In his recent article in the Macleans, Paul Wells shows how much of what Harper does is in secret, like eliminating state run child care in favour of per child benefits, is changing Canada. He is facing little opposition on many of these issues, the opposition and the media entranced by continual election speculation and stimulus package outrages.
While these are undoubtedly important, the changes that Harper is effecting are important, and as Paul Wells describes it, "threaten the social union of the country". This includes acts like his lack of interest in higher education and the diminishing role of the health and intergovernmental affairs ministers.
Instead Harper is pushing for a stronger national market, with an effort to prove the federal government's authority in establishing a national securities regulator, and with negotiations with the European Union on establishing free trade. Not necessarily all bad in themselves.
However, Harper is operating in near secrecy. Last Friday afternoon was when the government asked the Supreme court if it was allowed to establish a national securities regulator. Friday afternoons are not the time at which the press or the opposition parties, indeed the PM( who sits out Question Period along with Michael Ignatieff and the other leaders, are paying attention.
In this way Harper is seeking to avoid scrutiny. At the same time however, it behooves the opposition to pay more attention to the wide range of issues that the Harper government is addressing. They need to do so to, in a concerted manner and with contrasting policies, open debate on the actions of the government. If they do not, they are failing in their duty.
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