2006/02/10

Will Harper's minority be short-lived?

Post-election, media pundits have assumed that Stephen Harper had two years to implement his agenda and prepare for the next election. With the rocky start this week and the mounting fury among Conservatives about the Emerson cross-over, some are now beginning to question this assumption. A new Global National/Ipsos Reid poll released tonight indicates that the honeymoon ended on Day One of the new Government. 48% of those polled disapproved of Harper's decision to appoint Emerson to his cabinet versus 40% who approved. It appears that the bloom is off the rose.

Chantal Hebert speculates in today's Star that the daycare issue may be for Harper the equivalent of the Clake/Crosbie 18-cent gas tax in 1980. As she observes:

"Canada's last Conservative minority government died a quick death on the arid hill of a steep hike in gasoline taxes; this one has chosen the grassy knoll of a popular $1,200 child-care allowance for its first do-or-die stand in Parliament.

"On his first day in office this week, Stephen Harper announced that he would fulfill his big-ticket promise to families by July 1. Win or lose, this is the battle that will set the tone for the rest of his mandate in and outside the House of Commons."

The Liberals and the NDP are opposed to the Conservative daycare initiative. Indeed, the NDP has announced they will introduce a bill to set national daycare standards when Parliament is convened.

To survive their first budget and get cheques delivered to parents of young children by July 1, Harper will need the support of the Bloc Québécois. Will the BQ support the Conservative initiative after criticizing it during the campaign?
Apparently this week Duceppe said he did not oppose the notion of direct help to families but suggested that to secure BQ support Harper would have to strike a deal with Jean Charest.

Harper created the impression earlier this week that there is room for accommodation with Quebec. That stirred the attention of Ontario and Manitoba, the other two provinces with five-year funding agreements with the Liberals. If Harper makes a special child-care deal with Quebec at the expense of other provinces, he will provoke a backlash elsewhere.

At the moment it is unclear that he will be able to secure the necessary votes in Parliament to pass this measure. He has already set a deadline for its passage. If he is going to make this minority government work, he will have to display more adroitness than he exhibited in the Emerson affair.

6 comments:

Sailor Joe said...

Harper is beginning to look more reckless rather than bold. He is on the verge of repeating Joe Clarke's mistake:attempting to govern as if he had a majority. He has a narrow minority and needs to trim his sails accordingly.

John Snow said...

Harper's behavior is beginning to verge on arrogant. He'd better develop a coherent game plan or his minority will be short-lived.

lessansculottes.info said...

question: Will Harper's minority be short-lived?

answer: no

reason: harper and his canadian neo-cons are so kiss a$$ buddy buddy with the bush neo-cons that they'll work out a deal over the soft wood dispute, now that rebuilding new orleans is beginning to weight down the prizdent, and if people don't know yet the left vs right or liberal vs conservative thing is nothing more than fake wrestling, it's all for show and the worlds elite agenda for total control moves ahead no matter who's in power.

why do you think no heavy weights like mckenna and co have put the hat in for the liberal leadership?

easy, they know harper will be there for the next five years, after they win a slim majority in 2007-08

Billy Byrne said...

Harper executed a very smooth election campaign. His transition to government has been a rocky one. Let's hope he gets his act together before he meets the House of Commons. If he doesn't the experienced Opposition parties will make mincemeat of his new government.

Anonymous said...

Anyone read the Garth Turner website/blog? Very interesting. It appears Turner has been disciplined and is being told to shut up by the party brass. There are about 300+ comments posted on his website in the last few days and thousands of views. He is basically keeping a diary for everyone to read. Some of the comments from CPC members though posted on his site are vitriolic - accusing him of stabbing Harper in the back and blaming him for . . . get this . . . the coming, remarkable return of Paul Martin!

DownEaster said...

Harper had better get his act together quickly if he hopes to lead this minority govt to a majority.A few more slip-ups like the appt of David Emerson and his minority will be on the slippery slope to defeat.