The Prime Minister travels to the home of Toyota Canada, Cambridge, Ontario to deliver the country's second quarterly report card on our economic performance.
Cynics will complain that it's a move designed to switch the spotlight off the $50-billion man, the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty and the tumult of the House of Commons. Plus Mr. Harper will take credit for about 2700 of Federal Government stimulus funded projects being injected into Ontario's failing economy. By doing so away from the rhetoric of Ottawa's Parliament Chambers, Mr. Harper can in effect challenge the opposition..."here's what we've done - Could you do any better?" and fear few (if any) immediate political reprisals.
Since the late January federal budget and the commitment to these regular economic updates, the Liberals have claimed that the Harper Government has been "on probation" with the ever present threat of a snap election hanging over the heads of the governing Tories. Goodness! The threat of a pending summer election is virtually non-existent. It is rather much more likely that the House of Commons will rise in summer recess on Friday next, June 19th, on the eve of the St. Jean-Baptiste festivities in Quebec. And, politicians will kick-off their ever endless round of summer picnics and barbecues to gauge the pulse and the mood of the electorate.
Over the last ten days or so, that has probably been as good a reason as any for Mr. Harper not to fire his hapless Minister of Natural Resources, Lisa Raitt, who has been serving as the national lightening-rod for all of the country's ills and frustrations. Bring it on! Misplaced confidential documents; questionable expenditures when she chaired the Toronto Harbour Commission; sexy cancer and tearful apologies; disparaging remarks about Cabinet colleagues; the Isotope fiasco at Chalk River; clearly incompetent staffers...Why Mrs. Raitt is the "gift that keeps on giving" when it comes to keeping the focus off the dismal record of accomplishments of both our Government and the current session of Parliament.
Canadians generally will put up with the bullshit when Parliamentarians are seen to be competent. At the end of next week though the current session of the House of Commons will end without elegance, perhaps a tiny whimper, and a complete lack of focus on the realities for which we send our politicians to Ottawa in the first place.