Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ablonczy and O'Connor

It must burn the opposition parties that this NHL betting probe has popped up just as they hoped to get their teeth into Emerson and Fortier, and now O'Connor.

Apparently some of the Alta. MPs are burned about Diane Ablonczy not getting the nod rather than the traitor and the senator. Instead Harper anoints the "gorgeous, pouting" Rona Ambrose (does very little for me actually, too much pouting, too little gorgeous, but I guess when you consider the alternatives...).

Also some nonsense from the Star letters page about the West having too many ministers, when by population Alta/BC/Man/Sask are only slightly over-represented - hat tip Far and Wide.

So what does that add up to? If Ablonczy failed to make cabinet, it wasn't because Fortier or Emerson were in the way, but Harper, Prentice, Solberg and the aforementioned Ambrose. Personally speaking she looks like a pretty good mind veiled by a vocal tone that puts teeth on edge. Between this and the defector and the Senator, apparently Alta. CPC party members are leaving in disgust. For where - Reform again? Talk like this reinforces my view that the Reformers do not truly see Harper as a Westerner but as an Easterner, ready to assume the Mulroney mantle along with his advisers.

The O'Connor thing bugs me a bit, here's why. Gordon O'Connor was defence spokesman in the last parliament, so if his being a lobbyist for Hill & Knowlton in his former life was a problem it was equally important back then when he, along with Bloc Quebecois spokesman Claude Bachand was criticising DND's apparent attempt to end-run tendering by writing a tender only Lockheed's C-130J could achieve rather than the Airbus A400M (Airbus were a client of O'Connor's) and Boeing's C-17. This is the contract which he undoubtedly intended to give expeditious review of now that he is Minister, thus the leaking of his prior involvement with Airbus in a manner reminiscent of "Yes, Minister", a programme which Gomery II's section on exempt staff is noted to be part of civil service training in Canada.

Gordon O'Connor is an retired one-star and the only other ex-military officer touted for anything was Laurie Hawn, (Lt.Col. RCAF retd.) but he may have fallen victim to the same calculations as Ablonczy. DND has had a reputation for bulldozing aside a succession of ministers and one would hope as a former officer O'Connor would have brought knowledge of military staff protocal as well as political focus - this comment left on another blog doesn't give one hope though:
my roommate (ret'd Lt Col.) worked with O'Connor at the Staff College and told me once that O'Connor wouldn't know a book if you hit him over the head with it...
Finally, Chantal H├ębert has an interesting article in the Star regarding the implications for the Liberals of Martin's departure - that business, having joined the Liberal camp with Martin might leave it with him, especially if Emerson and Fortier are influential with their CEO peers in BC and QC respectively.
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