Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vote on SSM -- Quoi...ici?

From Toronto to Ottawa to Vancouver, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has blown his windy promises to revisit same-sex marriage. Yet, this weekend in Québec, we were surprised to see that the main paper's review of his first 90 days had nothing -- rien, nada, nil, zip -- on the subject.

Instead, Le Soleil's analysis spoke of his speaking, his straight talk. In fact, the headline in the print edition was "Étrange mais, un succèss communicationion!"

Note: The article is in French only and becomes pay after April 29th.

The rest of the lead article was on how he might manage to hold onto his tenuous minority government with the help of Le Bloc Québécois. His ability to say what he is about seems as rare and welcome there as with politicians here.

He decidedly campaigned on the pledge for a free vote of members of Parliament -- no orders from their party leaders -- on whether to revisit SSM. Virtually no one expects success on this. Yet, he gained enough support from Tories and others to oust the long-term Liberal government partially based on this pledge.

This is a feel-good effort, the stomach-clearing belch. Both are generally disturbing to others, but may be necessary for one reason or another.

In Le Soleil, the larger review of his 90 days in office (not online) concentrated not on this quixotic gesture. Rather, it wrote of his obstacles to staying on the good side of Le Bloc and Québec in general. He truly needs to retain his slim support here and it appears that he must juice up the economy to do so.

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