The lesson we are all supposed to learn from this episode is the need for both sides to reach across the aisle and cooperate on the people’s business. The public, we are told, is fed up with hyper-partisan gamesmanship at a time of such economic peril. The Liberals, with large sections of the media on board, have been especially critical of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives in this regard.
All right. So who is willing, not just to talk the talk, but to walk the walk? More to the point, who has shown that ability to work across party lines in the national interest? How about, I don’t know … John Manley?
The thing that was supposed to have been the biggest obstacle to his leadership hopes — that he accepted Harper’s appointment to chair a commission on the future of the Afghanistan mission — is exactly the sort of thing that recommends him for the job, post-crisis: that is, if the Grits mean what they say about dialling down the partisanship. The Manley report was a masterpiece of statesmanship, so well received in all quarters that it provided the template for both parties, Liberals and Conservatives, to come to a common position. At a time when there was real danger of Afghanistan becoming a wedge issue, with all that that might mean for the safety and morale of the troops in the field, Manley’s report showed both sides the road to compromise.
I’m just saying…