Thursday, July 22, 2010

Harper Government Now Operating From Crisis to Crisis

During the prorogation near catastrophe for the Harper government, insiders claimed that the decision to prorogue came from Stephen Harper's chief of staff Guy Giorno.

Apparently Harper himself only wanted to break for 10 days but Giorno convinced him that they could do far more damage if they had 2 1/2 months without the annoying opposition telling them that Canadians simply don't want this.

We also learned from John Ivison in his 'Judging Giorno" that the man was responsible for trying to end voter subsidies, the budget, the Canada Action Plan, refusing to hand over unredacted documents, the spending of tens of millions of dollars on signs and TV ads, leaving out abortion from maternal health, and pretty much every bad decision since he first joined the PMO in May of 2008.

But what also came out of the article was that their government is now operating from "crisis to crisis". And these crises are self inflicted. So was it Giorno who suggested that Harper end the census long form? Is he afraid of what the results will be after his (mis)handling of Stephen Harper?

And like any other crisis, the Harperites are trying to use the same old tired talking points to justify what they are doing. And like any other crisis, Stephen Harper is not going to handle it. He will allow everyone else to fight his battles. Some leader, huh?

The head of Stats Canada has resigned over the issue:
The embattled head of Statistics Canada has resigned over the Harper government's plan to scrap the mandatory long-form census, saying the replacement they propose for this will not work. In a letter on StatsCan website, Munir Sheikh refused to say what advice he gave the Conservatives when they asked him to make these changes. But he made it clear he cannot accept the scheme the Tories say is a perfectly adequate replacement for a compulsory long-form questionnaire.

"I want to take this opportunity to comment on a technical statistical issue which has become the subject of media discussion," Mr. Sheikh wrote. "This relates to the question of whether a voluntary survey can become a substitute for a mandatory census. It cannot," he said. "Under the circumstances, I have tendered my resignation to the prime minister."
The Globe provides a bit of analysis on how scrapping the mandatory long form will affect Canadians:
Abandoning the mandatory long form of the census will have ripple effects on Canadians because so many decisions are based on information leaned from it, critics of the change say. They argue that the voluntary system would introduce bias and reduce the reliability of data collected about individual neighbourhoods, wreaking havoc with local planning, experts say.

This could very well cost Harper votes in Quebec:
The Conservative’s plan to get rid of the mandatory long-form version of the census questionnaire has not gone over well at all in Quebec. A Presse Canadienne story published last Thursday declared that the Quebec government is “resolutely against” scrapping the long-form census. The article quoted Quebec Culture Minister Christine St-Pierre, who said she was “having difficulty understanding” why the government would do away with such “an essential tool” for researchers and policy-makers.
The problem of course is that Giorno will look at this situation as he does all others. How it will affect the polls and not how it will affect the country.

When Girono was making all of the horrible decisions for the Mike Harris government of Ontario, he earned the nickname Rasputin. And just as that "mad monk" helped to discredit the tsarist government, leading to the fall of the Romanov dynasty, Girono could very well cause the collapse the Harper regime.

Maybe we'll end up owing him a debt of gratitude after all.


  1. Excellent, thought-provoking post.

  2. I predict the Conservatives will not win any seats in Quebec in the next federal election, primarily due to the difference in opinion of religion and EI changes (a loss of five seats plus the three seats being added).