Little Fish in a Giant pond

Sunday, November 11, 2007

He Who Lives by the Sword...

Even though he is ahead in the polls, Prime Minister Harper is not looking so cocky these days as he once was. It appears that the man who rode into power by crucifying Paul Martin for a scandal he had nothing to do with, is now about to see a little bit of the same storm blow back his way.

Yes it appears that after a week of attacks from the opposition, the Prime Minister has decided to commission an independent probe into the allegations that the former Progressive-Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney received payments from Karlheinz Schreiber. This of course comes only a week after the PM completely ruled out the possibility of declaring an inquiry. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what, if any differences exist between an "independent probe" and a "judicial inquiry", but this sounds like yet another dramatic reversal of position from the same man who criticizes Stéphane Dion because in his opinion, he is "not a leader".

Politically speaking, the big question that this raises is not so much whether or not Mulroney is guilty of any wrongdoing, but rather whether or not this will impact Harper in the polls. After all, the fact that he was not Prime Minister while all of the sponsorship scandal activities were occurring, did not seem to help Paul Martin very much (in fact being cleared by Gomery didn't even seem to help Martin out). So would it really matter that the alleged payments to Mulroney might have been made over a decade before Harper came to power matter? Only time will tell.

In Martin's case, there was also the question of proximity, as he had been a member of Chrétien's cabinet. But then, Prime Minister Mulroney is a former mentor of Harper's. In fact as the above article states, the latter has worked hard to reform the image of the former. Will this come into play at all?

When coupled with the election spending problems that the Conservatives are having with Elections Canada, this issue might have the power to have a seriously negative impact on the governing party in the polls. After all, given that they rose (barely) to power on the basis that they would end corruption, and now have to defend themselves from multiple allegations of corruption, they are particularly vulnerable.

The problem for us Liberals? Even if these allegations do stick to Prime Minister Harper, the electorate isn’t likely to vote for either party that they perceive to be corrupt. They will vote for other parties, or they will just plain stay home or at work on Election Day.

4 Comments:

  • I think that Harper is just as sneaky as he ever was. He knows how to act to appease the people. Do you really think he is worried about Mulroney. He is worried about himself and it looked to me it was his ass he was saving.

    By Anonymous elspeth, at 8:16 PM  

  • Actually I don't think he ran on the platform of Martin being a loser, more of a Liberal Party can't be trusted and needs a time out until it's only new blood in the party. and so far it's still the same old libs but with some strange bedfellows, Bob Rae? seriously people? Im Liberal but the Liberal party isn't.

    By Anonymous Manuel, at 10:21 PM  

  • A scandal that "Martin had nothing to do with"? Well, that it constitutes a scandal is one thing, but that Martin was or not aware of irregularities in the Québec wing of liberal party financing, I find it difficult to say he wasn't. But hey, that's neither here or there these days. The liberals have done much to rectify its less transparent practices, and to the credit of the Canadian political system as a whole, they have (through their blood) shown the example that other parties will be hard-pressed to follow. It would be interesting to probe into the Canadian Alliance/Conservative books, or the NDP records, for that matter.

    What will be of direct relevance to Harper's fate in Schreiber-gate will be his knowledgde of that letter sent to him by the pen of our infamous german businessman. Having worked in a Minister's office, and knowing how ministerial correspondence works, I find that denying knowledge of the letter is not a very credible rebuttal. http://www.matin.qc.ca/articles/20071112182944/schreibermulroney_une_lettre_importante_navait_pas_ete_transmise_stephen_harper.html

    By Blogger Bronson Borst, at 4:11 PM  

  • Well, like you say Bronson, Martin's involvement is neither here nor there these days. Can we at least agree that at this time it has not been proven that he was involved?

    Having read the article you attached, I too think it will be difficult to excuse Harper based on his denial that it ever made it to him. From its description, it sounds like something that a ministerial assistant would have little trouble discerning to be of importance that should be passed up the ladder. So even if it never made it to the PM, it begs the question as to what kind of filters Mr. Harper is using to protect himself.

    By Blogger Fish, at 8:05 AM  

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