Lawrence Martin writes that the cracks are spreading at Fortress Harper. First it was those ornery backbenchers who refused to shut up. Then one of them, Brent Rathgeber, resigned. And, last week, sixteen Conservative senators joined with their Liberal colleagues to gut a Harper supported private member's bill which would have crippled unions. Martin writes:
While sending the union bill back to the Commons with amendments prompted PMO anger, these Conservatives have done themselves and their party proud by voting according to what they thought was right. With the exception of Conservative hardliners, the legislation — a private member’s bill — was widely viewed in the party as a spiteful piece of labour-bashing. Its aim was to compel unions to disclose all payments made by them to outside groups or individuals worth $5,000 or more and to reveal the names and salaries of union employees paid more than $100,000.
The senator who spearheaded the drive was Hugh Segal, who used to work for Bill Davis -- before Mike Harris, Jim Flaherty, Tony Clement and John Baird rode into Queens Park. Segal owes the prime minister nothing. He was appointed by Paul Martin. But that was back in the days when Senate appointments could be made on the basis on merit, not blind loyalty.
Unfortunately, Tory youth appear to follow Mr.Harper like lemmings:
One group he appears to have marching in lockstep with him is the Tory youth. The work of his senators stood in marked contrast to another piece of news that made headlines for the party this week: the party planting interns to disrupt a Justin Trudeau rally on Parliament Hill. The paid interns, apparently acting with the approval of the PMO, waved placards spouting lines the Conservatives used in their grossly distorted attack ads on the Liberal leader.
It was another indication of the degree to which the level of morality in the party has sunk. This is a tactic something straight out of the Nixon White House’s book of dirty tricks.
The question is, where is the Conservative soul? Is it in Segal's hands -- or Stephen Harper's?