Wednesday, January 24, 2007

For one day anyways, it's good to be Stephen Harper.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper celebrated the one year anniversary of his election as Prime Minister of Canada on Tuesday, running through the accomplishments that he feels his party has achieved in the last 365 days and delivering a patriotic address about Canada, Canadians and our place on the world stage.

His laundry list of accomplishments isn't exactly the thing of days of decision, unless tax credits and Accountability legislation are the things that get you all pumped up. Still missing is any real grand vision of where a Conservative Government may wish to take us, though to be fair he is rather limited with his current minority government situation.

As he leads his government into its second year, he provided some thoughts on what the main issues for his government will be in 2007. Democratic reform, safer streets, the environment, the economy and being a force for good on the world stage are all things we can expect to be hearing more of as the year progresses.

While his tenure as PM may be a short lived thing, depending on the election drum beats slowly starting to be heard in Ottawa, he had a pretty good day of it Tuesday, free to deliver his speech to a purely partisan crowd at a Downtown Ottawa hotel.

Needless to say the birthday cards weren't pouring in from the opposition benches, who may not be quite ready yet to pull the rug out from under his government, but surely are tugging at it's edges just to be sure of where to grip when the time does arrive to send Canadians back to the polls. In effect, they've put the Conservatives on notice, that year number two won't be quite as easy a ride as year number one turned out to be.

Every celebration however, requires a gift and there was one inadvertent present provided to the Prime Minister, that of the less than well thought out ramblings of France's socialist politician, Segolene Royal. Her unwelcome intervention of Monday to the endless Canadian national debate, gave the Prime Minister a chance to sound statesmanlike and tough all in the same sentence.

It's always a positive thing for a political leader to be able to hand out a stiff rebuke to a troublesome meddler, which Ms. Royal has suddenly and unexpectedly become. Harper's cautious comments probably don't even come close to the outrage that ordinary Canadians may have for her gaffe, such as this editorial from Hamilton highlights.

Harper of course has to be measured in his tone, but he already has the high ground on the issue and can only gain political advantage should he use it properly. Canadians may bicker and bitch at each other while in the family, but let an outsider jump into the debate and well, we wait for the blow back to hit hard and fast.

Madame Royal may just have been the best thing that could happen to Stephen Harper, she certainly helped to make his anniversary a memorable day!

No comments: