Sunday, January 23, 2011

Harper lowers expectations

In today's speech celebrating his five years as Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is reported to have said: “We are in this minority government. We haven’t been able to pass what we want to pass. But that doesn’t mean we have forgotten … there will be an elected senate and we will get rid of that wasteful, ineffective long-gun registry.”

As a wish-list for a future majority this is noteworthy for two reasons. First, it is surprisingly thin: senate reform and the gun registry are pretty small issues in an age where we have Canadian soldiers stationed overseas and a $56 billion dollar deficit.

The second reason is that, unlike the gun registry (which Harper could kill with a majority), an elected Senate is not. Even with a Parliamentary majority, true senate reform would require a constitutional amendment, and to get that, Harper would have to negotiate with the provinces, and there is no reason to think that this is in the cards.

Given that Senate Reform is impossible, is this all that Harper can offer in his majority? No gun control?