Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Harper agenda: Senate, slash-and-burn, Jets, Prisons and superior rhetoric

Harper has just introduced his bill to move to Senate elections into the House of Commons. Until now, senators have been appointed by the Prime Minister for life. Both Liberal and Conserative PM's have filled as many seats in the 'red' chamber as they could, and currently the Conservatives have a majority of members int he upper house. Harper has favoured an elected Senate since before entering politics as an elected representative.
His new bill will set term limits of 9 years, for all appointments, and will leave open the option for provinces to elect senators, when a vacancy occurs, if they choose. The Prime Minister will retain the right to appoint from those elected. And the question of making these elections mandatory on all provinces and territories, a move that would require a full scale constitutional amendment, something the Harper government does not wish even to contemplate because of the assured provincial objections and the political mess such a move would leave at the doorstep of the current government, will be left unaddressed.
New seats in the House of Commons for three provinces, Ontario. Alberta and Saskatchewan, without preserving the 25% rule for Quebec, a seventy-five-year tradition, is another of the Harper government proposals. Together with a commitment to a $4 billion slashing and buring of the federal expenditures, the purchase of $30 billion worth of F-35 Fighter Jets and hundreds of new prison cells, linked with a move to seriously curtail the production and growth of medical marajuana...and the shape of the next four years is already taking form.
Linked to their modus operandi, are phrases like "we have an action plan" for that...and "we are very clear about that" and "our action plan continues the growth of the Canadian economy"....these phrases and similar ones strike the viewer whenever one turns on CPAC to catch a glimpse of the rhetoric coming from the mouths of Conservative members, issuing talking points, and not legitimate debate, making a mockery of the parliamentary system, as if the other parties are "scum" at the feet of these herculean masters.
Not only is their substance suspect, so is their style...and we have to suffer through this parliament for another four years. Ugh!

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