The Election: Day 50

According to a Strategic Council poll conducted for the Globe and Mail, 55% of Canadian voters would welcome a Harper majority.

"Most voters say they think a Conservative Party majority government would be a good thing for Canada, according to a new survey that suggests Liberal efforts to build anxiety about Stephen Harper are falling on deaf ears.

"55 per cent of voters say sending a Conservative majority to the House of Commons on Jan. 23 would be a healthy outcome. And even in Quebec, where the Tories have been essentially moribund for 12 years, 64 per cent of voters say a Conservative majority would be good for the nation.

"The general lack of concern about a Tory majority suggests the party has an opportunity to increase its current lead in the polls, said Strategic Counsel chairman Allan Gregg."

In search of a clear majority, Stephen Harper endeavoured on Tuesday to play down fears about absolute Tory power in Ottawa. Harper said a Tory majority would only be able to exercise limited power in Ottawa because of a Liberal-dominated Senate and bureaucracy appointed by Liberal governments.

"The reality is we will have for some time to come a Liberal senate, Liberal civil service. At least senior levels have been appointed by the Liberals, and courts that have been appointed by the Liberals."

According to CBC News Harper did not directly question the independence of the courts and the civil service but suggested years of Liberal appointments would prevent a real Conservative majority.

"There's certainly no absolute power for a Conservative government and no real true majority. We will have checks on us and limits on our ability to operate that a Liberal government would not face."

Harper also stressed that he would fight against any attempt to introduce legislation regarding abortions.

"The Conservative government won't be initiating or supporting abortion legislation, and I'll use whatever influence I have in Parliament to be sure that such a matter doesn't come to a vote," Harper said.

"I will use whatever influence I have to keep that off of the agenda, and I don't see any likelihood of that in the next Parliament," he said.

Meanwhile today Paul Martin accused Jack Layton of being soft on the Conservatives and called for progressive voters to rally behind the Liberals. This led to one of the most peculiar headlines of the campaign:

"Martin attacks Layton for not attacking Harper"

If you are looking for some insight into a Harper-led government, I suggest you read a web-exclusive story in the Globe and Mail entitled: "
Stephen Harper's Canada?
Just look at John Howard's Australia.

"The resemblance between this federal election and the Australian one of 1996 is uncanny. In both cases, a centre-left government has been in office for 13 years - the Liberals in Canada and the Australian Labour Party (ALP) in Australia. And just as a tired ALP headed by Paul Keating faced a resurgent conservative force led by current Australian Prime Minister John Howard a decade ago, Paul Martin is facing a confident Conservative Party led by Stephen Harper today.

"But more important for Canadians is the fact that Mr. Harper's party is employing the same campaign tactics that Mr. Howard first used in 1996 for his landslide win and that he has used to great effect in three successive elections.

"it's no accident that the Harper campaign feels like it has been ripped straight from the pages of the John Howard campaign manual. Mr. Howard's national campaign director, Brian Loughnane, is advising the Conservatives; last fall, Conservative Party strategists closely watched the tactics used by Mr. Howard to record his fourth election victory....

"Mr. Harper's strategy appears to be a carbon copy of that adopted by the Liberal Party in Australia. Just as Mr. Howard uses the phrase "mainstream Australians," Mr. Harper talks about giving "mainstream Canadians" a tax cut and offering tough anti-crime policies.

"If Canadians are asking themselves what a Harper government would do to their country, they just have to look at John Howard's Australia today."


Anonymous said...

Good post!
Still think that Harper is not intent on making radical changes to Canada?
Then read these extracts from today’s newspapers:
“For some time to come” ....
Stephen Harper moved to reassure wary voters yesterday that a Liberal-dominated Senate, judiciary and civil service would provide plenty of checks and balances should his party walk away with a majority next Monday.
"The reality is that we will have, for some time to come, a Liberal Senate, a Liberal civil service -- at least senior levels have been appointed by the Liberals -- and courts that have been appointed by the Liberals," Mr. Harper said.
"So these are obviously checks on the power of a Conservative government."

Power to stack the Senate (as Mulroney did):
Mr. Harper could accelerate the switch to Conservative control by using special powers that allow a government to appoint extra senators -- Mr. Mulroney added eight to pass the goods and services tax -- but this could trigger a political backlash.
Senator Jack Austin, the Liberal Government Leader in the Senate, declined to talk yesterday about how his party would operate in the Red Chamber should the Conservatives take power.

And Tories muzzle their extremists:

Jim Hughes, of the Campaign Life Coalition, said yesterday that he loved Ms. Gallant's attacks against abortion in 2004.
"I thought it was great, I thought it was fantastic," he said in an interview.
Mr. Hughes said that this time around, the Conservative Party has clamped down and muzzled its candidates, "hurting our democratic rights."
"They are less open than they have been in the past because they've never been on the verge of such a victory," he said. "It's great politicking on their part."

So, still think there isn’t a hidden agenda?
Wake up, Canada.

Anonymous said...

What about all the Liberal MPs who are anti-antibortion, anti-same sex-marriage etc? Wouldn't you say they have a hidden agenda? Martin's agenda isn't hidden: it's been the same for 12 years/power at any cost.

He's a perfect example of Lord Acton's dictum: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts aabsolutely."