Back at ‘ya, Harper

Stop Everything
Rebecca McNeil

October 9, 2009

I have spent the past year trying to follow the antics of the big players on Parliament Hill, and this weekend just threw another wrench in the drama that is becoming Canadian politics. Over the past year we have watched the Liberals change leaders from a boy scout to an assertive “foreigner”, the NDP go from the biggest denouncers of Harper to backing them in a confidence motion, and watched Harper move the Conservatives slowly but surely from far right to right of centre – not a small step in the world of Conservative Party politics.

In an October 1st editorial Globe and Mail writer Michael Bliss announced that “In a historic shift, the Tories have seized the centre and are set to become the natural governing party.” I assume if you have time to read this blog you’ve likely already scoured the daily papers so this won’t require a full explanation, but it is becoming increasingly evident that Harper will be our leader through the rest of this year. This means he’s our guy for the international climate change decisions this year, and we are going to have to find a way to make sure that strong climate change policies and action makes it onto his agenda.

The good news is that with a government turning increasingly to the centre, they are backing a lot of issues on would not have normally have been supportive. Take Employment Insurance. Harper has taken an uncharacteristic stance to secure his Party’s position as leader of this country, and the NDP in turn propped up his government as a big ol’ thank you. Call it opportunistic, but it gives me some comfort to think that in the midst of achieving his own priorities our Prime Minister is able to adopt policies that will actually end up supporting Canadians.

In this hopeful vein, myself and several thousand other people will be heading to Parliament on October 24th, to “fill the hill” and let the Prime Minister know we are serious about taking action on climate change, and want him to be as well when he attends the international talks in Copenhagen this December. We don’t have many shots to get it right, and neither does Harper.

As the Prime Minister belted out this weekend that he gets by with a little help from his friends, I think we were all curious if there was some sort of symbolic message with the choice of song. I’ll be the first to admit I sort of loved watching his literal song and dance. But a quick piece of advice, Mr. Harper: if you want more friends, making decisions that won’t condemn our country to a life of natural disasters, drought, disease and possible extinction, will make you a very popular guy. And a rendition of Mean Mr. Mustard couldn’t hurt either.

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