Sunday, December 23, 2007

Harper's Running Scared

After nearly six months, Stephen Harper has decided to call the rest of the by-elections. He could have called them at the same time as the Quebec by-elections but that didn't suit his narrative. See, he wanted to show that the Liberal party was weak, conflicted and poorly organized. So he called the by-elections in Quebec first where the LPC(Q) is probably best described as weak conflicted and poorly organized. The rest of the Liberal party on the other hand is doing fine. Add to that, Harper's majority train hasn't run through Toronto or Vancouver yet. Saskatchewan (which features the only by-election likely to be close) is more of a mystery. However, I think it confirms what I have believed for months, Saskatchewan is politically restless. They just threw out a government in the middle of an economic boom. That, political scientists will tell you, is not an everyday phenomenon. Did they go to the political right? Sure. However, federally the Tories have raised a lot of anger over their meddling in the Canadian Wheat Board (I don't understand this issue, so I won't get into details. I just know people are upset). If Harper thought there was a political gain to be made in Saskatchewan he would have called that by-election a long time ago. The reality is that Harper does not want the headline "Liberals Sweep By-Elections" to appear before an election. That would mean Stephane Dion might not be a bumbling incompetent as the Tories have sought to portray him. That would mean that maybe the Liberals are a viable alternative. And that thought, has Stephen Harper running scared.

Now that I've ended it so nicely, one more thing. I think it behooves us to change the rules regarding by-elections. They should be set 60 days after the retirement of the MP or MPP. Giving the government this kind of manipulative power is ridiculous. There we go folks another bit of electoral reform I support. More democracy, more representation. What's not to like?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that Harper should have made the by-elections before March 17. I could be wrong. All I know, he was damned slow!

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