Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is Gary Doer a patsy or is Stephen Harper just not that clever

Extending a rare olive branch across party lines, Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper was widely applauded Friday for his surprise choice of an NDP star as this country's new ambassador to Washington.
Forgive me if the timing of Gary Doer's appointment as ambassador isn't suspicious. Gary Doer was Premier of Manitoba during a period that saw increased Beaurocritization of the medical industry. Take the amount of WRHA offices in Winnipeg and hospital hour cutbacks at the same time. He was Premier during a period of time when a man who went to the hospital died after being transferred hospitals and waiting in a waiting room. The Swine Flu crisis hit Manitoba aboriginals the hardest for some reason, the NDP passed responsibility off of that to the federal government. But all the same that and many other things both reported and not have occured under his watch. There have been numerous MLA's responsible for the health care portfolio, but ultimately, it was a failure of his government to live up to a campaign promise over 10 years ago to end hallway medicine.

Now he's seemingly under increased scrutiny in Manitoba and his teflon is slowly peeling away, and lo and behold, all of a sudden Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs someone in the USA as an Ambassador. I'm not saying Gary Doer isn't a personable looking fellow, but right now in the USA the biggest issue is so called socialized medicine. With a masterstroke he has put Gary Doer in a position where journalists who actually do their job (moreso than in the city of Winnipeg anyways) can tear him down and he can't avoid their interviews or select who he wishes to talk to. If he wants to be heard, if he wants to defend his record and our medical system, he has to go on CNN and/or FOX News. Can he? Apparently he's a great interview. However I've never heard anyone ask him any tough questions.

So did Stephen Harper set this up on purpose? He looks good because he's appointing someone from the dreaded NDP to a post. He eliminates the leader of a provincial party that is being held together mostly due to its leaders personality, in the same way the Liberals were. There will undoubtedly be leaks, if not floods as soon as his replacement is appointed, leaving a potential conservative party to gain heavily provincially and splitting the vote in Manitoba between Liberals and Conservatives.

Completely ridiculous and baseless prophecy or eerily and chillingly possible scenario? It depends on how smart you think Stephen Harper is. I may not agree with him on everything, but he has played this minority government pretty well and is still in charge despite the fact that a majority of Canadians seem to find his party's policies distasteful.

Maybe Doer thought being Ambassador would be a nice line to add to his resume and he could build many contacts. But Michael Wilson the outgoing Ambassador doesn't think its an easy job. Still, it'll at least be interesting to see what happens, wont it?

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