Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nowhere Man


Yesterday, I wrote that Stephen Harper's refusal to deal with Kathleen Wynne could have significant electoral consequences. Martin Regg Cohn writes that those consequences are being felt now with the alliance which Wynne has established with Quebec premier Philippe Couillard:

There’s a reason the Quebec-Ontario summit turned into a meeting of minds and ministers: Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard are simpatico both in style and substance.

Beyond the good will, there are good works on offer:

Ontario and Quebec signed an unprecedented deal to swap 500 megawatts of electricity during peak periods by way of bartering. They compared notes on climate change. And they celebrated Ontario’s francophone face in a way that touched, viscerally, the visiting French Quebecers.
At ground level, it is a federalist fantasy come true. Together, they are laying the groundwork for a Central Canadian axis of power (sharing) that is both political and electrical — with environmental and electoral benefits.

Harper's policy is to not attend meetings of the Council of the Federation. He claims he prefers to meet with premiers individually. But, in Wynne's case, he prefers not to meet at all:

On the eve of the Toronto summit, Harper delivered a bizarre snub to Wynne by refusing her overtures for a federal-provincial meeting. With her request unrequited, the spurned premier went public with their correspondence — pointedly asking why Canada’s biggest province, with 13 million people, can’t get federal face time.

Then she got down to business with Couillard — showing that where there is political will, there can be policy headway.

And that is the point. Mr. Harper lacks the political will to do all kinds of things. In fact, the only thing he wants to do is balance the budget. And, because he has chosen to remove himself from the stage, others will take his place. Cohn writes that there will soon be a third member of the alliance -- Alberta premier Jim Prentice.

Mr. Harper may indeed discover that he resides in Nowhere Land -- a real Nowhere Man.


Anonymous said...

A strong Ontario/Quebec make Western separation easier - super simple stuff.

Owen Gray said...

Only if you assume that East and West have few common interests, Anon.

If that were true, Canada would never have come into being.

rumleyfips said...

Anonymous makes a mistake believing that Ontario, or Quebec, or the west is an ideologically or politically monolithic. Voters from all parties are active in all provinces and party support varies from election to election.

At present , Harper is strong in Saskatchewan and Alberta but slipping everywhere else. This is a deliberate strategy on his part. Harper has pandered to his "Reform" base by bullying, punishing and insulting ever voter east of Winnipeg and west of the Rockies. The Atlantic accord put the boots to Nova Scotia. The abuse of Newfoundland let to ABC . He got PEI with fishing regulations and New Brunswickers were suffered punishment by UI. Quebec has been systematically insulted and abused to appease the rabid reform racist. Ontario has been financially shortchanged fo not voting for Tiny Tim. British Columbians are now getting the pipeline upshove for voting against Kinder Morgan.

The pandering to" his base " while alienating 80% of the population makes little sense. The base will always vote Reform :such policies will do little to attract the sensible middle and may drive some Red Tories into the arms of the socialist hordes. Dangling small change in front of those you have spent years demonizing may not be enough this time.

In my riding , Bill Casey had returned ; Nova Scotia may send only one sad Con back to Ottawa. I expect this pattern to continue all the way to Saskatchewan. I hope I am reading this right.

Owen Gray said...

I think you're on to something, rumley. Casey's return should serve has a signal to the Harperites.

But, caught up as they are in their vision of what the world should look like, thery have little room or patience for the truth of what the world is.

mogs moglio said...

Well hey Zeus it is upper and lower Canada and the beginning of confederation and unfortunately [but good for us] Stephen is on the wrong side of the 'fence' me personally am watching his demise with pleasure.


Anonymous said...

Most BC people despise Harper, as much as they hate Kinder Morgan.

The Campbell/Clark BC Liberals, have lied many times to the people of BC. Christy's lied and cheated to win her election too. Ditzy Christy and her promise of, 100,000 LNG jobs for the BC citizens, went like this.

(Petronas Press Release) Code-no British Columbia contractors, no BC labor. LNG plants will not be built in BC. Mainframe and modules will be built in S Korea.
Nov 21/2014

Grant always keeps us up to date, on Christy Clark and her cabals lies and deceit.

Askingtherightquestions said...

Another great post, Owen! What does Stephen Harper want for Canada? He certainly has shown NO leadership on Federal - Provincial relations (has any previous PM spent less time on this file?). Even Ontario's own elected CPC MP's are prone to 'dis the province (including the late Flaherty).

If Canadians allow him to "campaign" in 2015 like he has in past elections, he will fail to address these issues, and many more. He must be made to answer for HIS record in government and explain his decisions.

Owen Gray said...

At the moment, Asking, he's betting that Canadians will be so scared of terrorists -- within and without -- that he won't have to answer for what he's done.

Owen Gray said...

It appears that Clark will remain one of Harper's allies, Anon.

But, given what's happening on Burnaby Mountain, it would appear that the tide is turning against both Clark and Harper.

Owen Gray said...

The question is, Mogs: "If provincial premiers take on the prime minister, will that turn into an anti-Harper vote the next time around?"

mogs moglio said...

Hope so...