Thursday, December 14, 2006

So much to talk about, so little time

Stephen Harper's Senate proposal: The usual suspects have come out for and against this proposal so there is not much else to say in that sense. Although I am somewhat surprised that many Harper fans in the media have panned his ideas.

What I find more interesting about all of this is how far the expectations of the Reformers have fallen in the last 15 years. There was a time when Mr. Harper's proposal would have been met with hoots of derision from the Reform crowd because it is not a Triple-E proposal. Hell, it is not even a single E proposal. I guess it just goes to show that even the highly principled Reformers can sell out for power, just like they have been accusing Liberals of doing for over a decade.

Same Sex Marriage Debate and Vote: What a fucking joke that was. I wonder if Mr. Harper can now count on the social conservatives to bother voting in the next election. If not, it probably will not hurt him in the West but it will cost him some seats in rural Ontario.

Upcoming cabinet shuffle: If the rumours are true it sounds like it is going to be a major one. I wonder if the Canadian punditocrasy will pick up on the fact that the government had to do major renovations to its cabinet less than a year after it was sworn in? That my not be unprecedented but it is very uncommon and it is a good indicator of the incompetence of the Conservatives government ministers.

Gilles Duceppe's threat to topple government over Afghanistan: Contrary to conventional wisdom this move is not directed at the Liberals, not even indirectly. The Liberals hit there nadir in the last election in Quebec. The seats they won are all Liberal strongholds that they did not lose even though they were killed by the sponsorship scandal. Gilles Duceppe knows he will not get those seats this time now that the anger over adscam has dissipated. No, his real target are the seats held by the Conservatives. The Conservatives and the Bloc are going after the same voters, soft nationalists, and Mr. Duceppe realizes that the Afghan war is very unpopular with that segment of Quebec society. So by highlighting the war now, and pointing out the Royal 22nd Regiment will soon by deployed to the war zone, he further separates them from the Conservatives. Rather clever really.

Iran holds a Holocaust denial conference: This was met with universal condemnation in the West but the President of Iran does not care because that was not the audience he was targeting. He was talking to the disenchanted Muslims in the Middle East and they ate up his message. With the destruction of Iraq, the marginalization of Syria and the indifference of Egypt, Iran has an opportunity to substantially increase its influence in the Middle East and this little conference was part of the strategy to exploit that opportunity. It probably worked.

Huge anti-government demonstrations in Beirut: Hezbollah managed to get over a hundred thousand demonstrators out against the Lebanese government and keep them out for a better part of a week. Many of those demonstrators were not members of Hezbollah and until about 5 months ago they did not trust them. I don't know how this will play out but if the Lebanese government has to give into Hezbollah's demands I hope its leadership will have the decency to acknowledge the service the Israeli PM and the IDF did it last summer.

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