Sunday, January 28, 2007

One step forward, one step back

While I'm obviously a Liberal partisan I always try to give credit to others where it's due, even when we're talking about the Harper Conservatives. I have to tell you though, Steve is making it really tough these days.

Take the Arar apology and settlement. A good thing, tarnished by Steve’s asinine decision to play politics with it.

And then there’s the porkbarelling around the Boeing procurement contract I’ve been blogging about. Un-elected Public Works Minister and appointed Senator Michael Fortier was threatening to use his unaccountable ministerial authority to delay the contract until Boeing agreed to move investment earmarked for other regions of Canada to Quebec. After all, he needs to get elected there eventually, doesn’t he?

Well, it seems Steve finally stepped in and told Fortier to smarten up. Market forces will determine where the $3.4 billion in investment goes, not Fortier:

A senior Conservative source added that Mr. Fortier was "hauled out on the carpet" at the cabinet committee meeting for his efforts to boost Quebec's share of the benefits.

"The view was that Fortier was getting too greedy," said the source, who added that the other senior Quebec minister on the file, Industry Canada's Maxime Bernier, has taken a pan-Canadian view.

So, good for Steve. He stepped in and did the right thing as the leader of the government, fulfilling his pan-Canadian responsibility to ALL of Canada, even if Fortier had forgotten that as a minister he had the same responsibility. And the government avoids a repeat of the CF-18 fiasco that saw the Mulroney government overlook a cheaper bid from a Manitoba company to give a maintenance contract to a Quebec firm, helping spur the creation of the Reform Party. The West was getting pissed off here again too:

Manitoba Premier Gary Doer criticized Mr. Fortier's position.

"His comment that 'I am not going to sign a contract,' well, no one died and made him prime minister. He is an unelected senator, swaggering around making inappropriate comments about matters that are in the dustbin of Mulroney
history," Mr. Doer told the Winnipeg Free Press this week.

But while I’d give Steve credit for stepping in and doing the right thing here, even if it did take awhile, here’s where he loses me and makes it one step forward, one step back:

The source added the government is trying to find a way "to help save Mr. Fortier's face," and that a number of proposals are still being considered to achieve the objective.

In other words, don’t worry Michael, we can’t let you divert this money to Quebec to help you get yourself elected, but we’ll find some other taxpayer dollars we can divert your way so you can show how good you are at bringing home the pork and buy yourself some votes. Classy.

The Reform Party is dead. Long live Mulroney II.

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Anonymous said...

I think the whole thing was rigged up to give Fortier a boost to quebeckers... Many (but not all) of the Cons supporters are like the Bushites in the US. No matter how inept or corrupt he is, they'll still back him.

Anonymous said...

Fortier will "save face" when he gets off his ass, resigns from the Senate and runs in a byelection.
In fact, one is soon on the way - Outrement.
Until that time, he is nobody.