Did Stephen Harper make his comments about banning niqabs from the public service because he was drawn off script? David Krayden writes:
First off, there is no room for improvisation in a Stephen Harper script. When cabinet ministers receive their speaking notes from the PMO for a political event, what they get is a tightly-worded succession of talking points loosely linked by references to local dignitaries and the weather. Any digression from the core topic — congratulating the Harper government for its good works — is strictly verboten.
So I really don’t think Harper doubled-down on this topic on a whim. The fact that he said it days earlier, in French and in Quebec, made it a premeditated policy announcement. If Harper were to inadvertently promote an expanded niqab ban in one official language, he would not repeat that mistake in English.
No, Harper's comments were carefully calculated to appeal to the worst instincts of some Quebecers. And, if the polls are to be believed, the gambit has worked -- even though Harper knows that the Supreme Court will, once again, send his porposed legislation into the dumpster.
It's politics at its most cynical. But that really shouldn't surprise anyone.