Monday, October 23, 2006

Fortier est un poulet

If I were a Conservative, I would be praying to my higher power that my party remains in government forever. These latest by-election calls in the middle of another political party's leadership race is only the latest example of Harper and Co. ignoring the bounds of political convention and fair play that all sides have lived by since before confederation.

But hey, as they say, what goes around comes around. Of more interest to me right now is the empty Quebec seat in the Montreal area, Repentigny, and who will not be contesting it: Senator and Minister of Public Works Michael Fortier.

Since the day he was sworn in Harper's gang seems to have replaced the accountability plank they campaigned-on with arrogance. Because while there has been absolutely no sign of accountability from "Canada's New Government" the arrogance has been evident in abundance from Day One.

How else do you explain Harper's decision to take a Conservative party fundraiser who has never held public office, appoint him to one of the most politically sensitive cabinet posts there is, AND appoint him to the Senate where he can't face any questions (and be accountable) from the elected representatives of the people?

Particularly after you repeatedly promised to hold elections for all senate spots and not make appointments any longer, AND after Harper made this promise to a Radio Canada audience mere weeks earlier, during the campaign:

…but I say you need to be elected to the Parliament of Canada to become a minister.


How did Harper try to explain away this blatant double flip-flop? Well, he needed representation in Montreal since, for some crazy reason, Montreal didn't elect any Conservatives. He knew Michael (bagman and party leaders are usually tight), thought he was a great guy, and so he gave him the job.

But if Michael really kicked so much ass why didn't he run for election in the first place? Surely if he's so awesome he'd have won easily? Michael had the answer for that: he had better things to do. Democracy is sooo tiring.

A day after his surprise appointment as minister of public works and government services in Ottawa, Fortier told reporters: "I didn't run in the election because I didn't want to run in the election."


There you go. He didn't want to, so piss off. Never mind accountability, this guy is the poster child for the Conservative culture of entitlement.

So, now that there is an empty seat in the Montreal area is Fortier going to resign his comfortable seat in the plush Red Chamber and face the people in an election to put a stamp of democracy and legitimacy on his undemocratic appointment, and introduce a little accountability into this Conservative government?

The answer, unsurprisingly, is an emphatic Non. This riding is a BQ stronghold. Fortier would probably get smacked, so accountability is being delayed a little longer. Plus, if you asked him, he'd probably say something like he's not running because he doesn't want to run.

Not to mention the fact the impact of a prominent cabinet minister getting beat when a general election is likely six-ish months away would be a big blow for the government. So instead, quelle surprise, political expediency wins the day. I guess that's accountability, Conservative style.

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5 comments:

Olaf said...

Jeff,

I don't quite get it either... like what's so special about Fortier that would necessitate him being in Cabinet, despite how bad it looks and how wide open it leaves the government to rabid critics such as yourself (rabid you are!).

I mean, sure, he lives in the Montreal area, but it's not as if they feel particularly well represented by an unelected Senator.

That being said, the sin was in appointing him, not in Michel (as I call him) running in this by-election. I mean, you can't really expect him to run in an election he'd be crushed in. Next general election he'll have to run, but can run in the riding of his choice... but I mean since I disagree with the original appointment, I can't quite defend the non-run. Whatever, I've confused myself here.

Point is it was a dumb move to appoint him with no apparent benefit to the party (as far as I can see), but I don't really see his non-run as compounding the original mistake much.

Werner Patels said...

Harper would go on about honesty and accountability, but as Canadians have found out now, Harper is the most dishonest and most secretive PM we have had. I'll celebrate the day he becomes a little footnote in our history books - and trust me: he'll matter less in the history books than even Kim Campbell.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Olaf, I think he'd be crushed in a general election too, and he still hasn't picked a riding to run in yet. He's just said he'll run in the Montreal area, and this is a Montreal riding that's open. Why shouldn't he run now? In the past, whever someone unelected has been appointed to cabinet they have ran in the next available election. His appointment needs to be ratified by the people. Does the non-run now compound the initial mistake? No, but it does hilight it, reinforces the arrogance and contempt for the democratic process behind the initial decision, and gives the rabid critics like myself another chance to tee off.

Olaf said...

Jeff,

He's just said he'll run in the Montreal area, and this is a Montreal riding that's open. Why shouldn't he run now?

As we all know, there are discernable differences in the concentration of federalists and seperatists in different areas in and around montreal (I actually don't know this, but I'm assuming and hoping I'm right). So that's a good reason not to run, in that he would literally have no chance, as opposed to if it was a Liberal riding, where at least he was dealing with federalists.

Does the non-run now compound the initial mistake? No, but it does hilight it, reinforces the arrogance and contempt for the democratic process behind the initial decision, and gives the rabid critics like myself another chance to tee off.

It certainly does that! And, if I may be so bold, of all the rabid critics, you're one of the best at teeing off when the ball is placed on the tee for you.

burlivespipe said...

It's the arrogance of the original sin, as olaf said, that remains the most glaring. But I too see how this is like some pissant needling and obfuscation that, because of the original lie, isn't a lie but just a mean-spirited taunt. The accountability went out the window, just as it did with Emersin's quick conversion. Fortier is eyeing Pettigrew's riding, I heard, but will be soundly thumped there to, with relish. He remains la creme de la creme of the Arrogant Tory Crew, and it is all downhill from there.
Perhaps in the end he'll take Emersin's option and avoid the electorate all together -- that is if the So-Cons' focus groups don't pump him up a bit.