Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Harper's Conservatives - The vast left wing conspiracy trumps incompetence

Leaders of Canada's opposition Liberal, NDP, Green and Bloc parties have a monumental task ahead of them in unseating the Harper Conservatives from the seat of power in Ottawa. Monday's Globe and Mail reports that polling indicates the Tories have opened up a 5 point lead nationally on the second place Liberals. The Strategic Counsel poll pegs the Conservatives at 35% and the Liberals at 30, with the NDP and Greens at 14 and 9 respectively.

Stephen Harper has assumed the mantle of Canada's Teflon man, nothing sticks. In his first mandate the Prime Minister broke his promise to "never, NEVER" tax income trusts, still Canadians returned the Tories with an increased minority. In calling an early election last October Harper may have even broken his own law respecting fixed election dates. A judge will now decide if that election call was illegal instead of just politically self serving.

Despite such a short tenure as Canada's ruling party, the Conservatives have done plenty to raise the ire of the voting public. Promises of balanced budgets have joined the tax exempt status of Income Trusts on the trash heap. Jim Flaherty's laughingly inept budget projections should definitely give Canadians cause for concern about the running of the nation's finances.

Add to that Lisa's Raitt's salivating at the 'sexiness' of cancer patients having treatment delayed, the boondoggle of funding for GLBT events in Toronto and Montreal, Harper breaking his promise not to engage in patronage politics to become the all time patronage champion with Senate appointments...its a long list for a party with so little time in power.

And yet despite financial mismanagement and scandal after scandal....Harper's Conservatives continue to lead in the polls. Why?

Simple, Harper's socially conservative base in convinced that there has long been a conspiracy afoot to rob Canadians of certain God given rights. There is a pervasive belief that a "Liberal Elite" is bent on ramming through an agenda that extols the 'dubious' (sic) virtues of things like multiculturalism and equality of the sexes.

The challenge for the likes of Ignatieff, Layton and May is to energize the roughly ten million Canadians who didn't bother voting last time around. Shaking the Conservative tree in hopes of diminishing Harper's core base will yield slim pickings at best. Stephen Harper can run the economy into the ground, break almost every election promise and prove himself the epitome of hypocrisy...and it won't matter to roughly 25% of Canadian voters.

I do believe the Liberals are off to a decent start with their chosen theme of "We Can Do Better". But its going to take more than a catchy slogan to reverse Mr. Ignatieff's fortunes and propel him to 24 Sussex Drive.

The fact that the Liberals are finally willing to state their intention of fighting an election at a time when their polling numbers are less than robust nullifies any appearance that their strategy is opportunistic. When Harper broke his own fixed election law last summer in an attempt to garner a majority mandate, that was political opportunism at its most blatant.

Canadians do deserve better government than what we've been getting recently, but Harper's socially Conservative base will be doing its best to blur reality. Its Machiavellism at its best and worst, Harper is their lesser evil.

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