Canada's 39th Parliament winds down

Written by  //  June 21, 2008  //  Canada, Politics, Public Policy  //  No comments

June 21
Cranky Parliament still got things done
Don Martin, National Post
Change anathema to Harper
While there’s no doubt the Harper government is tired and limping toward the end of the parliamentary session, it’s unlikely the Prime Minister is going to re-emerge in the fall and start banging on about embracing change.
This is because transformative change is an anathema to Mr. Harper, a conservative from the top of his head to the tip of his sensible shoes.
A report card on senior Conservatives
This Prime Minister is the government, and ministers are rated mainly for their ability to follow orders. As such, Mr. Harper is responsible for many government messes. He’s been on a witch-hunt to root out real or imaginary Liberals in the bureaucracy, showed poor judgment in elevating Maxime Bernier to Foreign Affairs and often ignores simple solutions to defiantly stick by his positions. Loyalty in his caucus is wafer thin because their respect is commanded not earned and thus vulnerable to backstabbing the minute he goes from asset to liability. But the guy knows what he wants and is fearless in ruling in majority style with minority control. For that, he still ranks above average.
Jim Prentice: A
… If he wasn’t a charisma-challenged Calgary MP, he’d be first in line to claim the top job, already held by a charisma-challenged Calgary MP.
June 20
House of Commons ends scandal-plagued spring session
Parliament’s spring session came to an end Friday after a session that saw the minority government facing bribery allegations, a fight with Elections Canada and the high-profile resignation of the foreign affairs minister.
Among the scandals that dogged the Tories were allegations they tried to bribe then-cancer-stricken MP Chuck Cadman, fuelled by a biography by a Vancouver journalist.
In April, Elections Canada officials raided the party’s headquarters in Ottawa over allegations they exceeded their campaign spending limit by more than $1 million.
The government faced heat when it fired the head of Canada’s nuclear safety watchdog over the medical isotope kerfuffle.
Most recently, embattled Maxime Bernier resigned as foreign affairs minister after leaving classified documents at the home of his then-girlfriend, who has been linked to biker gangs.
But there were also high points, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper giving a historic apology over the federally-financed program that forced aboriginal children into residential schools.
Industry Minister Jim Prentice also stepped in to stop the sale of the Radarsat 2 satellite, Canadarm and Dextre space robotics to an American arms-maker in April.
The minority government also took advantage of a Liberal opposition keen to avoid an early election to pass a motion extending Canada’s mission in Afghanistan until 2011. The government also passed a budget that cut the GST.

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