Friday, October 17, 2008
Dissent on Harper
My friend Gerry Nicholls used to be vice president of the National Citizens Coalition - the grassroots Canadian conservative organization once headed by Stephen Harper himself. Now an important independent media commentator, Gerry dissents from my basically positive view of the Canadian election results:
I think you are overplaying Harper's victory.
Yes, he won an increased minority but he didn't win that decisive victory he needed to bury the Liberals.
And indeed, this was his best shot to do that.
He called the election to suit his timing (even though he broke the spirit of his own fixed election date law), he had tons more money than the Liberals, the Liberals were pushing an unpopular carbon tax scheme and even the financial panic should have played well for him because Canadian voters consider Tories better economic managers.
And of course, his big secret weapon was Stephane Dion — the worst Liberal leader in more than 100 years.
Yet despite having all the stars aligned in his favour, he failed to win a majority. What's worse, he was rebuffed in Quebec despite two years of pandering to nationalist voters.
Next time, the Liberals will be back with a new leader and the Tories will have endured possibly two years of recession — which means get ready for Prime Minister Bob Rae.
Also to say this was a victory for the "centre right" is a stretch.
The Tories have done precious little in the last two years to qualify as a true conservative government. In fact, during the election they flip flopped on two issues that might be considered conservative: arts funding cuts and Afghanistan.
In other words, Tuesday's election will be remembered as the "high water mark" for the Harper Tories.
From here on it's going to be downhill.
I just hope they use their last year of effective power to do some good stuff.
10/17 07:14 AM