Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Harper's Counterpoint

I'll leave the analysis of Belinda's crass political move for others [cannot wait for Coyne's column]. Watching the likes of rank Liberals exault her "tough, gutsy" sell out will be as hilarious as it will be disgusting. Why offer a Tory a seat in the Senate when you are just as comfortable with them in your cabinet? Did anyone ask Belinda why she has just joined a Government that she voted no confidence in a few DAYS ago? And they call it democracy...

But Harper has a little over 48 hours. Does he have any final tricks up his sleeve after this brilliantly little tactical display by the Liberals? I would suggest only this one: Call Jack Layton. Have a little "private dinner" of your own. The only way out for an election in June maybe to get the NDP to be strategically "missing" a few members or to otherwise help support an election.

I haven't really thought this through. I don't even know if I think Layton and the NDP should even consider listening to Harper. But that seems to me as equally shocking a counterattack to deploy against the Liberals. And it has some attractive benefits for both parties.

Why? Layton can easily renege on the deal without getting overly punished in the polls: "How many times do we have to watch former Tory leadership contenders get welcomed into this man's Cabinet? How low do the Liberals have to sink before we remind them that they don't have a divine right to cling to power?" It could be the opening on the left that the NDP has needed to make true inroads against the Liberals. And if Layton waits for Martin to choose his own time to go to the polls, history shows that the NDP will bear the brunt of the loss unless they strike when Liberals are vulnerable.

Harper could offer the possibility of NDP-Tory cooperation on areas such as Proportional Representation that will never see the light of day under these Liberals that would help entrench a longer term role for the New Democrats as the conscience of the house. Also, Layton may never get a chance to increase the number of MPs by as much in his entire reign - and that's the first step toward true and lasting legitimacy for his party.

For the Tories, they'd then also be able to fight an election on the grounds that it was not only the Tory-Bloc alliance that defeated this Government that seems ready to sell itself to any bidder (please no comments that "Martin has just been doing what Canadians want") with whatever goodies and perks at the PMO disposal. I think the two parties have common interest in combatting the Liberals now, and Belinda's move has made it possible for Layton to take the high ground into an immediate vote.

I don't know. At times, the crass, power-hungery, principle-less political shenanigans have me doubting whether I even want to pay attention to this anymore. You look at the Globe and Mail sometimes and you wonder if there is ever going to be a calling to account of the Natural Governing Party short of recession. And this is criticism from the a relatively leftist perspective. I can only imagine how westerners are going to take this. [read: not good]

So call Jack Layton, Mr. Harper. Talk policy and principle, ethics and accountability. Strategerize. And who knows? Invite Ed Broadbent along as well. I wonder what he would recommend...

[Update: Do I need to tell you to check out the press gallery: Wells, Kinsella (see how long her reaction to the budget she'll be voting for stays on her website), Cosh, etc... and CalgaryGrit may get the prize for the funniest insta-reaction. Except maybe Martin himself, who says that Belinda will be in charge of "democratic renewal". Honestly.]


Blogger The Tiger said...

I like.

1:45 PM  
Blogger gullchasedship said...

You're right. I can't access anything on her web site anymore except the front page.

4:25 PM  

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