Friday, January 27, 2006

Job number one?

Rosie DiManno at the Toronto Star disagrees with me:
the objective for Stephen Harper is not to govern with panache now, within the admittedly straitening parameters of minority rule, but to position himself such that he can secure a majority in the next election, which is apparently Job 1. Thus, to make the Tories more palatable to all those millions who preferred the Liberals and the NDP, Harper should break the presumed covenant he made with those Canadians who provided his party with its current mandate, and did so with a tapestry of support from coast to coast, leaving only Prince Edward Island unrepresented in caucus. Plus the country's three biggest cities, of course — Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — where voters turned up their noses and rejected all Tory supplicants. This, the tall foreheads tell us, is the subtext of the election outcome — illusory power, checked by Canadian caution, translated as a warning not to boldly implement the very policies that Harper campaigned on, already modified toward a more centrist sensibility, or at least not unless he tempers them further to appease voters (and parliamentary opposition) who instinctively recoil from Harper's vision of a different Canada. We are a nation of compromise, which is all fine and well. But endless compromise can also amount to stagnation and timidity, an absence of purpose, so that you end up standing for nothing except bland platitudes. The view from here is that Harper ought not imitate the prime minister he's replacing — condemned to mere footnote status in history now — by governing defensively and diluting political principles, terrified of provoking a vote of non-confidence and prepared to whore himself for the sake of holding onto power. Either the platform, as thoroughly outlined on the campaign trail, will find sufficient favour with Canadians in application or it won't. Better to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
Of course I never said that style, guts and panache are un-Canadian. All I said was don't do a clutzy Rambo; do think long term. Very long term.

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