Saturday, November 10, 2007

What constitutes news?

I think Brian Mulroney will go down as one of Canada's better prime ministers - perhaps one of our best prime ministers. If he had done nothing more than NAFTA he should be honoured forever as one of the most effective governments of modern times. However, the current media circus around Schreiber's so-called revelations has cast a pall over the Harper government's relationship to Mulroney.

So what does Harper do? What we would expect based on previous Liberal history is obfuscation, avoidance, stonewalling. But that's not Steven's style. No - he announces an inquiry and he does it immediately. I like his style.

I said to Marilyn the morning after the Sask party victory that it is a sad commentary on our political process when it constitutes news that a politician does what he says he is going to do. At Wall's first press conference he announced that he is going to immediately introduce legislation to fix election dates in Sask. Now this should come as no surprise to any sentient being living in Saskatchewan. I wouldn't say it was a major campaign plank but it clearly was a commitment during the election. So the fact that he went ahead and did it shouldn't be news. It should be news if he didn't do it but our expectations from politicians have sunk so low that it now is news when a pol does what he says he is going to do.

Harper does what he says he is going to do too. He's going to reform the Senate, he's going to lower taxes, he's going to stay the course in Afghanistan, he's going to clean up government. So when there is an appearance of impropriety involving an old friend of his what does he do? He does the right thing. That shouldn't be news but at the sad low that our system has descended to it is news when a politician does the right thing.

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