A little over a month ago I went to Ottawa to attend and participate in the second annual Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Trade Show. From a business and conference viewpoint the trip went excellently. From the perspective of a political wonk on a first pilgrimage to Canada’s capital, the trip was very disappointing.
I have been fortunate enough to have travelled all over this great world. Despite my political involvement over the years though, I had simply never had the opportunity or reason to go to Ottawa. I was quite excited to see in person what I had only been able to see on television and in print as Parliament was indeed in session and there were breaks for me throughout the conference where I could go and observe proceedings in person.
The first large irritation that the Conservatives tossed at me was at the conference itself. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs John Duncan gave a speech to open the conference which is wholly appropriate in his role. What was completely inappropriate was Duncan going off in a tirade about how a carbon tax from the NDP would harm Canada’s economy. Duncan then mumbled off on an uninspired, canned speech about the importance of native business ventures in Canada, made a closing comment and left the conference. I had to fight to keep myself from jeering and booing with such a partisan and unrelated tangent being injected into what is otherwise a productive event.
During a conference break a day or two later, I popped by Parliament to take in a session of question period. Now I am not so naive as to have thought that it would be much different than what I have seen many times in person in the Alberta legislature or on TV federally. I know that no matter which party is in power that question period rarely has many answers. I do enjoy good verbal sparring with some political points being made though and understand that this can get rowdy. To my disappointment there were no clever exchanges at all. The Harper government used member’s statements to go on about an NDP carbon tax and then answered pretty much every question by railing about a pending NDP carbon tax no matter what the question was.
Harper’s government that day in question period almost managed to make Alison Redford’s PCs look open and transparent!
Few things can annoy a dedicated idealist like me more than government arrogance and a full focus only on retaining power as opposed to addressing important issues. I am not sure what crappy focus group determined that obsessive focus on an apparent carbon tax conspiracy by the NDP would be a good strategy for the government but it is past time to cut it out.
Jamming omnibus bills through Parliament is another sign of a lazy and arrogant government. Those assholes are paid and expected to spend time deliberating and debating legislation in parliament. It is nothing less than a dereliction of duty to take the omnibus route rather than let legislation stand independently on it’s own merit for the deliberation of the house. Harper is supposed to be better than this. We worked hard to put him there to be better than this and it is getting disappointing.
Last night Joan Crockatt narrowly won what should have been a cakewalk of a by-election in Calgary. Droves of Conservative voters stayed home and many others actually went Green as they wanted to make a safe statement and were still way too Albertan to vote for the anti-Alberta Liberals. The question now is; did Stephen Harper get the message?
I am happy that Crockatt won. Despite the vitriolic attempts by other candidates and their supporters to demonize Crockatt (even our grossly overrated mayor jumped on the dogpile), I know that Crockatt is bright, principled and will serve Calgary Centre well. I am even happier that the win was a narrow, nailbiting one. I hope Joan takes the message to the Conservative Party that support for the party is waning fast and they had better wake up!
Were it not for the ongoing anti-Alberta gaffes by the Liberal Party and the very negative Green campaign putting Calgary voters off, I think we would have seen a Liberal MP in Calgary. Conservatives are not supposed to win in Calgary based on being the least of the evils!
We have a few more years until the next federal election. I really hope that I do not need to seek a new option to support. I know there are some great MPs in the Conservative Party and I think my own MP Michelle Rempel is awesome with some tremendous potential in the future. No matter how strong my local MP is though, I will not be able to find it in myself to support her in the next election if her party continues on this path of introversion and arrogance.
I am sure hoping to see things change and soon. It takes a lot to knock me off a party of choice but lately the Harper Conservatives are working hard to do it.
Ask Kim Campbell what happens when Albertans feel taken for granted by a Conservative government.