Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stockwell Day Gets Well Deserved Credit

Finally Stockwell Day is getting some of the credit he deserves in an article by David Akin of CanWest News Services. Here are some highlights:
On Parliament Hill, Day recently sent out a memo to MPs from all parties seeking to organize a weekly fun run to encourage fitness and some non-partisan camaraderie. Day, 58, and a grandfather, is in the best physical shape of his life and, according to politicians on both sides of the Speaker's chair, he just might be in the best political shape of his life.
I've said before I'm a Stockaholic. A big part of the reason is he's just a great guy as witnessed by his efforts to build relationships even with his political adversaries.

Now his caucus colleagues -- including some of those rebels of 2001 and even some political opponents -- say Day is now one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's most effective cabinet ministers. As Canada's trade minister, Day is Harper's right-hand man on one of the trickiest and most important files for the government, fighting off protectionist trends in the U.S. in order to preserve a $1.5-billion-a-day trading relationship and all the while building new trade ties. Keeping borders open to trade -- and even knocking down some trade barriers -- is a key part of Ottawa's plan to lift Canada's sagging economic fortunes.

"Canada is as prosperous as it is because we have been free traders for our entire history," Day said in an interview with Canwest News Service and Global National. "Because of great technology and great skills and great education, we produce a lot more than we can consume. And if we can't sell it abroad, then it's going to be lean times all the time, not just up and down in recession times. So any free trade agreement for Canada is very good and that can be demonstrably shown with very strong evidence."

Stock's absolutely right, if trade barriers start coming up, then we'll really see what tough economic times are all about. Good thing we've got the right man for the job.

According to those who have watched his political career, Day has had to learn the hard way there is no substitute for knowing your file frontwards and backwards. From foreign affairs critic while in opposition to public safety minister in the last Parliament to his current assignment, Day's political success has been largely a function of the respect he's earned from colleagues, opponents and the press for mastering the subject of the day.

"I have nothing but praise for the job he's done," said Monte Solberg, his cabinet colleague in the last Parliament and one of those who rebelled against Day's Alliance leadership in 2001. "He does do his homework and takes his job very seriously."

I think this was a good lesson for Stockwell Day and a good reminder for us all. Do your homework, get some depth, and respect will follow.

His renewed political success even has some in his party quietly whispering that he ought to consider running for leader again when Harper decides to retire.

"Absolutely not. I'd like to make that very clear right now," Day said, laughing at the suggestion. "That's a very tough road. Jean Chretien was right -- occasionally -- when he said that's a tough job. It is a very tough job. That's why we're giving the prime minister all the support that he needs."

Two things. "Quietly Whispering?" No Way. I'll say it loud and clear, Stockwell Day would be an excellent Prime Minister! He's certainly more likable than any of the current party leaders.

"Absolutely not." Boo. I hope he's just being loyal and if Stephen Harper steps down, Stock will give the idea due consideration.

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