Wednesday, October 16, 2013

He's Desperate

Michael Den Tandt writes that today's throne speech is aimed directly at Justin Trudeau:

It also betrays more than a whiff of desperation. For of all the issues the Conservatives could have made their own, few contain more sheer political peril than this. It is a gusher that, once tapped, will be difficult to cap.

Why the desperation? Put simply, despite all the hype and the message discipline, the Conservative record is a record of failure:

On procurement — the Byzantine process by which Ottawa buys hardware for the military — nothing short of a stand-alone procurement agency, managing a system shorn of political interference, will impress the government’s critics. That’s because of the disaster of the Royal Canadian Air Force fighter-replacement project. In 2010, you will recall, the Conservatives hitched their star to a sole-source plan to buy 65 F-35 fighter-bombers, for $9 billion. In late 2012, driven by life-cycle costs that had skyrocketed past $46 billion, that plan was shelved and replaced with a new “options analysis.” The damage to the government’s credibility was enormous.

Justice-wise, the Conservatives discovered in August that Canadians weren’t much bothered by the fact that the Liberal leader had admitted to smoking pot while an MP. For years, the Conservatives have been hammered for their ideological, punitive and not-very-effective approach to marijuana prohibition. Their tough-on-crime agenda works best, at a popular level, when it focuses on protecting the rights of victims of violent and sexual crimes. Therefore, we should expect new measures to crack down on sex criminals, and scant or no mention of pot.

And when it comes to the Keystone XL Pipeline, the government's complete lack of commitment to the environment is coming home to roost:

Ottawa has routinely missed its own targets for establishing greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction regulations for the oilpatch. It can no longer do so, because U.S. President Barack Obama is hammering on the front door, requiring the Harper government give him something — anything at all — that he can use as cover to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

So what have they got left? Cell phone rates and cable television charges.  It's targeted policy, which is intended to lock up votes.

It's survival time. And Mr. Harper is desperate.


Anonymous said...

The Reform-Conservatives are entering Brian Mulroney popularity territory. As Den Tandt writes, they are 'swinging for the fences'. This is the 'Hail Mary' pass when you are down five points with only five seconds left on the clock. This is the pulling of the goalie with only thirty seconds left, and a face off in your own zone [Ed: please stop with the sports analogies].

But, like any good sports match, it will be highly entertaining.

Lorne said...

let's hope that the public doesn't get fooled by the rebranding the Conservatives are about to engage in, Owen. A consumer-first agenda, however disingenuous, could buy many votes.

Owen Gray said...

It's swinging for the fences, Anon, knowing that your pitching staff is disabled.

There is nothing more they can deliver.

Owen Gray said...

Buying votes is what it's about, Lorne.

You would think that, after all this time, the public would know that -- with this crew -- there is no such thing as truth in advertising.

Anonymous said...

Harper will use every dirty tactic in the book, to stay in office. Scores of Canadians believe, that is how Harper got into office.

Harper has lied to and misled Canadians, for a very long time. Harper has reneged on absolutely everything. Harper's economy and job action plans, have never made it off the billboard of, Hockey Night in Canada.

The 200 mining jobs in BC, have been given to Communist China. Harper permitted China to bring over, their own cheap labor to the tar sands. Harper is bringing over, cheap foreign labor and training them to work at the oil patch.

Then there is Harper's FIPA deal with Communist China. FIPA would be a, ball and chain on Canada, for a minimum of 31 years.

Harper's Omnibus Bill gives China permission to sue Canada if, anyone tries to block China's takeover of our country.

Owen Gray said...

Frank Graves has just released a poll tracking Harper's standing among Canadians, Anon.

It would appear that all the things you mention have taken their toll.

Kim said...

If there's anything I have learned from recent BC Elections it is that you can never trust the polls or the media.

That backroom operatives can be co-opted and outcomes can be disasterous. As Canadians we can't afford to lose another election to these forces.

Do not underestimate the potential for corruption.

Owen Gray said...

No one knows better than Stephen Harper, Kim, that public apathy makes corruption possible -- and acceptable.

He's counting on apathy to keep him in power.