You would think that Stephen Harper's recent troubles might spur a little self examination. Not so. Jeffrey Simpson writes:
Instead of rethinking, the Prime Minister has doubled down on his long-term strategy, which depends on polarizing the electorate and identifying and mobilizing the Conservative vote. He reshuffled his cabinet to add younger ministers of the same type as the more experienced ones: hard-edged communicators and sharp-elbowed partisans. He regrouped people in his office and at party headquarters who are unreserved loyalists. There are no even mildly discordant voices, let alone fresh faces or new views, in Mr. Harper’s inner political circle.
Harper knows that 30% of voters would vote for him after attending his wake. He also knows that 60% of Canadians would never vote for him -- alive or dead. That means that he must persuade the remaining 10% of voters that he has their interests at heart. What that means is that, for the next two years, all Conservative policies -- domestic and foreign -- will be aimed at that 10% of the population.
In foreign policy it means:
more wooing of Jewish voters through blind support of every Israeli government position, helping Toronto’s Tamils recall the boycott of the Commonwealth Conference, reminding Filipinos about Ottawa’s efforts after Typhoon Haiyan. As an ambassador of a traditional ally recently remarked privately, never had the representative ever seen a government whose foreign policy was so driven by local ethnic appeals.In domestic policy,
there will be all sorts of micro-initiatives directed at the 10 per cent: action to “protect” consumers against high wireless fees and cable charges, little tax breaks for this group or that, income-splitting mostly to benefit the middle to upper-middle class, protection against bank charges or whatever focus groups reveal Canadians don’t like about the banks.
There is no vision and there are no principles guiding Mr. Harper. It's all about doing whatever it takes to win.