Wednesday, July 23, 2008

 

CHANGE OF HEART AT THE P.M.O.?

"The politics of destruction has run its course." - I wish the headline was mine, it's not. Though its expressed sentiment is certainly one that I have noted on several previous occasions. In this case, it is from a column by Lawrence Martin earlier this week published in the "Globe and Mail".

Mr. Martin explains that through the winter of 2007/8, and during the spring session of the House of Commons, the Government of Prime Minister Harper..."had the Liberals running scared from the prospect of an election." The plan he says was simple and largely borrowed from the strategy of the Bush administration south of the border. To wit: Governing turned into a permanent election campaign.

Given the grave present situation in the United States. The moribund debilitating state of fear and paranoia which has been engendered by the American Republican administration over the last eight years. It is increasingly obvious those tactics have run their course.

Amazingly in a comment published the same day as the "Globe and Mail", pollster Nik Nanos writing in the "Toronto Sun" reached much the same conclusion. He notes that through much of the Harper Government's mandate a..."phony war was on. The Tories would repeatedly throw down the election gauntlet and the Dion Liberals would blink..."

Mr. Nanos says that despite these tactics and measures when polled about their voting intentions, Canadians remain about as unsure about the Conservatives as they are hesitant about the Liberals. The prospects of a Federal election are moving ever closer. At the very latest, by law an election must be held in the fall of 2009. Barring a defeat of the minority government in the House earlier, that is about one year away.

As I have noted in an earlier post, by-elections this September in several Federal ridings, including key urban seats in Montreal and southern Ontario may set matters in motion to trigger a national vote, in fact much earlier than the anticipated fall of 2009.

Mr. Nanos' observations in the "Toronto Sun", and Mr. Martin's comments in the "Globe and Mail" haven't been lost on the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper. He and his entourage are pretty shrewd players of politics even if they have from time to time borrowed from, and transposed on Canadians, the tactics of the American neo-conservative agenda embodied in the Republican party of the Bush administration.

There are signals on the horizon triggered by the arrival of the Prime Minister's new Chief of Staff earlier this month, as well as the naming of new Director of Communications in the P.M.O., that the war like tactics may be scaled down. Likely none too soon for the traumatized public service, the beleagured media and a majority of Canadians.

If the Conservative Party of Prime Minister Harper is now embarked on playing politics "the Canadian way", doubtless average voters may become less "unsure" and "hesitant" about opening-up to any new ideas, proposals and policies the Tories wish to put-up for our consideration.

It seems to me there would be plenty to go around: Canada remains mired in the difficult conflicts of the Afghan war. Our economy increasingly suffers from the business and banking contractions in the United States.
We are unsure about how to best deal with our, and the planet's, environmental concerns. Just about anyone would welcome cogent reasoned suggestions and measures to deal with these critical matters rather than another fall session of the House of Commons bogged down by bitter rhetoric, party in-fighting, and petty politics.

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