Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Harper Wins Win-Win Scenario

Stephen Harper is not a tactical genius, but he did pull off a tactical victory in this whole UN mess. Really, he couldn't lose. If he had gotten a seat at the security council it's a diplomatic feather in his cap. Canada's at the big boys table etc. etc. However, he always had the other side to play. The UN is not a very popular organization among the core of the Conservative Party. It's even less popular with the pro-Israel wing of the Conservative party who view it as a fundamentally anti-Israeli, pro-Palestinian organization because of the numbers the Muslim world can bring to bear at the General Assembly and other UN bodies. Harper couched his withdrawal by making it about Israel.

I don't think he expected to have to force the issue as much as he did by conjuring up some story about deepening and expanding the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). However, it did the trick. Harper comes off to his base as 'a friend of Israel who wasn't willing to sell himself to the evil UN just to win a seat at the ineffective Security Council'. Of course, Harper already made nice with most of the same Muslim leaders when he was still trying to win the seat, meeting with leaders like Pres. Abbas, but pay that no mind.

What really gets my goat professionally is seeing him talk about expanding free trade after allowing the Colombian and Jordanian FTA's to die not once but twice on the order paper. All those wonderful things they were telling that we're getting out of CIFTA we could be getting out of trade with those two countries as well. Harper, of course, preferred to prorogue parliament than do something good for the country. CIFTA, of course, was brought in by Jean Chretien's government back in the mid-90's. It was deepened slightly in the last years of Chretien's government. How exactly you make it any deeper is anyone's guess. There are some goods that it could probably apply to in each country that are currently not on the list but this is not a weak FTA. There's not a lot of room for big economic gains there... at least without touching the agricultural sacred cow... all puns intended.


Anonymous said...

Bull. I tend to not believe in a win-win scenario on principle but even less so in this case. In order for this to be a true win-win scenario he'd have to have no outcome where on balance he comes out worse then going in... while there is a significant part of his base that is inherently mistrustful of international institutions he has those people essentially "locked up"... he can not "win" those peoples support because he already had them.

On the flip side he could lose the support of swing voters for whom Canada's standing in the world is an issue.

Winning is always preferable to losing and Harper lost this.

Anonymous said...

Win win? Please. When you pursue a seat and don't manage expectations for defeat, you are seen to be wanting it.

This is yet another failure by the Harper machine.

CanadianSense said...

Interesting analysis. I would agree that the UN seat was a divisive issue for the CPC.

I believe the Liberals made a significant misstep that will be used against them.

Bob Rae, Martha Hall Findley tried to do damage control but it was too late regarding the statements of Ignatieff.

The timing of expanded trade with Israel, UAE may have been coincidences just before the vote.

The usual suspects in the media will pile on and suggest the PM and not Canada is going to wear it.

China, India trade numbers have been growing since CPC won in 2006.

Our dollar is not trading at at 30% discount to the US to keep our trade high.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone spend as much time trolling the Blogging Tories as CanadianSense spends trolling Liberal/Progressive blogs? Seriously, who has that much time on their hands?

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