Thursday, July 13, 2006

Wells on Harper's five priorities shell game

Great column from Paul Wells in Maclean's this week. He points out that PM Steve has, on the fly, decided to replace his fifth priority, a wait times guarantee, with "strengthening our country at home and around the world" and just hoped nobody would notice the change. It's a must read.

When the going gets tough I guess Steve…changes the rules. Handy that. And Oceana has never been at war with Eurasia…

July 13, 2006
Stephen Harper's new game: Hide-the-Priority
What happened to establishing a wait-times guarantee? That promise has disappeared

This week's tale is really quite odd.
Harper is playing Hide-the-Priority. And he's being pretty clumsy about it.

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers


Karen said...

Thanks for this. I spotted the story earlier and sent it on to a Liberal radio talk show host, in Toronto. God they're rare!

I hope he uses it. He did point out that it is right out of the Rove play book. I wonder how long it is going to take for Canadians to see this tactic in the Conservative party. It's not's Rove, it's tactical and sadly it worked in the States.

The Frank Lutz talking points are also being empolyed. It makes me sad to see us following this vacuous debate in Canada. That's not to say we're better than our American friends, but we are different socially. I think that there is a failure on the right to see that....they're riding a wave...a small one.

Anonymous said...

Goes to prove when the Feds meddle in Provincial affairs, like health care, they can't guarantee anything.

Wait times are a provincial responsiblity. So far only Quebec has made the guarantee and they had to because of a court decision.

The Feds gave the provinces nearly $6 million to help with this - that is less than the provinces pay already in sending folks to the US and other provinces.

Anonymous said...

Harold Hill and Elmer Gantry rolled into one. All the priorities are written in invisible ink... no costing estimates or actual ephemeral directive that could be truly considered a government 'in action', just feel-good panaceas that attract out-stretched hands. Imagine, maybe the headlines tomorrow will talk about hurricanes to hit Quebec, and suddenly the fourth priority becomes doubling home owner grants for people in trailer parks...

Jeff said...

I knew this was a political minefield for Harper when he first mentioned his wait times guarantee in the campaign.

As mentioned Paul Martin threw a wack of money at this (I think it was billions, not millions) but this really is a provincial area with limited federal ability to influence or require reform. It's not just a money issue. There's also a huge technological and structural problem of defining common definitions for procedures accross juridstictions, creating common formula to rate people's priority so they can be fairly placed at the right place on the wait list.

We don't even have the ability yet to effectivly say what wait times actually are, so a magic wand can't be waved to lower them.

Making a guarantee was silly and uninformed political posturing that is impossible to follow through on. Steve is right to back away from it, but trying to pretend he never made the promise is foolish and insulting in the extreme. Be a man, and expalin to us why you can't do it yet, but explain how you're working to get there down the road.