Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Random thoughts about Martin and Harper 

Conservatives prepared to think as one: The Globe and Mail
I have wanted to write something coherent about the Canadian political scene lately, with Harper's star rising as he comes off a leadership victory, and Martin's star apparently falling as he gets mired in the mess Chretien left him with. But all I have right now is some random thoughts:
- for the first time in 35 years, I will vote Liberal in the next federal election. I think Martin's heart is in the right place, and he has the leadership skills to actually implement some of the major political reforms this country needs. He reminds me a little of Roosevelt -- rich, patrician upbringing, intellectual, but he actually listens to people, he wants to make things better for them. And I don't think people appreciate how radical and risky some of his ideas are -- giving more authority and responsibility to backbenchers, making parliamentary committees independent of the Prime Minister's Office -- its revolutionary, I think -- he has the potential to be one of Canada's great prime ministers. I just hope he gets the chance to prove it.
- if Martin wants to get any seats in the West, he had better scrap the gun registry. Helping the beef industry won't get him any political credit, because helping out an industry in trouble is what the federal government is supposed to do anyway. (Chretien always made such a big deal about doing things like this, as though he had a choice. But Canadians know that any government should do what Martin has now done for the cattle growers, that's why we elect these guys in the first place!) No, only dismantling the gun registry would show the west that Martin gets it. In theory, a gun registry is a good idea, of course, but this particular registry is so messed up, it's hopeless. Sometimes amputation is the only solution.
- its impressive that Harper has managed to unite the right, for the first time in 20 years. He's quiet but he is obviously determined, too, and he must have some political skills which I hadn't appreciated before, and that's also going to be good for the country. However, I was totally disgusted with the Conservatives talking about an alliance with the Bloc Quebecois if they get into a minority government in the next election. How opportunistic.

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