That weren't no DJ, that was hazy cosmic jive

The Conservatives’ latest own goal

Curiouser and curiouser. We know the extent to which Stephen Harper drives for total message control – so the sight of a group of Québec Conservative MPs in Nordique jerseys and thumbs up could mean (at least) one of two things:

1) Harper’s sanctioned funding for a new Colisée already – out of panicked desperation for something “feel-good” he can do, but we all see it’s another sign he’s lost his supposed “shrewdness” and is blowing any remaining reputation as someone committed to fiscal restraint during a time of deficit, or

2) J.-P. Blackburn and his Québec colleagues are going a bit rogue here – trying to force the PMO’s hand by whipping up Québec excitement in advance of a decision. A new sign of party rifts.

Either way, Harper now seems damned whatever he does. He’ll infuriate most of Canada if federal funding goes ahead for it, and he’ll humiliate his Québec caucus (along with any tentative voter support in Quebec) if he doesn’t. He’ll violently confuse his Reformer base if he’s seen freewheeling on a bread-and-circuses agenda and kissing boots in Québec while taking the west for granted, but equally he’ll come off as indecisive and not in control if he backs away from this now.

Perhaps there will be a national programme for arena development, so that the Québec pandering charge loses its stick. But does he really want to come off as a Johnny-Manley-come-lately?


Filed under: Canada, Politics, , , , ,


September 2010
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