a bit uneasy about it." - MP Maurice Vellacott.
On his post entitled One-day story (Day Three), Andrew Coyne provides some links to more coverage from Reuters, Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Sun, Calgary Sun, CBC News, National Post, and the Toronto Star.
And here are some more editorial reactions:
Don Martin, columnist for the pro-Conservative National Post, attacked the appointment as "flagrant capitulation to political expediency." He added: "A clean government is launched by dirty politics." . . .
"Despite all his lofty election promises to do government differently, Harper has constructed a cabinet more with an eye to political porking that principle," wrote columnist Greg Weston in the right-wing Sun chain of newspapers. Weston noted that the three ministries with the most money to spend -- public works, industry and transport and infrastructure -- had all gone to people from French-speaking Quebec . . .
La Presse, one of Quebec's most influential newspapers, said that for someone who had promised to do things differently Harper had "missed the mark" with his cabinet choices.
And here are some blogger reactions:
Stephen Harper promised us an end to the democratic deficit - he swore that a Conservative government would be more principled than the previous Liberal regimes. He lied. -- Bound by Gravity
I had hoped a principled Conservative government, unused to the corrupting trappings and temptations of power, might stem the rising tide of cynicism eating away at the political spirit of our great country. That hope is not extinguished, but it wanes. I still support the Conservative govenment on policy. But policy alone is thin gruel indeed for someone hungry for leadership. Babbling Brooks
It still stinks. We were not elected to be better at the Liberals' game. We were elected to change the rules of the game. By leading off with our chins the way we have with the David Emerson cabinet spot and the handling of Michael Fortier's cabinet appointment via the Senate, we not only suckerpunched the Liberals, but we suckerpunched ourselves. We suckerpunched all those Conservative supporters, who spent this Christmas looking their non-partisan friends in the eye and encouraging them to vote for a party they weren't 100% comfortable with, on the grounds that we were going to do things differently, and politics would be a little better at the end. . . . we bought into the message. We really did believe that things were going to be different. There was a great deal of idealism within the Tory party over the last few weeks, and in one fell swoop, it became muted. Hacks and Wonks
Say this for him: if you’re going to break a promise, you might as well rub everyone’s noses in it. Mr. Harper has achieved a great deal with these two appointments. He has demoralized his party’s supporters. He has ruined whatever honeymoon he might have had with the press. He has diverted attention from what was otherwise an impressive piece of cabinet-making. But most of all, he has undermined his own reputation for honesty. A priceless political asset has been devalued, and all for a couple of cabinet seats. Bad politics has driven out good.- Andrew Coyne
Harper's Emerson appointment, though unprincipled, didn't surprise me, really -- I guess I could understand why Harper would want to shore up his minority and give his Cabinet some experience by grabbing Emerson. But the more I think about it, the less explicable the Fortier appointment appears -- it is as blatant and obvious a piece of political pay-back sleaze as Chretien ever tried to pull off, though at least "Big Al" Galiano had been elected before he was given the plum public works appointment.
And Harper is also learning how, once you start buying people off, you just can't stop. The Globe also reports that Ontario Tory MP Helena Guergis was set to issue a press release reaffirming her support for last year's anti-crossing legislation. "However, Mr. Harper made her parliamentary secretary to Mr. Emerson yesterday afternoon, and the press release was not issued."
Cynicism -- I guess it must be contagious.

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