Some things just need to be said...
Monday, January 24, 2005
The Undoing of Stephen Harper: Canadian unplugged
Update: March 10, 2005 - The Duct Tape is Off
NDP leader Jack Layton had the best quip of the 2004 federal election campaign when he said "Every conservative candidate is now wearing a strip of duct tape across their month, labelled do not open until June 29th."Stephen Harper has been busy trying to reapply that duct tape ever since the election going so far as to require all his MPs to clear their same sex marriage comments with his office. It appears the tape isn't sticking too well anymore.
Update: February 27, 2005 - Harper to lead "The Hidden Agenda Party"
Harper is going to face some angry people on both sides of the issue in Montreal at the convention. He may succeed there, succeeding in a general election on the slogan, "Vote for us, The Hidden Agenda Party" will prove difficult if not impossible.
Same-sex marriage debate reveals Harper out of touch with Canadians
Harper had it all going for him. He convinced the Alliance to join with the Progressive Conservatives. Along the way he also had to assure the PC's that he was a moderate, that the old Reform positions on equality were not about to take over in this new era of solidarity among Conservatives.
Harper needed this same-thought marriage to unite the conservative movement long since fractured with the creation of Reform. Harper succeeded having assuring words for the nervous new partner, that pro lifers and anti-gay elements would be held in check.
It was essential for this new party to appear fiscally conservative and socially progressive to establish a meaningful base in Ontario, for without it they could not hope to form a government in Canada.
As has been the case for every Reform or Canadian Alliance leader heading into a general election, they try to muzzle the the social and or religious conservatives, to keep them quiet. It works with some, yet there is always one or more that speaks up and as they do, the election is lost.
They must know the views being expressed by those in their party do not resonate with the majority of Canadians. Still they plod along, giving ammunition to their political opponents, no doubt thrilled to turn attention from their own failings to "Protect the Charter".
With the debate on same-sex marriage heating up, Bishops and Primate's speaking of using coercive power of the state to proscribe or curtail same-sex marriage, Conservative MP's are echoing the same sentiments.
To be fair to Harper, he is not the only one to have such MP's. The Liberals have a good number themselves and even the NDP have one that says she will vote against same-sex marriage.
Harper has decided to side with those opposed to same-sex marriage clouding it with his support for gays and lesbians to receive all the rights of marriage, just not the name. It rings hollow when you hear him saying these things. I get a bad feeling in my stomach.
That bad feeling is enough for many Canadians who in recent polls have said they support a law providing for same-sex marriage. The only group of Canadians supporting Mr. Harper's position are those over 60. A full 57% of Canadians support the same-sex marriage law.
The Reform and it's successor have always campaigned on voting on issues as their constituents want them too. How BC members of Harper's party, especially those representing urban BC ridings can now vote against same sex marriage in a province that has 60% support for it is very telling.
That alone will see this new less progressive Conservative party banish itself to being a western fringe voice, and Harper destined to follow its former leaders, Preston Manning and Stockwell Day.
Others in the former Progressive Conservative party saw this happening, they were not fooled by the new group. Joe Clark for one, told us all that a leopard can not change its spots.
The last leader of the Progressive Conservatives must be furious. He nor were any Conservatives MP's were consulted on the current ad campaign his party is running against same-sex marriage.
Two Conservatives have said they will vote for same-sex marriage, and I and others know of a few more who have indicated they may do the same. Belinda Stronach and James Moore will support the legislation. Both are from urban ridings. Both are socially progressive, fiscally conservative and would have been right at home in the PC's.
It is same-sex marriage that has brought to light the fact the Conservatives have not changed from previous days. A doubt that many Canadians feel in their gut. A feeling that they were right to deny Harper the keys to 24 Sussex Drive. That he must never get near the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
What will the Harper Conservatives go after next? Abortion rights, faster privatisation of healthcare, missile defense partnership with the United States, right to work legislation, we don't know.
Harper could have listened to Canadians, could have shown he was worthy of being entrusted with the Charter, instead he has chosen the vision shared by fewer Canadians with each passing day and election. He has demonstrated he cannot be trusted. Harper has created his own undoing. He is unplugged.
Non-Profit PEJ.org Zips Towards 60,000 Visitors In January
PEJ News: Victoria, Canada-- The newly incorporated Prometheus Institute announced today that it expects monthly visitors at PEJ.org to surpass 50,000 today or tomorrow, averaging over 700 hits per hour, and approximately 60,000 visitors before the month is over— a 50% growth in traffic over last month