CONTROL-FREAK Stephen Harper no longer seems to be in full control. That was very evident at the Conservative Convention in Calgary last weekend as those who hope to replace him as party leader and Prime Minister decided to assert themselves – a bit for now.
There was Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay and Minister of Employment, Social Development and Multiculturalism (‘Minister of Everything’?) Jason Kenney boldly standing up for Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright, who Harper now says was fired for making “an inappropriate payment” of $90,000 to now suspended Senator Mike Duffy and who Harper accused of deception. (See “Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Senator Mike Duffy should take lie-detector tests!” in Asian Journal of October 25 and “ Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Senator Mike Duffy should take lie-detector tests! – Part 2” in the November 1 issue at www.AsianJournal.ca.)
So isn’t that like saying: “Harper doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” or “Harper just uses people and then throws them under the bus!”?
Then there was Quebec’s Maxime Bernier, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture), who suggested a referendum on the Senate’s future.
So now you’ll see Conservative MPs secretly backing up the obvious contenders and I think the best candidate will be Kenney.
HARPER proved to be the same old guy, refusing to admit his mistakes and blunders and placing the blame on everyone (thank God, he left out God!) but himself for the Senate mess involving his own three appointees: Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau.
He’s been looking increasingly haggard. Indeed, because now that he can’t take his core Conservative supporters for granted even as his party’s popularity and that of his own is declining, he is under pressure to accept the policies of the right-wing nuts of his party.
Indeed, that was quite obvious from the kind of resolutions that were passed at the convention. But Industry Minister James Moore tried to soften the blow by telling the media that although the resolutions passed at conventions are always important debates, it will be Harper who will ultimately decide where the party will stand.
As NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen, who was an observer at the convention, put it: “A desperate prime minister needing to at least shore up his base goes to the lowest common denominator he can find. And this is all the Tea Party North Stuff.”
– RATTAN MALL