SURREY – Once more in this decade Canadians are faced with general elections, elections which will encourage them to choose between Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton as next Prime Minister of Canadian Federation. Past three mandates give that opportunity Stephen Harper to rule over 35 million people and to be Queen’s representative in everyday actions of the government. These elections are coming after historic vote in House of Commons which found “Harper’s government” in contempt of Parliament, this motion was forced by Official Opposition due to many ethical problems and scandals conducted by government in last two years since they got a right to form minority government.
Beside a fact that five people will be contestant in this race, only three of them are in the chance to earn a right to be pronounced as “The Right Honourable Prime Minister” in days after May 2nd this year. Incumbent PM Stephen Harper, Official Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP leader Jack Layton are the strongest and the most interesting contestants in next four or so weeks.
(Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff and Jack Layton – Photo: The National Post)
Longest serving minority Prime Minister in Canadian history is well known to our public by many good and bad things conducted by himself or his team in last few years. Harper is often described as cold, distant and out of touch with voters, colleagues or journalists whom are suffering a lot his unwillingness to answer on their questions in many important occasions. Insiders would occasionally say or write about him as over controlling Prime Minister who doesn’t allow his team members to speak or to communicate with public without his knowledge and already prepared answers well staged in a line with Prime Minister’s.
In the past we didn’t saw so many positive situations or actions conducted by Harper’s government but we can say success was saving Canada from bigger disaster during the last economic downturn. There were small or large glitches but economy was saved, and today slowly goes back to the previous condition without being in situation already seen in Greece, Portugal, Iceland or Ireland.
At the other side some of Harper’s actions on domestic and international scene were more troubling than others. Failures to do more on G8/G20 meetings hosted by Canada, losing a seat at United Nations Security Council for a first time in a decade or dispute with United Arab Emirates over commercial airplane landings on Canadian airports highly damaged Canadian image on international scene. That image is somehow improved during latest campaign against Libyan leader Gadhafi but not enough to be believed that Canada is one the world leaders in full.
Downturn of his third term started last year when he expelled from the Cabinet room and Conservative Caucus Helena Guergis accusing her to be part of her husband business and lobbying wrong doings. First blow in this affair come after RCMP’s decision to terminate all interest in this investigation, he never prove accusations against Mrs. Guergis. After that government was caught in wrongdoings regarding veteran medical documentation, Bev Oda’s doctoring of documents and at least not disclosing information’s regarding campaign finances and doings of his team. There is few more scandals as Carson’s case connected to this government but they still didn’t left any marks on her business and image, that could happen is Stephen Harper wins mandate to form new government after the elections in May.
Currently he threatens Canadians that if they don’t choose his Conservatives to continue rule that economy, jobs, military system and political system will be in grave danger. Man who first introduced possible coalition government in Canada todays threatens Canadians with possibility that Liberals and NDP will form coalition government. In my sincere opinion coalition is not a biggest problem to Canada. Problems are rising deficit, hiding costs of fighter jets and scandals conducted by Crown Ministers if he sincerely believes that Canadians should give power to his party then it would be expected from him to disclose all important information’s to the public and for once be open towards his voters and media regarding all issues.
World known scholar, journalist and political activist once student organizers to Pierre E. Trudeau’s campaign, spent a great portion of his adult life abroad building his career and professional background. Michael Ignatieff is indeed born under lucky star, at least in political way, carrying great ancestry of political, diplomatic and intellectual treasury from both family treas. In last few weeks we witnessed attacks on him and his family regarding his ancestry and their immigration life in Canada upon escaping October or Bolshevik revolution in Russia in 1917.
Many asked themselves is he sincere when he says Canada is his home and that he returned to Canada to work for its better future, accountable government and return to real Canadian values. Not long ago I read a biography of Pierre E. Trudeau by John English which quotes Trudeau’s interview with Ignatieff in 1992 stating following:
“In 1992 Trudeau told Michael Ignatieff, who had supported his campaign for leadership in 1968 that he had decided “not to make party option too soon”. Rather, he advised, you should complete your philosophical formation first because, “once you join a party, it’s hard to switch. You have the whole history of friendship and everything else.”
In this passage is probably hidden he’s absence from Canada in the past and that probably make him a strange bird in a political forest of Canada. Unknown leader of the Liberal Party comes from different world, rookie in political waters fights to become new leader of the Federation. I could say that he’s some sort of Trudeau who if gets a chance could become new great and famous Prime Minister, but there is a catch. Ignatieff will be forced to disclose himself in full during next few weeks if he wants to succeed Stephen Harper as a Queen’s Prime Minister and leader of the Majority. If he succeeds in that he could have chance to bring a government to Liberal hands. Few dozens of commentators believe that BC could be break point region were this elections will be decided and his advantage could be strong Federal Liberal team who helped Christy Clark to become 35th Premier of the province. This team could turn a water on his stone and start bringing results in favour, but without Ignatieff as strong leader and approachable person no one could be able to help him on the road towards Prime Minister’s office on the Parliament Hill.
In one element similar to Michael Ignatieff, in the other to Stephen Harper his main rivals in this prime ministerial rice of 2011 year. His father is well known and experienced Canadian politician often seen as popular and well versed in communication with public and voters, at the other hand he’s long term politician as it is Stephen Harper and tried in many previous occasion to reach Prime Minister office.
Layton’s historical “No” to the last budget presented by Jim Flaherty trigged these elections and forced Canadians to cast the ballots for fourth time in last seven years. In particular his care about seniors and wish to ensure them better future booked Harper’s government for defeat and lose of power in House of Commons, but also his support to no-confidence vote based on contempt of Parliament.
Warm and always easily approachable NDP leader is seen in last month as a great fighter on personal plan in his fight with cancer and hip surgery probably is not on the way to become Prime Minister but could be important in a days after May 2nd. Layton’s rhetoric is so-called socialistic and populist, potentially destructive and dangerous for Canada, what has a lot of impact on his political future and wellbeing at this moment.
Number of seats won by his NDP will give him a chance to decide rather will one or another party become Majority, coalition partner or minority supported government. That will give him great importance and wide range of possibilities to “bribe” rivals for his agenda. Even in this situation I would rather advise him to go in political retirement and leave a politics to younger and healthier politicians to fight hard battles, he had even more then enough of them on his account, and his legacy as NDP leader could be great.