Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lame Ducks

It seemed so simple a year ago; the Conservatives had won a minority - or more accurately the Liberals had lost one. The Tories had their 5 principles - down to what now - Two? Three? - They figured a careful low expectations performance of about a year, some vague promises to fix the fiscal imbalance in Quebec's favour and a divided opposition while the more radical rightwingers in caucus spent a year gagged and bound in Harper's basement and they could coast to an easy majority.

But they overestimated their appeal and underestimated how carefully the Canadian people would be watching how they used their newfound power. Last years election created one of the most deliberate minority governments in history. Remember, with a week to go before the election when the polls started suggesting the Tories were in majority territory? Remember how the Conservative numbers immediately crashed back to minority range as soon as the prospect of a Conservative majority raised its ugly head?

Canadians wanted the Liberals out, but they weren't taking a flier on the Conservatives either.

With a fractured opposition, a rigidly controlled - even muzzled -caucus and a disciplined minimalist agenda the Tories should be head and shoulders over the thrashing, many-headed monstrosity that the Liberals currently present to the public. Instead Tory numbers have stagnated, even without an opposition. They've flatlined in Quebec and hovered or cratered everywhere else. Their hopes for a majority are over and their hopes of even maintaining their minority are on life support.

What little is left of their agenda is at the mercy of the opposition - the Tories are now dependent on desperate stalling measures just to keep the opposition from controlling parliament altogether.
"The behavior of the Liberal party is arrogant and anti-democratic," fumed Harper. "That's really the problem. They haven't accepted the decision of the electorate."
Of course, more than half of the electorate voted center left to socialist - in a minority government, respecting the decision of the electorate means compromise and respect for the opposition and an agenda hewing to the political center, not the extremist edges. Instead the Conservatives chose arrogance, and catering to their base. It's cost them.

I've heard the grimly spoken words 'If this is how they behave with a minority...' uncountable times lately - and I live in Calgary.

Many factors will determine the immediate political future, from who wins the American mid-terms to who wins the Liberal leadership. Right now the most likely result of the next Canadian election is a minority Liberal government and a Conservative return to the political wilderness.


greyburr said...

So another minority government,this time libs?The real tragety is that no party appeals to Canadians and under the leadership of layton the Ndp even less so.I believe the latest polls show significant stagnation once again with the N'dippers.Perhaps instead of worrying about the Cons & Libs,the cult of jack should should re-examine itself & it's same old/same old policys & laytons crass opportunistic pandering for votes.

Anonymous said...

The Cat enjoyed your analysis.

berlynn said...

What's with all the attacks on Jack this morning? On almost every blog I've been to, including my own, there's an attack on the NDP. Is this the Liberal machinery at work? the Cons? the Greens? Why can't everyone figure out that we have to all work together to make this country work for all?

Nuff said!

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