Yes, it’s the constantly threatening hidden agenda!
What does Stephen Harper want to do with his parliamentary majority? “I want to make sure that we use it,” he told CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme in a year-end interview. “You know, I’ve seen too many majority governments, the bureaucracy talks them into going to sleep for three years, and then they all of a sudden realize they’re close to an election.”
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You don’t have to like this list. I’m not saying Harper’s predecessors were heroes. I am saying they were not sleeping. If the Prime Minister’s comments have any meaning, he must have something up his sleeve at least as big as those accomplishments. If he doesn’t, he won’t be the first politician to congratulate himself for his achievements before he fails to achieve them.
His interviews suggest Harper plans something big. Four times during his CTV interview, and once with the Chinese-language Fairchild network, he used the adjective “major” to describe his plans for 2012.
[. . .]
It’s striking how rarely Harper sounds bold when any discussion descends from slogans to details. Take foreign policy. On Syria, he pleads the lack of a Security Council resolution. On Egypt: “We’ll try and do what we can do to encourage stability and encourage the forces of democracy, but we don’t go into these things blind. There are some very real risks.”
A policy of bold action only where success is assured is a policy of offering help where none is needed. It is a bold decision to join others’ victory parades. There is nothing major about it.
Incidentally, the bureaucrats I talk to aren’t plotting to put Harper to sleep. On the contrary. Many wonder whether this government will wake up. One of Ottawa’s most experienced civil servants tells me the widespread belief is that Harper’s government is so obsessed with each morning’s headlines that it cannot plan. This official predicts a year of high-level early retirements from the civil service if Harper does not start using his majority.