While undoubtedly 2008 was a year dominated by the US in terms of news and politics, there can be no doubt that our own Parliament provided a few thrills (we even got on The Daily Show; an accomplishment, I believe, just to remind those Americans that we do still exist.) Today, our party leaders are no doubt reflecting on what went wrong in 2008, and how to move towards a strong, stable government in 2009. Over the next few days, I'll be suggesting New Years resolutions to the major party leaders on how to reach that goal. Tonight, I'll focus on Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservatives.
- Stop acting like you have a majority government. Yes, the Canadian people gave you a strengthened mandate, but that doesn't give you the right to paint the town blue. While I happen to think that Flaherty's economic statement was reasonably on-target (I'll explain my reasoning in a separate post), it doesn't take a genius to realize that the opposition parties will think otherwise. Be willing to settle for a more liberal budget (bigger economic stimulus, more social programs) that some of the more right-wing members of your party (myself included) would prefer, because the alternative will undoubtedly be a socialist budget; raising corporate taxes and killing hundreds of thousand of jobs, as a result of the dreaded Coalition of Incompetence.When even your advisors are telling you to cool it, I'd take their word. Which brings me to my next point:
- Start listening. Start listening to individuals in your cabinet. It's no secret that you like to run things on your own, but when suddenly you're the brink of political turmoil, reality should kick in. Start listening to Michael Ignatieff. He's a brilliant man, if a little conceited. Keeping an open mind during your meetings with him could save Canada from a bloodless coup after the confidence vote. Lastly, start listening to Canadians. Polls are consistently showing that even those who voted for the Libs and NDP want the electorate's wishes to granted; if it gets to the point that power may be stolen without the voters' consultation, the GG must be told, in the strongest terms possible, that the people must have their say.
- Fire Georganne Burke immediately. The aide to Tony Clement embarressed the Minister and the Tories by trying to shut down a Chanukah candle lighting ceremony at Or HaEmet Hebrew School, including special needs children from Zareinu (zah-RAY-nu) Educational Centre downstairs (where my mother happens to work), merely because Iggy was there and there was no Tory present. Such partisanship and lack of consideration leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the Jewish community, and with the possibility of an election in the coming months, the community that elected their first Tory MP since its creation may not be so forgiving this time around.