Baird is one of Harper's chief consigliaris, and the message was delivered on Canada's answer to Fox News CTV Newsnet, so it can be considered an official raising of the white flag - apparently it won't take a week of carefully scripted propaganda warfare for Harper to realize they aren't going to win this battle in the court of public opinion.
Transport Minister John Baird said the Conservative government has backed away from a contentious proposal to slash public funding for political parties, in an interview with CTV Newsnet.
The proposed Tory policy, which was announced as part of the government's fall fiscal update, caused a firestorm in Ottawa earlier this week and raised the possibility that opposition parties would form a coalition government or send Canadians to the polls.
"It's not worth going to an election over," Baird told CTV Newsnet Saturday.
But this titanic political miscalculation has already accomplished what many thought was impossible, including yours truly; finally uniting the opposition parties against him. Harper's long standing childish infatuation with scheming for its own stake has let the genie out of the bottle. The Conservatives are reduced to bleating that the parties that more than 6 out of 10 Canadians voted for actually running the government would be undemocratic.
As Liberal and NDP officials continued discussions about a possible coalition that would replace the minority government, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre dismissed their attempts as nothing more than an illegitimate power grab.
"In just over 30 days [Finance Minister Jim Flaherty] has got a budget that will come out that will include yet more [economic] stimulus," he told CBC News.
"By contrast, the Liberals, the separatists and the socialists, all of whom were resoundingly rejected in the last election, want to overturn that election and impose a coalition that they promised they would never entertain," he said.