Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Harpers not so reformed Senate

I have a friend, loves to cook, and loves to cook one particular dish, a primevera pasta of sorts. Now I love my friend, and I eat his pasta with a smile, and some red wine, but it tastes just awful. The problem is he tries, and tries and tries to get it right, but it's always awful. You want to know why ? Because he always uses the same ingredients. Why do I tell you this story you may ask. I tell it because it is a great analogy for what Stephen Harper did today. He hates the Senate. He has spent a life time criticizing patronage appointments, ridiculing any Prime Minister who appointed partisan hacks, calling for an elected, reformed senate and planning to one day abolish the Upper Chamber. So when elected, many correctly assumed we would see a revolution in the way the senate was dealt with. I mean to spend your life calling for Reform of said institution really paints you into a corner when you hold the power to do things differently. Unfortunately for all those who were hoping and expecting to see reform, what they got was the same bitter taste. Like my friend, Harper seems to not understand the basic flaw in his recipe, and that is if you use the same ingredients, same method and same utensils, you will get the same result. Stephen Harper has appointed 18 of the most Hyper-partisan, Conservative/reform leaning bunch of partisan hacks this country has ever seen. From former Chiefs of Staffs to Conservative Premiers to old buddies of fathers of Cabinet Ministers, this partisan pasta tastes a lot like the same old same old, and very little like the reform we expected. The conundrum I face is who should I really blame. Maybe I am too optimistic, I do it with my friend, every time I go over, I hope this time it will taste better, it never does. Perhaps believing the Senate would be reformed, when it comes from the mouth of the man who gave us such flip flops as Atlantic Accord, Income trusts, deficits, removing equality from status of women mission, promise to veterans of widows broke, ( just ask Peter Stoffer and the Widow from Cape Breton about that) said we weren't in for recession, partisan budget, and oh yes, his already partisan use of the senate ( remember Michael Fortier, campaign worker, appointed to senate then made a cabinet Minister). In the recent weeks we have seen the true political mind of Harper work, and he has failed in both cases. His partisan budget created a crisis unseen before in Canadian politics which almost cost him his job, and his Senate appointments, massive in both size and hypocrisy have shown that the man who has built his image around being in control and the smartest guy at the table is neither right now. Perhaps he needs some time to think about what reform really is. Over Christmas I hope he relaxes and reads a good book, unwinds and re-evaluates his decisions to date, and if he gets hungry, I have some pasta I bet he would love.

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