Monday, 23 July 2012

Stephen Harper: Not a Leader?

Is the stress of managing unelected Conservative
Senators just too much for Stephen Harper?

Image constructed by the Analyst using a screen shot
from "Stephen Harper's solution" ad.

Remember when Stephen Harper's opposition research team came up with the "Not a Leader" line against Stephane Dion? One ad fixated on Stephane Dion's trouble coming to an agreement with Liberals in the Senate over a term limit bill.

The ad seems to imply that Dion couldn't control his Liberal senators. Of course there was some quibbling over the term length between Dion and Harper. But the CON attack ad presented matters as if Dion just couldn't persuade his Senators to support the CON bill, rather than the reality that he partially disagreed with it. In doing so it implied that if a party leader couldn't successful whip Senators of their party into voting a certain way then they failed as leader.

As Prime Minister of Canada and Leader of the Conservative Party Harper has been stacking the Senate with fellow CONS and holding very few senate elections.  Term limits, of course, are on the top of the agenda (which, conveniently would allow him to stack the Senate more).

But now it looks like Conservative Senators may be divided & sowing disunity in their caucus when it comes to reforming  their workplace. Recently retired CON Senator W. David Angus publicly repudiated Harper's Senate reform approach, lamenting the possibility that it'd create a "mini-House of Commons". Yes, why have two Houses of Commons when you can do the job with one? 

This raises another question, though: How many other CON Senators - many of whom are wealthy, country club types who enjoy the job security and leisure of the office - work against Senate reform behind the scenes? How many CON Senators stand for selfish indulgence over principle? I'd guess quite a few given the ignominious history of the Senate. 

If Stephane Dion is not a leader for his alleged failure to control unelected Liberal Senators then what does that make Stephen Harper?

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