Monday, March 9, 2009

Harper Getting Hit From All Sides Now...

Conservative fortunes under Stephen Harper seem to be tracking the broader markets. On a day when both the DOW and TSX closed lower yet again, Harper and the Tories were dealt yet another blow, this time in the form of an Op-Ed piece in the Toronto Sun.

Michael Taube, a former speech writer for Stephen Harper, penned a guest column in the Sun today entitled "Harper driving Conservatives the wrong way". Among his many criticisms was this little snippet:

No wonder Stevie is so anxious to force an election, provided he can pin the blame for it on the opposition Liberals. The Conservatives still hold key advantages over the Liberals should a snap election come to pass. Their organization is stronger at the moment, but more importantly they enjoy a substantial advantage in terms of their election war chest.
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Ironic that Harper's Conservatives came to power amid voter anger over Liberal waste and arrogance primarily under Jean Chretien. Now it is Harper who is trying to force an election over what amounts to a 3 billion dollar slush fund, money he wishes to toss around with zero accountability until after the fact.

Personally I think Harper is trying to be too clever by half. He knows Canadians don't want another election, so he is looking for any 'poison pill' he can find in hopes his government will be defeated. I'm sure his thinking is that with the $$$ advantage the Conservatives hold, that they would be able to control the message....And that message would be, "this election brought to you by the Liberals".

If it comes down to a vote on the Harper slush fund Ignatieff might do well to avoid taking the bait. The Liberal Party is still not battle ready in my opinion. While Dion appeared to be far more ideological in his approach, Ignatieff seems much more pragmatic. Perhaps it is best for the Liberals to sit back and wait for more friendly fire from Conservative papers like the Toronto Sun to do in Harper and the Conservatives.

That would leave Harper with a task similar to what McCain had with the Republicans in 2008, fighting on two fronts. Campaigning on one side to keep the choir singing, while at the same time trying to expand on that shrinking base of support.

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