Quick Hits - January 30

Some of you may have noticed a problem with comments. My bad. The Comment Pending template got mixed up with the Comment Error template, and that sent confusing messages to those who wanted to leave comments. It’s fixed, now, so please comment away.

Are we suffering from political withdrawl with the election out of the way? Perhaps. That’s one thing that could explain the mountainous molehills that have attracted such attention from the Canadian blogosphere lately. Consider the non-story about Stephen Harper shaking his kids’ hands after dropping them off at school. Um… so what? Does this have any bearing on how well he’ll perform the job of prime minister. So maybe he’s a little reserved with his kids in public. He’s hardly the only one, and anybody making a big deal over this should perhaps mind their own business over Stephen Harper’s parenting abilities.

On the other side of the ledger, there’s this whole controversy about the CBC’s use of an inadvertant “seig heil” graphic to illustrate a story about Stephen Harper. Antonia Zerbiasis has a good commentary on the bat-like reaction on some on the blogging right. And I note that reasonable right-ish bloggers Andrew Anderson and Greg Staples, among others, are treating this as the non-story that it is.

A more compelling story is Harper’s annoucement that Mulroney-era staffer Derek Burney would head up the Conservative transition team. This is real news, though I fear that Stageleft overreacts a little, in my opinion over what this means to the Canadian civil service.

The fact is, there are few Conservatives that Harper has available with experience in setting up a government, which means that a number of people Harper is going to have to appoint will have a resume that includes time with the Mulroney and Harris administrations. That shouldn’t in and of itself pre-determine their performance on their job.

Who else do you think Harper is going to appoint? Bob Rae? Although, Rae might be a good advisor on a transition team, if only to tell Harper what not to do.

The government won’t be sworn in until early February. We don’t even know who is sitting on the Conservative cabinet, yet. Until then, we politicos are just whistling in the dark, trying to fill time.

Calgary Grit posts an interesting speculation on a possible Conservative cabinet. One pick that I think is particularly… ironic? shameful? exasperating? Is Tony Clement for Health. Remembering the Harris years, I would have to say that Clement as Health Minister is a nasty case of deja vu. He made a complete mess of the provincial Health ministry when he was in charge; so much so that Elizabeth Witmer had to replace him and clean things up (as she had done in Education after John Snobelen). (Witmer would be a good addition to any Conservative cabinet. Unfortunately, she’s already committed to serving her constituents in Queen’s Park.)

Mitigating this is the fact that the federal Health ministry doesn’t actually do the nitty-gritty work of negotiating with doctors and nurses unions, building hospitals and all that other tricky stuff that Clement bollocksed up last time. So maybe he can handle it this time.

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