Power Hungry Harper

It appears fairly clear that Canada’s Prime Minister is going to take his country into a Federal election next week.  You would think that he would not waste the time and money of Canadians unless he felt that an election was both necessary and likely to result in a different allocation of power between the federal parties than that which the country has been living with, miserably, for several years now.

But that’s not the case.  Even Harper cannot say that he believes an imminent election will lead to a change in power or even anything other than a minority government:

“My expectation would be that we will have another minority. I think that’s a reality of the current political climate,” Harper reported during a two-day tour of the north.

Harper said that the possibility of anyone getting a majority, “in the current political alignment” is highly unlikely.

Whoa!  Talk about low expectations.  Harper need barely get his hair mussed to declare himself a success according to his scenario, assuming, of course, that he believes it will be a Conservative minority.  That being the case, why the hell is he about to waste our time and money and put us through the horrors of listening to him and all his colleagues, of whatever political stripe, lie to us for weeks on end?

A “fresh mandate” he says.  According to Merriam-Webster, the word mandate means, in this instance, “an authorization to act”.  He has an authorization to act for heaven’s sake.  A mandate is not a loaf of bread that goes stale; it isn’t something that needs refreshing except, according to the rules of Parliament, when the Opposition can show lack of confidence and bring the government down or otherwise, due to the lapse of a generally accepted period of time that Harper has always, till now, acknowledged to be about five years from the date of the last election.  That’s not now.

So, if Harper doesn’t expect to get anything much different from what he has, what the hell is he up to?  Tom Flanagan thinks he knows.  The former Harper chief of staff, who is now a political scientist at University of Alberta, thinks Harper is waging a “war of attrition” against the Liberals:

 As Mr. Flanagan sees it, the first major battle in this incremental war occurred in 2004, when Mr. Harper managed to reduce Paul Martin’s Liberals to a minority. In the second clash in 2006, Mr. Harper won his own Conservative minority.

The third skirmish, which Mr. Harper appears set to launch next week, likely won’t kill what Mr. Flanagan jokingly refers to as “the evil empire.” But, if the Tories can win a few more seats at the Liberals’ expense — an outcome Mr. Flanagan considers realistic given Mr. Harper’s superior campaign skills and the Tories’ fatter war chest — he predicted that would be enough to throw the Grits into a long-term tailspin that could eventually lead to their demise.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, to acknowledge that Stephen Harper is better at anything than just about anyone.  But when the competition is Stéphane Dion, I can only wish to disagree.  I’ve little doubt that Dion could give Tom Flanagan a run for his money as an academic, but as a campaign politician he’s downright embarassing – I squirm in my seat watching the guy.

But if Harper is willing to put the Canadian people to the trouble and expense of a federal election just so he can fuck over the Liberals, I hope the people of this country show him who’s boss and leave him with the most stale bun in the shop.  I’m not interested in Harper’s personal war with the Liberals.  I’d like my country to have a credible government.  I’d love to see a big Canadian boot in the middle of that guy’s butt.  If we can do that, bring the election on.

Listen my dear Canadians, there’s more than one way to warm his buns.  We have more than two choices in this enlightened land.  We have the New Democratic Party.  I’m not insane; I know that Jack Layton isn’t going to be the next Prime Minister of the land.  But the NDP is more than a credible option and, in fact, is the only party in our beleaguered nation that can provide a coherent vision of how to get through the economic mess and the foreign policy debacle that the Conservatives and the Liberals have led us into.

None of us is so dumb as to be unaware that the world and our country faces serious challenges which must be met if we are to survive on this planet.  We have no time for internecine political warfare.  Hey y’all, Steve is up in Tuktoyaktuk trying to expand Canadian sovereignty over its resources.  Why aren’t we engaging other countries in negotiations that would involve shared responsibility for Arctic waters and a mutually beneficial share of its resources instead of attempting a coup?  Instead of wasting our very precious time and resources on Steve’s quest for personal dominance and power?

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