And so the positioning begins…and it is a good thing. Prime Minister Harper moved his tone in his victory speech last night using much of Dion’s language to indicate that empathy was not a foreign word in Harper’s vocabulary.
Harper is clever enough to know that with a much weakened Dion and an overly enthusiastic Layton the ploy of making every vote a confidence matter will not work this time. Dion has nothing to lose if he is on his way out anyway, why not call Harper’s bluff and cause another election. Harper is a bully but he is not foolhardy.
Collaboration is going to have to be the governing model. We saw Harper back down when his bluff is called on matters like getting Elizabeth May into the debates and even rushing out a policy platform in the final week of the campaign.
The economy is fragile even with strong fundamentals and everyone knows it. Harper is finally admitting it publicly and moving from “I am in charge and will Do Nothing” to now he is bolstering the banks with a $10B cash injection and a “safety net for money markets mutual funds.”
Canadian Press is reporting a more malleable PM who is saying he is “…ready to meet with opposition leaders to discuss economic issues.” First Ministers will meet without him and he can't have that happne. Last time he insisted opposition leaders meet with him so he could “prove” Parliament was “dysfunctional” so his pretense of an election had “credibility.” Everyone saw through it but he called an election for his personal hubris and naked grab for power anyway. He has never delighted in meeting with his provincial inferiors but maybe times have changed.
The Harper Party is backing off Senate Reform – Duh – in this economic climate we are going to spice it up with the additional fun of Constitutional reform? Sure we are. Harper is backing of his Crime and Punishment legislation so 14 year olds are safe from life sentences – for awhile at least.”A conciliatory tone pervaded his news conference” according to the CP report.
The economy is clearly job 1 – as it should be. Too bad we had to spent $300,000,000.00 and about 5 weeks of wasted time to end up in the same place we started. Pretty expensive way to just target and cripple Stephane Dion don’t you think?
Is anyone really happy with this result? Dion's feeling have to be obvious with the lowest level of support for the Liberal Party - ever! Harper hasn't got it done with three times at bat and has to be wondering how much more he has to give to Quebec to get them on side. Layton has proven he is not Broadbent. Duceppe can't too pleased with being identified as saving English Canada from a Harper majority. May might win one day but no time soon. She can use the time until the next election to raise her support and profile.