John Snobelen, Sun Media
I expect big things from Canadaís 41st Parliament. Apparently most people donít.
We have learned politicians pontificate loudly about things that really donít matter while avoiding the tough issues.
Take the funding of political parties. Of late much has been made of the audacious notion politicians should actually raise their own money. An idea made less extreme by the continuance of generous tax benefits for political donations.
This is, according to interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Leader Jack Layton, the end of democracy.
To most Canadians it is an almost pointless debate about something that does not really matter. Or consider the moral outrage over the appointment of failed Conservative candidates to Canadaís grand house of slumber, the Senate. This was, according to the opposition, shocking news. If only. Canadians have grown weary of the appointment of political hacks from every party to an institution most regard as a total waste of rations.
But heck, thatís politics.
Given recent history, a prudent observer would not expect much of the 41st Parliament. We should all be prepared for four years of fake outrage, exaggerated concerns and moral indignation about minutia while the government dissolves further into the abyss of irrelevance.
But I expect big things from the 41st Parliament.
I have confidence in the heart of this government. I worked closely with John Baird, Tony Clement and Jim Flaherty for almost a decade. I know my local members Lisa Raitt and Michael Chong well. New MPs Stella Ambler and Brad Butt have been friends of mine for years.
These are good people. They know all about politics. They know about party unity and wedge issues and elections. But they each sought office to help build a better Canada. And that is the basis of my optimism for the next four years.
Someday someone is going to have to tackle the real underlying problems in Canada.
Problems such as the Indian Act. Aboriginal Canadians are second-class citizens. This despite the expenditure of billions, the efforts of a huge bureaucracy and the intentions of all Canadians. What we all want is simple; one level of citizenship, one form of justice and an equal opportunity for everyone. Someone needs to deliver on our intentions.
Someone needs to negotiate a constitution the people of Quebec can sign on to.
Someone needs to change the national health-care system.
Someone needs to bring fresh thinking and a national approach to education and research.
Someone needs to create a 21st century energy policy.
That someone is Stephen Harper.
Through five long years of minority rule, Harper has proven he is a brilliant tactician. He is the most capable politician of his generation. Now he needs to prove he is a leader.
Harper and his cabinet and caucus are standing at a point of demarcation. This is the moment when they must decide whether to tackle the big, tough, divisive issues that really matter or stay on the safe ground of attending endless ribbon cuttings for new and improved hockey arenas across Canada.
I am counting on them to go big.
The Clement, Flaherty and Baird I know are not small people afraid to tackle big issues. This is their time.
So, while some might think Iím dreaming, I expect big things from the 41st Parliament.
ó Snobelen is a former Ontario Conservative MPP
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre
Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Mr. Harper has allready, while in a
minority government, failed to comply with court orders and subjected Canadian
Citizens to political filters to determine or ignore their legal rights.
Its that kind of history of legal delinquency, that makes it a joke to suggest that the power is not going to go to his head.
We are now subject to the power of a majority government whose foundation is Republican dogma that more often than not is about appearances, about good politics that is also too frequently bad policy or without any consideration of the prejudice of their political decisions.
Mr. Harper has failed to open his mouth on the single biggest issue , the most important decision in Canada, the rights of Canadian Children to have a Legal Presumption of Equal Parenting.
If Mr. Harper wants to find 100 Billion or more for his "special projects", all he needs to do is end the Legal Cartel's 100 Billion extortion of money in the farce called Family Law that is in dire need of a massive reform.