For those of us who know how neoconservatism and image politics work, we know that Stephen Harper is right where he is supposed to be. At a photo-op, while his minions take the fall for his horrendous decisions.
Dean Del Mastro, among others, is wearing the G-20 debacle by sabotaging committee hearings, using his trusty manual on how to sabotage committee hearings, while Tony Clement has been left to field opposition to the census firestorm.
However, it's interesting to learn that when it comes to the census form, Tony Clement actually disagrees with the decision made by Stephen Harper aka: the "boys in the backroom".
Last fall, Prime Minister Stephen Harper decided his government would oppose the mandatory long-form census. Since then, nothing has changed his mind. His right-wing ideology and political instinct combined to make a policy that’s being denounced by almost every leading institution and commentator in Canada. His decision was also opposed inside the government by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and by Industry Minister Tony Clement, who’s responsible for Statistics Canada, the agency that administers the census.
Both wrote to the Prime Minister, underscoring the importance of the mandatory long-form census to compile the most accurate statistics on which so much public policy and private-sector decision-making depends. The issue went back and forth inside the government, but, as with everything in Mr. Harper’s Ottawa, the Prime Minister decides. His is a government in which most ministers are reduced to silence ...
Tony Clement has become the faithful puppet, now being forced to defend, not very well I might add, a position that he doesn't agree with.
Things have come full circle for him, because under the premiership of Mike Harris in Ontario, all of the power was centralized to the office of the premier, while all decisions were made by the 'Whiz kids". Clement was in that circle. Now he's clearly out of it under Stephen Harper, despite the fact that the leader of both groups was and is Guy Giorno.
Mr. Clement, therefore, is driven to making up arguments that claim people are concerned about their privacy, but they don’t say so publicly. This shows the depths that a minister, himself a career politician, has to go to abase himself in order to keep his job and remain on the good side of the Boss.
Predictably, too, the Prime Minister’s Office has launched a counteroffensive, with nasty attacks on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. This reaction is utterly typical of Mr. Harper: When almost the entire country – the business community, the trade unions, the leading statisticians, editorialists, policy institutes, even the commissioner of official languages – is against you, forget substance and facts and just launch a furious partisan counterattack against your opponents.
Same old, same old.
When Giorno was with Mike Harris he was nicknamed Rasputin for the unprecedented control he had on Harris. But like Rasputin, he also contributed to the fall of the government.
Harris enjoyed playing dictator for awhile, but in the end he was forced to wear the devastating affects of the policies he had touted with the right amount of authority. Harper is enjoying being called a brilliant strategist, when everyone who knows the man, knows that he couldn't strategize himself out of a parking ticket.
He's just a mean, narcissistic little man, whose fall may not be engineered by the opposition or a growing disenchanted electorate, but by his own party, who are constantly being made handle the fallout from decisions they had no input into.