Friday, April 21, 2006

Tory Crew Is Inexperienced

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has received a lot of flack from just about everyone, supposedly even Emerson, for keeping a tight lid on his team. I have to admit, I understand why - his Cabinet is young and his political staffers are even younger and hardly experienced enough for their jobs.

I take French lessons on a regular basis and yesterday, my French teacher had me read an insert by La Press on Stephen Harper - Un homme seul... et son équipe (sorry I can't find the link to the article). I was really blown away to see who make up Harper's "Brain Trust".

Dimitri Soudas is 26. He is Harper's Deputy Press Secretary. He is also a key advisor to Harper on Québec.

Ian Brodie, as educated as he is, he is still only 38 and has limited experience in politics. He is Harper's Chief of Staff.

Patrick Muttart is 33 and is the Deputy Chief of Staff.

Mark Cameron is 37 and Harper's Policy Advisor.

And these guys are supposed to guide his Cabinet? You'd think Harper would try a little harder, considering how inexperienced his guys and gals are...

Rona Ambrose is indeed very bright. As much as I hope to see her defect to the Liberals, she is still very young (actually, one of the younger MPs) and is handling the high profile Ministry of Environment. With no past experience working with the environment, she is now in charge of trying to protect it and it so desperately needs attention and like, now. First on the agenda: hack Kyoto. Off to a great start.

Gary Lunn. A lawyer. A former paramedic. A mining construction superintendent. A safety and training co-ordinator. Once worked for Crestbrook Forest Industries. Now: Minister of Natural Resources.

Peter Mackay is high profile, but how much steak does his sizzle have? Mackay worked as a lawyer for six years before entering politics. He states frustrations with the justice system, particularly victim's rights, as his major impetus for taking up federal politics. He's now our Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Carol Skelton: a former administrator, coordinator, farmer, rancher and recruitor. Now you can find her managing our multi billion dollar national income as the new Minister of National Revenue and Minister of Western Economic Diversification.

Josée Vernier worked for years as a public servant. Her bio on the Tory website says she worked in the Ministry of Health. Now she is the Minister for International Cooperation.

Monte Solberg - great! The white dude from the very metropolitan Medicine Hat, Alberta will be our Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

And Haper's green team is not the only reason why Harper would be acting so anal. His other liabilities include:

David Emerson - I like Emerson and to be honest, I'm glad he defected. At least we know someone in Cabinet knows what they are doing! But as much as I like the guy, it doesn't change the fact that he's incredibly unpopular or that blogs and the media have been crucifying him.

Chuck Strahl - as one of Harper's biggest and most outspoken MPs, he vehemently opposed Emerson's defection.

Michael Fortier - the guy's unelected and he's handling the Ministry of Public Works and Government Services. Enough said.

Gordon O'Connor - recently came under fire because he was a registered lobbyist between 2001 and 2004 for, among other defence contractors, Airbus Military, one of several possible contenders for the proposed purchase of new search-and-rescue planes.

So with a team like this, I can see full well why Harper is cracking out the whip. Hell, if I was him, I'd have half of them walking around with duck tape over their mouths. It's just too bad that Canadians voted for Harper because of his promise to create a more open and accountable government.


At 12:19 PM, Blogger decoin said...

Martin had much better people around him. I also agree with the duck tape reference, although I'm sad about the ducks who are slaughtered during the duck tape manufacturing process.

At 12:34 PM, Blogger wilson said...

Martin's people had been in gov't for 10 years, kinda non-sense comparison.

PMSH must be doing a good job at controlling the message, the subjects on Liblogs today are from 'unnamed sources' not Cons screwing up.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

Decoin - wow, you decided to be civil this time! Much better. Thanks for your comments.

At 2:58 PM, Blogger ottlib said...

Pedro I have to congratulate you.

You actually made wilson61 admit that the Conservatives have screwed up. Of course, he is not specific in where but you have to take these things one step at a time.

You know the old saying: The first step in solving a problem is to admit you have one.

The theme of your post is interesting. It is true that this group in government now is a mish-mash of political neophytes, Harris Tories, social conservatives and Alberta seperatists, so it makes sense that Mr. Harper would slap the duct tape across their mouths.

However, the only problem is Mr. Harper is one of those political neophytes and he has shown it in the distainful way he has broken key election promises. Usually, when a politician breaks an election promise they are a little sheepish and apologetic about it. Mr. Harper actually seems to enjoy rubbing Canadian's noses in the fact he broke a promise.

For now he is getting away with it but he should know that governments can become very old, very fast, especially with the fickle electorate we have in this country today.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger wilson said...

"Mr. Harper is one of those political neophytes"

PMSH has been in politics for over 20 years, hardly a neophyte. He started in politics as a Young Liberal in the Trudeau era. Was Deb Gray's underling, wrote policy for Mannings Reform party.
Of course Cons have/will screw up, they are human beings, not perfect, and there are alot of new kids on the block. I drink the blue Kool Aide but haven't gone blind from it yet!

At 6:37 PM, Blogger ottlib said...

Twenty years of being a political operative does not necessarily give you the experience required to govern, and he has only three months experience doing that.

To date he has not been tested and he has not made a significant decision, except to break several key election promises and to contradict much of what he said while he was in Opposition. His change of views with regard to gas taxes comes to mind.

He has done a good job getting himself good publicity but it is early in his term yet and that can change in a political eye blink.

It is funny really, the longer he goes without a significant crisis to deal with the more cocky he becomes and the more unprepared he will be when an eventual crisis hits. My only hope is it is a meaningless political crisis that he encounters first and not one that will really matters to the lives or the livelyhoods of Canadians.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger wilson said...

'he has only three months experience
and he has not made a significant decision, except to break several key election ...

Hamas, Tamil Tigers,China's espionage; MSM/Libs/Dippers say PMSH is a control freak, so you know the entire campaign was his doings...he won.

What crisis did Martin face (other than party infighting)?

At 10:39 AM, Blogger ottlib said...

You consider those decisions to be significant? Ok lets look at one. The China thing was a good decision made bad by his engaging in grandstanding at its worst. Of course they have been spying on us and it makes perfect sense to take measures to reduce the damage that would be caused by it. However, if you want those measures to be effective you do not advertize the fact you are taking them by making a freaking public announcement about it. What was accomplished by that? Well, the Chinese now know new measures are on their way and will develop counter-measures to get around them even before new measures are implemented. As well, and more importantly, we have alientated a country with a market of over 1 billion people and where the middle class grows by more than 20 million people per year. If we had any hope of breaking into that new market in the next little while it went out the window when Mr. Harper made his little announcement.

Someone with experience governing would have realized that sometimes a good decision is only a good decision if you do not try to take credit for it.

At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on Ottlib, you nailed it. Harper is a megalomaniac and he just can not let anyone else stand in the limelight, even for a second, to say something about or for Canada.
He was obviously home-schooled and never learned about "sharing."
His diplomatic ways are abysmal.
Canada deserves better.


Post a Comment

<< Home