After tomorrow's throne speech, the opposition parties have vowed to hammer the Harper Conservatives. But will they keep the Harperites in their sights, or battle each other? Tim Harper writes that, if the present regime is to fall, either Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau has to begin to look prime ministerial :
The NDP leader is hampered on three fronts.
Chosen to build on an NDP quest for power and an end to moral victories and years as the “conscience of Parliament,” he must now mightily push back against a Canadian political tide which seems determined to return to its traditional alignment.
He must also deal with the reality that skill and proficiency in the Commons no longer translates into national attention as it did a generation ago.
And he has not yet provided a defining brand for his party, an easily recognizable voter association that allows Canadians to think of an issue, or a raison d’être for Mulcair and his New Democrats.
And, so far, Justin Trudeau has been allowed to tour the country and be content free:
He was shrewd to react quickly and passionately to the Quebec Charter of Values while Mulcair, a former Quebec cabinet minister who commands a large caucus from that province, held his fire until the Parti Quebecois proposal was tabled.
Trudeau won the battle for attention with his late summer pot-smoking revelation and he showed an uncanny penchant for grabbing attention, and often adulation, as he toured the country.
Opposing a truly stupid piece of legislation and advocating the legalization of pot do not make a prime minister. And Stephen Harper knows that, if he can get Trudeau and Mulcair to take up arms against each other, he'll be able to escape scrutiny.
Much is at stake in the upcoming parliamentary session.