Stephen Poloz, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, says that the economic numbers in the first quarter of this year will be "atrocious" -- something that Stephen Harper knows full well. Therefore, Crawford Killian writes:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a guy who reportedly cowered in a closet while the guns roared in the hallway, has collected his wits and mapped out a whole new course to a new majority with admirable speed. By parlaying one mentally ill drug addict into a terrorist threat, he created the embryo of a Canadian police state in Bill C-51. Meanwhile, riding on the slipstream of the Americans' attacks on the Islamic State, he has found an unrelated casus belli, a cause for war, just as George W. Bush did after 9/11.
So seven months (or less) before the next election, Harper is a war prime minister like Mackenzie King -- effectively bulletproof for the duration. And the duration is likely to last through next fall and perhaps to 2020.
Harper claims that he is operating from a moral imperative. But his imperative is entirely political:
How else could he sell himself to the voters? He's touted himself as the guardian of our economic interests, while running up our deficits and promising a balanced budget real soon now. As viceroy of the Oil Patch, he bet the country on exporting expensive oil, and now the Oil Patch is drowning in its own product. We get endless warnings about a housing bubble, job growth has been at record lows for over a year, and the available jobs are crappy part-time ones.
With no end in sight, the economic downturn would demolish Harper and the Conservatives in the next election. But with a sanitary, low-casualty, far-away war to distract people, and Bill C-51 to silence critics, he might just scare enough voters into giving him four more years of the same -- while also running up as big a deficit as he likes.
His election strategy is entirely transparent. He is The Amazing Transparent Man.