Sunday, March 13, 2011

DEMOCRACY 2011

Don’t want to be obsessive about federal politics but the announcements yesterday that three members of the federal tory caucus are pulling the plug raises all sorts of interesting questions. Former sea-doo star and now Treasury Board President Stockwell Day, Transport Minister Chuck Strahl and a third BC MP John Cummins all announced they will not be offering in the coming election. Makes four when you count the earlier departure of Environment Minister Jim Prentice who was once considered to be a possible successor to Stephen Harper.

The unanswered question at the moment is whether Day and Strahl will resign from cabinet or ride it out until the election is called. Both are far past the point of having earned their pension-reward-points, so it doesn’t make much difference if they stay in cabinet or go. They’ll be on the pension gravy train for the rest of their lives.

There’s always rampant speculation when senior ministers pull out of government and the consensus in the national media, at least, is that Harper is clearing the decks in anticipation of the election call. One thing for certain, having two senior cabinet jobs possibly opening very soon will have lotsa cabinet-wannabes toeing the party line more carefully than you can imagine. Getting into cabinet in Harper’s world is a pretty easy ride … keep your head down, don’t talk to the press, have nothing to say that hasn’t been approved by the PMO and you’re on easy street with the salary and limo that goes with it. Just don’t have a meltdown in the Charlottetown airport and you’re doing fine.

Another unanswered question is whether Harper will wait for the budget or some other possible opposition non-confidence motion or whether he’ll sashay across the street to see his buddy the new GG Dave Johnston and get Davey-boy to pull the plug on this edition of democracy-in-action. Strikes me as fascinating when a petulant prime minister can shut down government because he’s unhappy. But that’s DEMOCRACY 2011 in Canada, the true north, strong and free.

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