2006/05/06

Will Harper's grand plan succeed?

Will Harper's grand plan succeed? He is obviously using the fiscal imbalace issue to keep Jean Charest and Gilles Duceppe onside. His objective is to gain seats in Quebec next election, enough to secure a majority. But is his snubbing of McGuinty a wise tactic? Harper's giving McGuinty a ready-made platform for the next Ontario election. While I don't agree with McGuinty on many issues, if he can wrap himself in the flag of protecting Ontario against fiscal rape by Ottawa, he will be well-positioned provincially.

Harper has proven himself a relatively shrewd operator so far but the tough sledding is still ahead of him. He cannot afford to lose the relatively small beachhead that the Conservatives secured in Ontario in the last election. There is a real risk that will happen if Ontarians are persuaded that they are being blackmailed into making an excessively high fiscal contribution to other provinces.

While the fiscal imbalance issue seems on the surface to be the ticket to making major inroads in Quebec, it may instead become the swamp which denies Harper his covetted majority next time.

4 comments:

Billy Byrne said...

Harper has been adept so far but IMHO he has miscalculated on the fiscal imbalance. I think he will be dragged into a swamp from which he will find it difficult to extricate himself.

Cathie said...

Everyone is derisive to McGuinty on his stance: the other premiers, the Conservatives and the media (see Randall Denley in the Citizen), but if he actually makes it a campaign issue, watch out. His demand for per capita money from Ottawa would dramatically increase the immigration money for example. All other provinces enjoy this, but Ontario, where Toronto is home to almost 50% of all immigrants to Canada each year, just gets block funding. Per capita funding on immigration alone would cost the federal government billions. And if it was to go further and match the funding Quebec gets in its special deal (Quebec runs it, the feds pay for it), Ontario could kiss its deficit goodbye (but that would be dreaming to think that there would be parity with Quebec). It will be resources next: where some provinces get to keep their royalties, and collect equalization at the same time, and other provinces don’t. It will be interesting to note what happens on that front in September at the projected first ministers’ conference on equalization.

DazzlinDino said...

He is obviously using the fiscal imbalace issue to keep Jean Charest and Gilles Duceppe onside. His objective is to gain seats in Quebec next election, enough to secure a majority.

That's actually reverse thinking my friend. If quebecors know they can get the same results by voting BQ, they'll vote BQ. Deuceppe is the one who will gain seats by working with the Cosnervatives.....

cardinal47 said...

I meant that Harper is giving Duceppe an excuse to stay onside and not defeat the budget because of his pledge to rectify the fiscal imbalance. Duceppe is not eager for an election right away. The reality is that Harper is hoping to make further inroads in Quebec but he's putting at risk the Conservative seats in Ontario.