Wednesday, December 3, 2008

 

R.I.P. NEO-CONSERVATISM

The Prime-Minister, as a graduate student at the University of Calgary, became a convert to American economist Adam Smith's theory of the "invisible hand". Author William Johnson in the book "Stephen Harper and the Future of Canada" suggests that from the moment he took power after the January 2006 election: "oblivious to most Canadians, (Harper) had begun to use his own invisible hand to shape events."

Until just recently one of Mr. Harper's key staff strategists, and still a main political advisor is Tom Flanagan, an American born social conservative and professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary. As both men are well educated, well advised, and well informed; it should have been clear that the resounding defeat of the Republican Party ideology in the fall U.S. Presidential election sent a clear message to the North American neo-social conservative movement that its agenda had suffered a near fatal blow.

Ever more so, unlike the American Presidential system, Canada's Parliamentary democracy, requires that the ruling government retain the "confidence" of the House of Commons in order to retain power. Including tonight's brief five minute address to the nation, Mr. Harper, seems still to be missing the key message. Confidence is lost. The Liberals and the New Democratic Party are not going to back away from Monday's historic coalition agreement which includes an offer to govern the country should the Government be defeated in the House of Commons...not just next week, but even if the Prime Minister is successful in delaying the now apparent obvious until the late January Federal budget.

In the speech to the nation Mr. Harper appeared to extend an olive branch of some sort, suggesting an open desire to consult with the opposition parties. But at this point in time the only party which may still have anything to gain from consultations is the Bloc Quebecois. Essentially the party, Mr. Harper and his cabinet in the same breath, have been vilifying as Separatists bent on destroying the country, whilst blaming the Liberal/NDP coalition for making a "deal" with these very Devil incarnate.

Certainty is clear: The chance of this Parliament continuing to function on the basis of the results of the October 14th Federal election is over...for good! That is one of the issues the Governor-General, Michaelle Jean, must face as she wades into Constitutional uncharted waters which, from all appearances, are Shark infested.

Surely these are not matters which Mme Jean anticipated, nor perhaps even considered, when she accepted the heretofore mostly ceremonial role as Canada's Head Of State. As a child growing-up under the "Papa" Doc Duvalier regime in her native Haiti, she's probably witnessed attempted efforts to reform the system, or depending on your viewpoint, overthrowing the government. To the extent that her childhood experiences have prepared her for the difficult choices she may be making over the next several days, good for her.

At the conclusion of this Parliamentary imbroglio, as our nation's Head of State, the Constitution demands that she, the Governor-General, retain the confidence, support and goodwill of all Canadians regardless of whether we agree fully, or not, with the choices she is being forced to make and act upon.

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