Monday, 22 December 2008

Ho! Ho! Ho! The New Stephen Harper Returns

There does seem to be a kind Stephen Harper and also a mean Stephen Harper. We are familiar with the mean one who bullied poor Stephan Dion to make a bright and capable man look like a fool soon after he took over as Liberal leader. We first saw the kind Harper wearing his blue sweater during the election campaign. This is the Stephen Harper who spoke in Peru at a world leaders meeting about the need to spend government money and provide stimulus to keep the world from going into a depression. He quickly disappeared as you can read in my previous post when he brought in budget plans in late November through the Minister of Finance which attacked his political opponents and offered nothing to help the economy. The reaction was not what Mr. Harper had come to expect from the weak Mr. Dion and a coalition was formed which threatened to remove the Conservatives from power. Being Prime Minister has its advantages, such as controlling Parliament's agenda and being the one that the Governor General is required by tradition to follow. He was able to delay the vote, further ridicule Stephane Dion as potential Prime Minister and scare Canadians about the evil Separatist and Socialist allies of Mr. Dion. This has clearly worked in English Canada and the public opinion shifted against the coalition that promised help for the economy. In Quebec the attacks on most Quebec Members of Parliament have hurt Harper's chances but it looks like he has given up on forming a majority with help from Quebec.
To further extend his days in power Mr. Harper is now back to his newer kinder form offering money to the auto industry, listening to opinions and talking again about the seriousness of the crisis and the need for deficits.
With the Christmas season here Mr. Harper has given out presents in the form of Senate appointments to the lucky 18. That and renovations to the Prime Minister's residence are a form of job creation. Santa Steve will never put on the red suit because red is the Liberal colour but he sure is doing his best to survive by being Mr. Nice Guy again. Help has been given to the auto industry and more goodies are to follow. Will Harper be trusted again? That is unlikely but in this time of crisis he knows what he needs to do to survive and he is doing it. Trust does not seem to be an important quality these days based on the current opinion polls. The key to power is competence and strong leadership as Canadians hope for a stable government in Ottawa. The Liberals have a new stronger and more cautious leader with Michael Ignatieff who will bide his time and keep the pressure on the Conservatives. They will not be able to destroy him like they destroyed Mr. Dion. When the Russian Prince, Michael Ignatieff, is ready he will make his move and there will be an election. I predict it will be in the Fall of 2009 or even sooner. It is hard to predict the outcome because everything changes so quickly. I do think Michael will become Prime Minister and that Stephen Harper will never regain the credibility he lost at the end of November. I can see the Liberals winning back a lot of Quebec seats. Until that time the nice Stephen Harper will probably dominate over the mean one and hope Canadian voters will have short memories and vote for the guy in the blue sweater. We will have to wait until a month after Christmas for Santa Steve to deliver his gifts. It should be interesting to see how the new Liberal leader reacts and how the coalition of opposition parties handles the situation with their almost certain end to unity. Only the mean Steve can keep Michael, Jack and Gilles together and he knows better than to do that this time.

No comments: