Nic Nanos, Canada’s most accurate political pollster says the Liberals are now neck and neck with the Harper Party (a.k.a. the Conservative Party of Canada). The national poll was done Jan 3-7 and is accurate3 to +/- 3.1 percent and shows the Liberals with 34% (up 4 points since Nov) and the Cons with 33% (up 1 point since Nov).
My how the mediocre have fallen. While Harper is leading in the “Who do you think will make the best PM ?” But he is stalled at 36%. Not good at a time when we are well into serious recession, deficits and other fiscal adjustment. These are things the duplicitous Mr. Harper insisted would not happen under his superior skills and an economist and fiscal manage.
On the other hand Michael Ignatieff has soared up 12% to 23% support as the best choice for PM and he has barely opened his mouth yet…except to warn Harper, rather forcefully and effectively, if he tries character assassination attack ads again, like he did on Dion, the response will be significantly different and undoubtedly harmful to the Cons.
The Cons have been in retreat on every political front since the Coalition came forth with an alternative game plan to run the country. Harper is moving through the various stages of grief since the lost opportunity of the election. Yes he lost. He was after a majority and could deliver it even though h e had all the trump cards and superior tactical skills on his side.
Here are the Five Stages of Grief and how Harper has been responding and coping.
DENIAL: Happened right after the election when he squandered the majority over $45m of culture cuts and lost Quebec in the bargain. Harper’s rhetoric as “We won. We have a mandate to govern.” In his heart, yes he has one; he was saying “This can’t be happening to me.”
ANGER: Here we saw the anger in the pettiness and partisanship in the FU Canada (Fiscal Update) statements where he tired to bankrupt the opposition political parties and refuse women human rights to pursue pay equity and take away public service unions right to strike. The anger in Harper’s heart came out as he tried to punish other people for his own shortcomings. He almost lost his government because his anger has clouded his judgment and impaired his capacity to govern.
BARGAINING: First he struck a bargain with the Governor General to prorogue Parliament just to save his political skin. Now he is into bargaining with and around the opposition parties as he tries to draft a stimulus budget. He has stuck a committee of independent advisers to help with the budget. By doing so, he as emasculated his own Cabinet and reduced their role from mute minion to meaningless munchkins. His rhetoric now s “We will do whatever it takes to get through these tough economic times.” His heart of hearts tells him it is OK to reverse your political and personal principles to sustain power. Never mind that we mislead and lied in the election. That was then. This is now. Keep power at all costs.
DEPRESSION: We have seen the early signs of depression with the appointment of 18 Senators. His prior commitment to not appoint any Senators until he got his senate reforms done is now in the integrity slag heap. He has given up on reforming the Senate and now only wants to pursue the perks of Prime Ministerial power while he has it. Senate reform is added to the pile of broken promises and past positions of the depressed and depressing Mr. Harper that grows daily. Now he sees that he can no longer trigger an election at his whim. That is now in Ignatieff’s power. Harper knows that he will wear the political consequences of this economic recession cum depression, how can Harper the superior economics, master tactician and political wunderkind. He is coming to realize that due to hubris, history will not be kind to President Bush nor Prime Minister Harper. Pretty depressing stuff to have to deal with, given the size of the Harper ego and the depth of his arrogance!
The last stage of grief is Acceptance. We have a ways to go in the Bargaining and Depression stages before that stage comes into play. But rest assured it Acceptance will happen. It will come right after he loses the next election and it will be manifest as Harper resigns the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada as a result.