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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What is Stephen Harper Thinking?

Nicole Martel is asking why Stephen Harper is doing so much to alienate his base in western Canada. First the income trust betrayal and now he is looking at non-renewable energy revenues as part of the calculation for equalization payment calculations, as a pander to Quebec. Saskatchewan and Alberta are upset as is Newfoundland and Danny Williams is speaking in Fort McMurray on January 27th. I am sure he will have some choice words for Prime Minister Harper on equalization formulas.

Top that off with rumours of a $1.4 Billion payment to Quebec to restore the Harper Cons position there. It won’t hurt Jean Charest either, which is a good thing with his pending election.

Wasn’t it just this kind of pandering to Quebec politics that started the Reform Party in the first place? Wasn’t Stephen Harper around then?

Then the recent Globe and Mail poll done by The Strategic Counsel is being parsed in the media for its meaning with a plethora of preconceived notions. The fact that Dion is in a horse race with Harper so shortly after a leadership change and so close to Adscam is amazing. Harper has dropped from 49% to 41% support in the west in the year since the last election. He is down 10% in Quebec from 25% to 15%. In Ontario Harper is at 32% trailing Dion at 45%.

The next election is being touted as far off because the tight race between the major parties. Lets face it the next election will be called when Jack Layton decides he is ready because he has the votes to sustain or bury Harper. So we have to watch just how much and how fast the Greens are closing in on him too.

In Ontario the Greens are up to 9% and the NDP are down to 15% since the last election. Enough said! Jack Layton can hear the Birkenstock footsteps right behind him and they are getting louder. That trend will determine the next election based as much on Jack Layton’s fear factor over Elizabeth May’s Green Party emergence.

Old line Reform/Alliance types must be shaking their heads and asking themselves “Stephen – what are you doing?”