Russell Wangersky: A Conservative wolf in sealskin clothes
In St. John’s on Thursday morning, Tory leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary slipped into an apparently borrowed sealskin coat to make one more connection when speaking with the locals.
To the editor,
Stephen Harper has been in office nearly 10 years as Canada’s 22nd prime minister. Though the history books have yet to be written about his administration, analysts will take advantage of the delay to question his legacy. For example, when first elected, and the media had him in a scrum asking for his plans, he told them they would get press releases, “If you won’t give us the news, we’ll make it.”
Over the years, public opinion has been polarizing, from former PMO communications director Dimitri Soudas calling him the greatest prime minister we ever had to others complaining about his tendency to govern heavy-handedly.
While there never will be a consensus about Mr. Harper's legacy, an analysis of several factors indicates that, so far, he's been one of Canada's most successful prime ministers. Here is why:
Longevity: Stephen Harper is now the ninth longest-serving prime minister and quickly making his way up the list.
Domestic policy: the Tories have checked off many high-profile items from their campaign platform, including legislation on the Wheat Board, human smuggling, the long-gun registry, the omnibus crime bill and the copyright bill.
Foreign affairs: Canada now has a voice after nearly a decade of muddled foreign policy.
The Harper government has also had positive approval ratings and has been scandal-free.
Although he has had to deal with several acts of misbehaviour by individuals on both sides of the house and the Senate, we only hear about the Tories from the opposition. And letters to The News, only those bashing Mr. Harper get printed.
The crude remarks made in the majority of the letters need a response. First, the government’s responsibility is to govern the country, not to cater to personal desires. Most of government main business is done in caucus, no matter which party is in power. Then, when all is in order, it is brought before the house for debate, resolution and enactment.
As for accusing Mr. Harper of muzzling certain members, that is not true. The comments they wished to make were out of order, and they were told so. So any concerns the public has should first be brought to an individual’s MP who then is responsible to bring it before the house at the appropriate time, including issues in their riding.
I am a former 25-year career serviceman and I agree with closing the nine DVA offices, two of which were located in Nova Scotia, the rest spread across the other provinces. In that situation, veterans in rural areas had to travel hundreds of miles for face-to-face service, a great inconvenience. With the 600 proposed agencies, it will be alleviated considerably.
Mr. Harper does not rule with an iron hand, he only wishes to prevent the media from misconstruing his real intentions, which they are good at. Persons should really know what they are talking about before opening their mouths. You will find that Mr. Harper will go into the history books as one of the most successful leaders Canada has ever had.
Stanley H. Jones